Posts tagged “rocky mountain juniper

Rocky Mountain Juniper Cleanup

This RMJ was collected spring 2012 in the Canadian Rockies. While it has been growing very well, it probably won’t be ready for styling work until next year.

In the meantime, I cleaned the tree up, removing dead bark and highlighting the live vein. Probably the most frustrating task is removing old dead bark that is fused to the deadwood. I have found two tools to be particularly useful for this. Use as sparingly as possible to minimize toolmarks.

After several hours of work, the tree is nice and tidy, and ready for further examination. It has some outstanding features, but some challenges as well (as with all yamadori). One of the main challenges will be how to approach the three “trunks” that emerge. Should drastic measures be taken to hide their awkwardness? Or should they be highlighted as a feature which makes this tree unique?

One problem was identified as I was studying the live vein. When the tree was collected, a relatively large branch (thumb thickness) was cut at the top of the tree. The corresponding live vein (which is lovely and could be a focal point of the design) is weakening. I am expecting the live vein to thin out significantly, but I hope it doesn’t die back completely. It will probably take a few years to know the result.

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Rocky Mountain Juniper First Styling

This slender Juniperus scorpularum was collected in the Kootenay region of British Columbia in 2009 by a friend. The last 3+ years leading up to today were all spent developing the pre-bonsai. The tree was probably strong enough for work in 2010, but lacked the foliage density. So, after three years of pondering, branch selection, and cutting, I felt today was the day for the first real work.

About a month ago I featured this tree on my blog where it was prepped for todays work. That cutting one month ago paid off as it produced backbudding which gave me lots of new fine branches to work with.

    Today before work. Its amazing how much things can change in a month. Sometimes NOT weeding your trees has its benefits! The plants that overtook this pot are identical to those growing in a large patio planter right next to the juniper. Its as if they knew this juniper was growing in a hanging planter!

Today before work. Its amazing how much things can change in a month. Sometimes NOT weeding your trees has its benefits! The plants that overtook this pot are identical to those growing in a large patio planter right next to the juniper. Its as if they knew this juniper was growing in a hanging planter!

    Petunias and Thai Basil were the most interesting 'weeds' that had established themselves in this pot.

Petunias and Thai Basil were the most interesting ‘weeds’ that had established themselves in this pot.

 

    The Thai Basil ended up in the vegetable crisper - everything else was compost.

The Thai Basil ended up in the vegetable crisper – everything else was compost.

    Front after work. Lots of foliage was removed... probably almost 90%. The tree will probably throw lots of juvenile foliage in response to the heavy cutting. The balance of this tree is unusual. The tree leans heavily to the left, and the key branch thrusts out to the left. Although the overall movement is to the RIGHT! I think?

Front after work. Lots of foliage was removed… probably almost 90%. The tree will probably throw lots of juvenile foliage in response to the heavy cutting. The balance of this tree is unusual. The tree leans heavily to the left, and the key branch thrusts out to the left. Although the overall movement is to the RIGHT! I think?

    Fresh of the mountain in June 2009.

Fresh of the mountain in June 2009.

 


Prep Work on Another Juniper

This is a Rocky Mountain Juniper (Juniperus scorpularum) that was collected in the Kootenay region of the Canadian Rockies back in 2009. Although slender it has nice movement, great deadwood details, and lots of branches.

Aside from maintenance pruning and wiring down some primary branches, this tree has never been worked in detail. Today I cleaned the bark, worked on some deadwood, and cut back quite a bit of growth in preparation for its summer styling. Preparing a tree for styling is almost as important as the styling itself. It has taken three years of cultivation and menial work to produce what is now almost a pre-bonsai. It is a long road from fresh yamadori to having something that is ready for bonsai work.

In terms of styling, this tree still has me scratching my head. The main problem is that the view of the trunk with the best movement and lean does not show the lovely natural shari. I will have to make some compromises when styling this tree… either in deadwood, or trunk movement.

Before work.

After work. My favorite view of the trunk… but the shari is at the back.

Another view showing the shari.

Possible front, although the top half of the tree is leaning strongly to the back.


New Rocky Mountain Juniper

I have a friend who lives in the Canadian Rocky Mountains (British Columbia) who occasionally sells me some of his newly collected trees. This is the third RMJ (Juniperus scorpulum) that he has sent me, and the largest. It is a pretty nice tree with a powerful presence and some nice deadwood. The tree was growing in a rock pocket and the rootball is outstanding, and I think this tree has an excellent chance of survival. Sure, the 3,600 km bus ride might have stressed it out a bit, but I still think the chances are good 🙂 The tree still seems to be dormant, so that helps the situation.

Based on my experience, RMJ grow well in the Toronto area. One issue I have encountered with my RMJ is the alarming and persistent Cedar-Apple Rust (Gymnosporangium)… but more on that later. It should be exploding on one of my trees any day now.