Today I’d like to share with you the work I recently did for a client on a tree I collected in 2007 and sold in 2011. It’s a common juniper, Juniperus communis that was collected from the Washington Cascade Mountains. The tree was styled by my client in a workshop lead by Dave DeGroot . It’s a strong little tree and grew very well after its first styling; so well the wires had to come off after just four months! It was brought to me this spring to help pot it for the first time in the wood-fired pot by Jan Rentenaar that you see in the first photo. I think the color of the pot works well with the very blue-green color of the needles. The tree didn’t skip a beat from the potting and really filled out over the summer. The first image up is the tree as presented to me, before any work began:

Client tree


I just love how Jan’s pot resembles rusted iron…to think that glaze is wood ash that deposited there during the firing process makes the pot all the more intriguing. O.K., on with the post! The next image is of the tree after a fairly complete wiring. It was necessary to do quite a lot of thinning of the foliage, as the uppermost branches were very strong and getting too thick for the design:

Client tree


This front is the one my client preferred; when the tree was mine, I was thinking the opposite. So here’s a shot of the back of the tree for comparison…what do you think?

Client tree, back


Some other views of the tree; tree’s right:

Tree's right


Now tree’s left:

Tree's left


This would also make an interesting front with a little adjustment…what do you think? And for those following my blog, I have to include a recent image of ‘C J’ the common juniper I exhibited in ‘Best of the Northwest’ at the Pacific Rim Bonsai Collection last summer:



The pads are really starting to fill in now and it will soon be time to cut the strong shoots back. Other summer work around here has included removing wire from trees that were wired last fall as the trees are now starting to thicken their branches and new shoots are lignifying. Such is the way of it in what we do–two steps forward, one step back 😉 Here is a Rocky Mountain juniper I collected in May of 2000 that was wired for the third or fourth time last December and the wire had to come off after just eight months:



This tree has quite a history for me; I took it to a bring-your-own workshop with Masahiko Kimura in Dallas in 2002; I brought it to a workshop with Marco Invernizzi in 2008 and brought it to Michael Hagedorn’s study group for wiring again last December. The carving of the deadwood was carried out after I was privileged to observe Cheng Cheng Kung’s ‘silk carving’ workshop at the GSBF convention in Anaheim, CA in 2005. I might also mention the pot is one of Michael Hagedorn’s as well. It brings home the fact that bonsai is as much about people as it is about trees. I’ll leave you with an image of one of my favorite wildflowers that is a summer bloomer–red monkey flower. I got the shot early one morning as the sun was just striking it. I hope your summer is going well…see you next post!

Red monkeyflower