Big Juniper Project: ‘The Fish’: Part III: Finis!
This post is the third (and last!) of our three-day adventure with a Rocky Mountain Juniper. I’ve never done a day-to-day string of posts like this. Did you like it? If so I’ll try it again around the bend.
Well. Bobby and I don’t smell like rotten eggs today, thankfully. After today’s styling the juniper is as finished as it will be for about 8 months when it might be repotted if it’s done well and grown a bit. If it is slower than expected I might wait 1½ years before potting it up in a bonsai container.
The long shoots were retained on this tree to help it recover from the bends which are the most severe it will hopefully ever have to endure as a bonsai. Following this its life will get considerably easier. When I first started yoga my hamstrings hated me…somehow I equate the two. Bonsai is tree yoga. Of course, there is an authentic ‘tree pose’–which is more like a post to be honest, but it’s still called tree.
The box at this inclination will need to be supported by another box (lot of bloody wood going into this project, isn’t there?), so that it could sit with stability for a good chunk of a year in strong winds and all. Not that we have too many of those here, but now and then they do happen. It’s one reason a couple of tall cottonwoods in my backyard had to come down, they were shedding branches all over the yard in wind storms. Good way to destroy years of bonsai development in a few seconds.
After work of this intensity the juniper will spend a couple of weeks out of the wind, in a greenhouse. But it will be in good sun there, and sometime in early September will be put out on the benches again for (hopefully) one of our nice long warm falls here in Portland. It’s all up to the tree at this point. If it looks happy it will soon go out into the sun and wind and rain and stars.
Well, that’s where we’ll leave this juniper. For now at any rate- I’ll likely do a post when this tree is potted up at this new inclination. Hopefully sometime this spring.
The Rocky Mountain Juniper at the start of day three…
Removing weak foliage without growing tips
Two branches needed significant bends, the one that contains the bulk of the back branches, and the branch that supplies most of the apex area branchlets
Before the apex branch was moved
After positioning the apex branch with a guy wire
Positioning the shoots
Bobby positioning the fish tail…
Roughly finished. The big sawn off stubs to the lower left were left as is because they will be inside the pot in the future, although they might need shortening. And the antennae coming out of the apex should be removed I think, it just looks too spiky. The key branch is a bit low, too. So some adjustments are needed at this stage. Good time to sit back, have a snack, and come back with fresh eyes.
Replacing the box side with screen to be able to water
Final shot after adjustments– Bottom branch to apex: 24″ / 61cm. Bottom branch to top of jin: 38″ / 97cm. We’ll construct a wooden support so it can stay at this angle on the bench. The eventual pot will be tucked under the base with the lower sawed off jins inside the pot, and the top lip of the pot probably a bit above the lowest branch. The tree will have a minor cascading feel. The other side of the tree is also a good front…we may switch it to that someday.
Bobby and I had a lot of fun with this, hope you enjoyed sharing the experience. Cheers-