Tuesday, August 4, 2009

The Beginnings, Juniper Cascade #1, Informal Juniper #1

Informal juniper headed to bunjin style soon, this was a gift from my Father in Law, for my birthday in June. Straight from the Monk Monestary in Conyers, GA. Great material, my first 'real' bonsai attempt. Much work still needs to be done, the pads need more attention and time to fill. Will look to remove more branches, as I feel the tree wishes to be more 'bunjin' style - less growth, with even more movement shown. Much smaller pot in the future as I continue to reduce it's root system and develop a good Nabari worth revealing. A few of my 'sticks' around it and a tropical to it's left that i need to re-identify (nice in it's own right, healthy grower)

Ragtag starter collection

Beginners sticks bonsai, as they are called. last years 'addiction' shows it's results. These will be real bonsai in.. 10 or so years, maybe.. But they are close to my heart so will continue to have a small table to themselves, as my Bonsai collection truly grows. Many small privet, and many small sweetgums. Will continue to keep them small in the 'Mame' pots. They have been good teachers to me, in preperation for what's to come. :)

2nd table

Starter table #2, a Trident Maple to the left, that has a knot from previous cutting in the bottom that I plan to 'wedge' open and hollow. Healthy tree, it's recently been de-leafed and repotted. Also from the Monk Monestary in Conyers, GA. A small privet, and a root over rock in development in the red pot in the back. Some sort of Japanese Rose in the far back, have to re-classify it soon as well, it actually has a interesting Nebari, but it's branches need vast reducing in size to improve it's form.


Cascade juniper #1, this began as a graden stock juniper 2 gallon plant. It turned into numerous cuttings for future plants, and a nice beginning Cascade Style of itself. The right branch will be allowed to extend down while the middle and left will end in large pads and 'hang' close to where they are now. The top is just now being wired, another picture below shows it's beginning.

Juniper 'blaauw'

Pre bonsai material, was in the 50% off pile so I got it for 2.47 with tax at my most favorite Nursery.. I've nursed it back to health, and am happy with it's natural Jin in the trunk. Will repot in spring and begin styling next year.

Cascade Style Juniper

Cascade Juniper #1, is in a Korean Clay pot that was purchased while on a Vacation in Nags Head, NC. Our next trip there, I plan to buy many more for cascade, absolutely beautiful glaze, sized well for a good Cascade styled tree. Here you can see the very beginnings of the 'tree on top of a tree' (Naka) styling of it's top that I plan to create.

Hopeful garden

Pre bonsai stock, it's terrible from above, but down in and close, and you can see many privet, a few sweetgum, a couple of tulip poplar, and even a few juniper cuttings. I have other cuttings rooted in containers under my 'work' tables (not pictured here). The rather large plant on the left side is a great looking 2 trunk privet that next spring will have it's own pot and begin it's styling into a true bonsai. On the top right, a nicely thickened sweetgum, awaits more treatment after it roots. I plan to raise this area into a 10" raised wooden 'box', with tiles 12"-14" deep in the soil to prevent long taproots from developing, and to encourage radial Nabari growth. (along with toruniquet usage!)

Privet Hack

Bonsai in process, will have to rethink how I take photos as I don't seem able to rotate them when posted from my phone (technology in use!). Here is a rather large (and thick) Privet in a nice pot. This tree is going to belong to my best friend Aaron however I am going to help style and give him some assistance where needed as it grows. We intend to shorten it greatly, I'm waiting for it to back bud to select the best spot to make the next 'big cut'. Privet are rather hearty plants, and even in mid summer as it is, can take a root and trunk hacking, and rebud days later with good soil and treatment. (speaking of soils), I'm using a 100% inogranic on this one, a 'Turface' type material I got from Napa. (I will have to go into soil details soon I can see!)


  1. What a great collection. Its amazing what true passion can do. I'm just getting started with a juniper (ready to re-pot) and am trying to get the potting mix right. Any suggestions?

  2. Hi William, I must painfully admit most of the trees seen on this page from 2+ years ago when I began the passion, have passed on (The Juniper survives, but looks drastically different.)

    Potting Mixes - this is one of the more overly debated and sometimes overly thought through processes of Bonsai. These are the my thoughts on bonsai soil for 'everyone'.

    Soil mixes are best decided by the climate you live in, and the tree you are working on. Some trees prefer it dry between waterings, some must be damp all the time. Know the tree. Then - realize your climate - and placement of trees, and your ability/frequency that you can get to water your trees. If you can only water your trees once a day or 2 at best (Typical working Joe as myself, trying to learn Bonsai!) then I recommend that you include some organic material in your potting soil, to allow for some water retention. For instance, I generally go with a 70% inorganic (That being, lava rock, grit, coarse sand, clay cat litter, etc) and 30% organic (I generally use only Sphagnum Moss for the organic portion now).

    Junipers like you are working on - like to have dry time between waterings, or some 'down time' from being wet all the time. For Junipers I use either no organic (If it's a larger plant, and larger pot) or maybe 10-15% organic in the mix if it's a smaller tree or shohin (So it doesn't totally dry up each day in summer and place stress on the poor tree).

    Hope that helps William; Bonsai soil is I think one of the first lessons new bonsai trainers should spend a little time on (which wraps quite nicely into watering regiments - and why as I mention above). :)


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