Bonsai Tonight

Grafting Utah juniper – a post without words

Posted in Bonsai Development by Jonas Dupuich on April 30, 2013

Utah juniper

Bags

Garden tape

Making the slit

Moist white sphagnum moss

Scion source

Scion source

Scion

Making the cut

Proper cut

Proper cut

Proper cut

Making way for the scion

Scion in place

Wrapping the grafting tape

Wrapping complete

Tying the bag in place

Painter's tape

Grafts complete

Grafts complete

Repotting a Western juniper

Posted in Bonsai Development by Jonas Dupuich on March 1, 2013

It had been a while since I last repotted my Western juniper. Although the drainage remained good, I’d been anxious to repot since styling the tree last fall and deciding on a new planting angle.

After wiring

Wester juniper – August 2012

To maintain the angle indicated during the last styling, I affixed an aluminum wire that marked the front of the tree and the proper planting angle.

Wire guides

Marking the front with wire

After removing the tree, I cleaned and wired the pot before working on the roots.

Preparing the pot

Wired and ready to go

The pot was made by Michael Hagedorn. I’ve always appreciated the little touches in his pots like the grooves he left for the wires.

Preparing the pot

Just enough space for the ends of the z-clip

Preparing the pot

#2 aluminum in the groove – the perpendicular groove at the midpoint allows space for wire-cutters

Preparing the pot

Signature Crataegus grooves

There were plenty of roots for me to work with.

Roots

Lots of roots

After removing the roots from the bottom of the rootball, I found a peculiarly square root.

Square root

Square root

I pressed a bit from the top and it easily came loose.

Square root

Clues from the last repotting

Knocking out the block left a perfectly square gap in the roots.

Square root removed

A perfect spot for new soil

I’d forgotten why I placed the block under the trunk, but after seeing photos from the last repotting in early 2010, it all came back.

Propping up the trunk

Chopstick and block – February 2010

Seeing the photo surprised me as the roots were now solid in all directions.

 Removing roots

Plenty of roots to spare

I was able to complete the repotting without the assistance of blocks, however I employed a single chopstick as a short-term brace.

Repotted

Repotting complete

Although I tilted the tree forward and towards the center, the original plan was to have it lean even more toward the front.

Side view

Current planted angle

More tilt

The original plan

I’ll likely tilt the tree farther forward the next time I repot, which, judging by recent history, gives the tree two to three years to grow in peace. By that time the branches will need attention and I can start thinking about when next to show the tree in an exhibit.

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Junipers at Bay Island Bonsai’s 14th annual exhibit

Posted in Exhibits by Jonas Dupuich on January 22, 2013

This past weekend, Bay Island Bonsai held its 14th annual exhibit at the Lake Merritt Garden Center in Oakland, California. For those of you who attended – thanks for coming! I hope you enjoyed the show. For those who couldn’t make it, I’ll share some of the highlights. We’ll start, today, with some scale junipers.

The Taiwan juniper below has been trained as bonsai for a long time. Its primary feature is its twisting double-trunk. Good movement and interesting deadwood are the most prized characteristics of juniper bonsai – this specimen has both.

Taiwan juniper

Taiwan juniper

Far more complex is the Western juniper below. Its trunk tells the story of the harsh environment in which it grew – well worth a close look.

Western juniper

Western juniper

The Sierra juniper below is off to a great start. All of the branches are in place and in a few years the tree’s fullness will provide a great backdrop for its trunk and deadwood.

Sierra juniper

Sierra juniper

This next juniper tree is massive. I’ve watched, over the past 10 years or so, the transformation from Sierra to Shimpaku, and have been surprised at how quickly the tree has grown from a small number of initial grafts. Time will make the tree even more impressive.

Shimpaku grafted on Sierra juniper

Shimpaku grafted on Sierra juniper

The shimpaku below is the product of over 90 grafts! The effort has not gone unnoticed – in 2008 the tree earned the National Bonsai Award at the first National Bonsai Exhibit in Rochester, New York.

Grafted shimpaku

Shimpaku grafted on San Jose

Interesting deadwood and impressively dense foliage characterize the Sierra juniper below. The tree makes a good case for how well Sierra foliage can be developed.

Sierra juniper

Sierra juniper

A medium-sized Sierra juniper bonsai – something sought after far more often than found.

Sierra juniper

Sierra juniper

A small shimpaku fed by a slender lifeline – the foliage is perfectly healthy and full.

Shimpaku

Shimpaku

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Mr. Kita’s junipers

Posted in Excursions by Jonas Dupuich on October 30, 2012

On our way to visit Ishii’s nursery last fall, Akio Kondo took Boon, Peter and myself to visit one of his customers – Mr. Kita. Kita has a small, but impressive, bonsai collection. Trees like the juniper below.

Shimpaku

Large shimpaku

Impressive, yes, but was this the front? The other side, too, has great features.

Shimpaku

The other side

Here are some more shots of the same tree – any ideas about the front?

Shimpaku

Great jin

Shimpaku

And shari

I believe the second photo is the current front, but it’s clear that the tree has plenty of interest points.

What was amazing about Kita’s garden was the number of trees of comparable quality. On a nearby bench I noticed one of the first great junipers I saw on my 1999 visit to Japan – a Kokufu Prize winner. If you have the book from the 73rd Kokufu exhibit, check out page 21 – the tree looks quite different now. It had been unhealthy ahead of that exhibit but has since regained much of its health.

Shimpaku

Kokufu Prize winning shimpaku

With very few exceptions, the trees in Kita’s garden were in great shape – visiting was like touring a small bonsai museum. Here are a few of the other junipers in the garden – I’ll share some of Kita’s other trees on Friday.

Shimpaku

Boon and shimpaku

Shimpaku

Shimpaku

Shimpaku

Shimpaku

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