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Classroom Corner – Chris’s Juniper Ittogawa

An open window into the comings and goings of students and their trees attending our regular weekend and midweek bonsai classes under the ever watchful eyes of John Hanby.

Classroom Corner – Chris’s Juniper Ittogawa
Chris exhibited this small Juniper Ittogawa at Newstead 4 in September 2010. At all the Newstead exhibitions the visitors have been encouraged to vote for their favourite tree. This tree came third. Those of you who have been to a Newstead exhibition will be familiar with the number of high quality bonsai always on display and will really appreciate that third place for such a humble little tree is a tremendous achievement.
This composition was originally put together about 18 months previously. Chris had arrived at a workshop with a tub full of rocks and the juniper from our stock which we subsequently styled. They just work so well together and the rocky outcrop we created looks so natural.
I have several students like Chris who have really got into the stones and rocks, creating landscapes and planting trees on rocks. They have some great creations even if I do keep suggesting that they should attend a few sessions with “Rocks Anonymous!”
The tree arrived at one of my open workshops earlier this year. The tree had grown wider and was quite dense. So Chris had cleaned out the weaker interior shoots and was now undertaking a total rewire.
The tree was spreading too wide and losing it’s shape. We also needed to see more of the trunk which has good movement and taper.
You can see in the picture to the left that there is a very thick strong branch near the apex which is spoiling the triangular shape of the canopy and needs to be removed.
Once this has been removed the remainder of the canopy is wired and thinner branches are bent over to fill the space but the refinement of the apex is now much better. The remaining branches are much more in scale with the size of the tree.
The lowest branch was towards the rear of the tree and spreading too wide so this was removed and made into a jin.
An extra shari was then created linked to the jin but also to emphasize the twisting movement in the trunk and the contrast between the shari’s and the live vein.
The front of the tree was also changed slightly so that you can see more clearly the trunk line and the shari/live vein feature. The tree will be replanted in the new position in spring. The final picture is a computer generated image by Chris of what the tree will look like when this work is complete.
Finally a sweet little Juniper/rock combination is taken to it’s next level and unless Chris attends more “sessions” I suspect that “Rocky 2” is just around the corner! Watch this space as they say!!!