Saturday, September 5, 2009

Elk - Parson’s Juniper; Informal Juniper #3

Informal Style Parson’s Juniper

Sometimes, the ‘bug’ to sculpt a tree can backfire; if you’re always looking for the ‘perfect’ tree while you’re hunting for material. A quick stroll through typical nurseries generally results in the ‘worst’ looking plants being the ‘best’ material for bonsai (nursery plants are usually clipped and grown in forms for landscaping – not developing miniature trees). Often the finds in the half-off areas, are the ‘bulky stumpy’ plants that generally aren’t great to start with for landscaping. For instance, this Parson’s Juniper! What the heck did I see in this pot when I decided to buy it? Well, I certainly didn’t see the ‘perfect’ tree – what I actually saw was more spirit and energy than a vision of what it might become. After 20 minutes and half an acre walked, I returned to pick up this $5.98 ‘landscape’ material from the ‘toss’ zone in the corner of the nursery.

I did see a tree in there; a different kind of tree for me – a chance to try a few new techniques. Here I’ve removed a great deal of foliage to expose the very strong trunk, which has very strong motion (I was torn between taking it towards a cascade in 2-3 years – or a unique form right away). I removed many weak branches and start to eye up how the tree will shape. I drilled slightly into the branch cuts forward facing in the picture to the right; as the wounds heal, this will give it a ‘circular’ heal that is slightly hollowed which will give the effect of an aged appearance to the trunk as it heals.

So, you can see the effects of wiring, and a great reduction in the existing growth; Where is the tree you’re thinking? As I said this was a unique work for me, I never thought I’d give a tree a name, but this one is going to be called ‘Elk’. Many strong branches that I redirected to spread out the future pad zones I saw in the image of this tree. There are not many branches that are not wired; I wanted to give ‘Elk’ the instant power and presence I felt as I worked on it. Very healthy tree, for such large branches they were easier to move than the Blauuw Juniper I last worked on.

Elk – Informal Style Parson’s Juniper (Juniperus Parsonii)

A little Jin and shari work in a few places - now you may see what I felt, when I decided to call it Elk. It looks horrible if judged against ‘classic’ styles. The raised branches near the shari, gives the impression of antlers sweeping back from the face (shari) of the Elk. Oh well, at least it sounds good on paper.. :) This tree may stay ‘ugly’ for a while until it fills out, but I believe it will have a powerful presence in a few years with a little thickening of some of it’s ‘antlers’.


  1. Interesting project!I will follow your project. I like your comment on Anji's blog.I have the same line of thoughts.

  2. You got my battle of the blogs vote today. Cool blog.

  3. Hey JayVee, fascinating blog! I love your ideas about seeing the promise of form rather than the actual current form, that's what the creative force is all about!
    Best regards,


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