The number of times I have stopped to explore some small out of the way nursery in the hope of finding some potential bonsai treasure. But I suppose like the Princess and the Frog you have to kiss a lot of frogs first.
However a few weeks ago I remembered a nursery not far away that I had not been to for a few years so perhaps it was time to give it another try. I pottered around their tree collection, poked around their shrubs and browsed through their tunnels and green houses and then just as I was about to leave I rounded a corner at the back and came across this Juniper Squamata or Himalayan Juniper, which looked as if it had been there forever
Trying hard not to get too carried away with first impressions I got down on my hands and knees for a better look (and then had to get up again!) and took the photos above.
Just to give you an idea of size that tub is almost 30 inches across, Nebari 3inches plus
Being a penny pinching pensioner bonsai collector I had to give it some more thought though and then went to find the proprietor who told me that it was not their’s but left by the previous owner who had retired two years ago and he had taken it as part exchange from a customer. An interestingly good provenance as they might say on the Antiques Roadshow.The following week I returned to find out the price he wanted for it, having meanwhile consulted one of wiser heads in our bonsai club for his expert opinion on my discovery.
Thinking that it would provide me with a Bonsai Project for the next few years that might be a very worthwhile and satisfying task to keep me occupied further into my dotage I returned and bought it.
Would it even go in the car, well yes it did after Sue the very helpful lady at the nursery got it out of that larger pot and into a smaller one, of only 21 inches or so, smaller?
Got it safely home and then asked a neighbour if he would help lift it out for me, his wife also came over to see what we were up to and wanted to know what on earth my Sue was going to say when I tried to get it into the house.
Some people still think that all bonsai go on windowsills!
Managed to get it through the garage into the back where all my trees are and unpotted it for the second time that day. It was in a pretty heavy peat based compost some more of which I knocked off but only cutting back a couple of heavy roots which were making it hard to get into a 21 inch pot.
Settled it in to a mixture of Tesco’s finest dust free cat litter so beloved by Harry Harrington, see his essay on the subject on his website Bonsai4me , with the addition of some Pine Bark. Cut away some obviously dead needles and small twigs and branches and watered the pot and sprayed the foliage.
My next task is to take my dear Wife shopping in Taunton tomorrow having used the first fine day for more than a week to get my tree. Then I will set about cleaning it up a bit more, possibly some extra drainage holes in the pot, Jin a few of the broken branch stubs perhaps and give it some High Nitrogen feed soon to give it a boost and then get Ade my helpful friend and brains at the club over for a session for his advice on it’s long term possibilities and a bite at the pub round the corner afterwards.
With many thanks to Sue at the Nursery, John my neighbour, Ade for his advice and encouragement and to my Sue for putting up with me and putting off a trip to M & S.
The car by the way, knows the way to M & S Taunton as our Taunton and Somerset Bonsai Club meets in a building entered via the M and S Car Park.
Do follow this blog for further news on my Juniper Project and other bonsais