Special Rocky Mountain Juniper Styling-
This tree is special for two reasons. The first is because my friend Troy Cardoza collected it. I like having trees that link me to other people. And it’s also special because it’s quite small for its age, with some great sinuous lines.
Troy collected this Rocky Mountain juniper early last year, and it grew so well both last year and this year that I thought we’d just style it before it becomes a complete mop of foliage. It was potted in pumice and only fertilized with moderate amounts of organic pellets. Lovely raw tree. I completely enjoyed the styling session. Had a couple friends drop in while I was working on it and threw a camera at them, so there is some documentation that this transformation was not done in a disembodied sort of way. There was a person in the background somewhere…
I have a nice pot for this tree and will offer updates on its progress in the future. At the moment it is sitting in a greenhouse under shade cloth. The big bends that were needed are stressful on the tree and when it is given protection from wind and strong sun there are usually no problems. You will notice that I left many long growing tips on it, which will help it recover from the bending, and also many of the branches are a bit short and need lengthening.
One of the things that make this a rare tree to work with is that only minor carving was needed, essentially just shortening some long, thin jins. And the rest of the deadwood is completely natural on this moderately sized—truly ‘bonsai sized’—tree, at 24″ high.
The juniper before any work began.
The front and inclination I preferred for this tree. There were several possibilities, and other artists might have chosen otherwise.
I considered leaving the bark on as it was so wonderfully shreddy and thick. But decided to take it off as is customary on junipers to determine the path of the live vein and for the visual dynamic between that and the deadwood.
Two of the branches needed significant bends to use the foliage in the design.
Finished styling. The tree is 24″ high, 31″ wide. The left lower branch is the key branch so it will need to grow out a bit. Left flow. In fact all the branches need length, as it looks like a small tree on top of a large base. I hope I’ve set things approximately right so there will be little need for major adjustment to compensate for that expected growth. With time the future image will show more integration of foliage and the rest of the tree.