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 – Roy’s Juniper moves with the times!
Most of Roy’s trees seem to have a story to tell and this Juniper was no exception. It’s early claim to fame was as a disguising cover for the filter box serving his pond.
Then came a few moves, a change of direction and a new “haircut”. Inevitably, as Roy’s interest in bonsai blossomed nothing in the garden was safe ………so the next move was into a training tub……with another perhaps more drastic shaping.
Another branch selection and pruning followed to try and create the basis for a useable trunk with bonsai potential.
When I arrived on the scene in January 2013 Roy had already reduced the branches further and made remarkable progress in turning large ugly stumps into realistic plausible jins.
Having convinced him that the future of this tree was in just one live branch I explained how we would transfer the energy from the other branches to where we wanted it.
Under Roy’s guidance the tree responded well and you can see the difference in the third picture taken in August. The progress was so good that I could remove all the branches we no longer required leaving only the one we had previously selected. You will also notice that Roy has done some excellent carving work on the trunk and created a shari linking the deadwood but also enhancing the taper and movement in the design.
When I visited Roy earlier in the year to work on some of his other trees I noticed how well this tree was doing and told him that the next time I came this would be our project.
August 2014 and once again I am fortunate enough to be in Roy’s garden. He had not forgotten my promise and the tree was raring to go…..ready for the next move! I did a small amount of pruning, removed a couple of branches and then wired all that was left.
Thankfully after I finally position all the branches Roy is pleased with the result and so am I……this tree has great character, strong individuality and now the basis for a smart canopy of foliage.
This tree has moved with the times and really does have a great story to tell. It’s what often separates bonsai from other living plants….they have history, almost human qualities…….times of hardship, of energetic growth, good times, changes in appearance……. sometimes good, sometimes bad………they have a past, and hopefully a long future. You must always remember to take those pictures of your tree, otherwise how will you tell his story?