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.
Sir Hawthorne, most excelent work!!!!
Thanks Sir Wood-
: ) you guys can say some negative things too… Like that one irritating upright jin. Oh well.
Looks great! I’m really looking forward to following this one.
I loved it Michael… The dead wood looks like dancers around the tree 🙂
Hm, dancers, were we on that subject recently ; )
As always, fantastic work. My only question is: would the sinious movement of the tree and live vein of the tree be better displayed by removing the lower left Jin?
As is, the tree is gorgeous and I know that pictures aren’t the same as seeing the tree in person. Just an idea, respectfully….
I like the lower left jin…and actually although you can’t see it, the trunk enveloped a chunk of granite there and so the left base of the jin/trunk is rock. I’m thinking of just leaving the rock there. So unusual. Always appreciate ideas for improvement, please keep them coming!
I would name this tree “Pronghorn,” because the deadwood at the right of the tree closely mimics the horn of the pronghorn antelope, which very well may be native to the area this juniper was collected.
Love it! Now I can distinguish it from the others…
A great transformation once again Michael.
Do you have a pot in mind?
Yes, a rather deep outwardly flared lip, dark brown clay. It’s just a pot I have on hand that will work fine. Not a ‘chosen’ pot–
I hope you keep the chunk of rock attached to the tree! I have a large chunk of granite embedded in one of the Sierra junipers I collecting and really like the look of it. I was wondering about the higher portions of the live vein. I’m wondering if you killed some of the live vein off to create more contrast and add interest or if the newly removed bark up toward the top had already died off? If it already died, any tips on distinguishing what is dead and what is alive? Hope that makes sense, awesome job!
No live vein was removed or narrowed in this styling, or in the latest post either that shows the same light deadwood areas. That was just dead bark that had not fallen off yet and needed to be removed. You will easily see the deadwood distinguished from the living tissue when you carve away at it. The deadwood will be a dull off-white, and the living area will be bright white. If you go slow you can work your way toward the living tissue. Just start at an edge and work inwards.
How I can determine which is the live vein of the tree? I’m a begginer on this type of thing.
The bark can obscure what is living and what is not. Sometimes on older trees that have been exposed to the elements for a long time, like those collected from the wild, the distinction is more clear cut. Shaggy bark will be on the live vein, and the dead wood areas look like driftwood. But also on many of these trees, recently dead areas of the trunk still have the bark adhering to the trunk, and that is more tricky to determine. If you scrape the bark off slowly in one area, you may find a red under bark, and then underneath that a thin layer of very white tissue—that is the live part and stop! then investigate another area, and you may find a dull dry wood underneath the bark and that will be dead—but it is difficult to tell without some scraping and poking. Go slowly, and you will see the difference. When you do find a white area, do be careful and don’t remove any more than needed to tell that it is living. What I recommend is starting in an area you know is dead and scrape until you find the edge of the living tissue. Good luck! Juniper are fun in the way we must explore them-
[…] This Rocky Mountain juniper (Juniperus scopulorum) with its delightful deadwood and fluid movement was collected by Tony Cardoza and styled by Michael Hagedorn. Here’s Michael’s caption: “Finished tree. Or as my friends remind me, ‘No, not finished, that’s a dead tree!’ It’s quite alive. 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.” From Crataegus Bonsai. […]
[…] The styling of this juniper was featured in a 2012 post: https://crataegus.com/2012/09/04/special-rocky-mountain-juniper-styling/ […]