It was back along at the beginning of February when I discovered this Juniper hidden away in the potting up area of an old nursery, a tale that has been told earlier in the saga of this tree’s discovery .Phase 1
Things have gone on at quite a pace now, the previous phases being –
Phase 2 when with Adrian, a friend from Taunton and Somerset Bonsai Club, dramatic pruning was undertaken
Phase 2 continued when I carried on myself styling what remained.
Originally the trunk and nebari area was a total mess, weeds, damaged branches and disorder, now after the last two sessions it is very different and is waiting for the stumps to be attended to. Size guide- the first pot was 24 inches diameter the new one is about 21″
Feb 2017 Mid March 2017
My worry is that a number of bonsai folk have said that I have gone on too far and too fast,admittedly after the second session I went at it a bit enthusiastically myself intending only to clean it up a little and of course hours latter I found that I had got carried away and done far more than I had intended. Mind you at my age an actuary would have probably told me to get on with it.
So it was with my heart in my mouth I awaited Adrian’s observations when he returned again to help me this month on May 9th.
Apart from Adrian’s many more bonsai years experience behind him than me I had just had a cataract operation a few days before following a Macular Hole op last year and had the nurse’s instruction ringing in my ears. ‘No gardening Mr Cooper, no dirty hands by your eye and no dust and flying bits near your face for some time.’ so that was my excuse for calling in the cavalry and taking up an observers post instead.
The tree is still so heavy it needed both of us to get it up onto a stand where Ade examined the foliage and told me to stop worrying it was putting on healthy growth and besides it had been in a very large pot for years and we had only taken it down 2 inches this year with only modest root pruning.
Ade’s first task was peeling back the bark on the very wide stump with jinning pliers and then hollowing out what remained with a Dremel power tool using various heads as he went along striving towards the natural broken branch appearance that I had in mind, at least I contributed some thoughts on that.
This left us with a rather hairy and fluffy stump which Ade then cleaned up with a small blowtorch and a wire brush. (Below)
A bit more burning and rubbing down and we had the Jin that I had been looking for.
Now with a few cups of coffee already behinds us it was time for something else, a stroll round the corner to The Ashcott Inn about 100 yards away and avail ourselves of the pensioners Tuesday special for my wife Sue, Ade and I. It seems they are bringing that offer to an end soon and having Tapas Tuesdays instead , shame.
Revitalised we got back to work and Adrian then set about a Shari on the trunk on what may well be the rear of the tree.
After some of the smaller Jins were then done it was decided to let it rest now to put on some more growth. I am feeding it with High Nitrogen fertiliser ,spraying the needles daily and watering but not too generously as needed. The following two photos of the tree as it is today have been doctored on the computer (paint net- free software) in order to eliminate a very confusing background.
My very grateful thanks to Adrian for all his help with this project and making it possible to get to this stage, for doing most of the work and giving me the confidence to at least do some myself, thanks Ade.
Note. Jin: Japanese word for dead wood where a branch has broken off.
Shari: Deadwood torn down the trunk of a tree.
This Blog is very much intended as my own record of the progress of my trees throughout the year, should you find it interesting do keep an eye on this site and remember as today has proved that one of the best ways to learn the art of bonsai is to join a club and benefit from the experience of others who have walked the path before you.