Blue Star

This Blue Star Juniper was planted in my flowerbed back in 1993. Over the years I cut it back and eventually I pulled it out. It struggled for years loosing branch after branch. At one point I thought it was dead. After removing all the dead branches I was able to scrap away all the dead bark from the trunk. I couldn’t believe it when I saw just how small a live vein remained. It took a further few years to get it  to full health.

Detail of the live vein at the base.

Today I decided to style the tree. A few things needed sorting out. Most of the deadwood moves to the right but the bit top left goes against this flow.

I decided to heat the jin with a blow torch and bend it into a more complimentary position. I protected the foliage with tin foil while I heated the jin. I used jin pliers to hold and twist the wood as I heated it. Once I got it to the right spot I held it for a minute or so for it to cool down and set in it’s new position.

As you can see, the heating treatment allows for decent bends to be added and has the benefit of ageing the wood with fire.

After a quick coat of Lime Sulphur I applied self Amalgamating Tape to the upper trunk area to protect it while I applied a bend or two. The upper trunk was bolt straight and I wanted to bring the foliage in tighter to the main body of the tree.

This is it after bending and some basic branch placement. It isn’t very refined as the foliage quite heavy and I wasn’t prepared to pinch it back any harder at this point. I reduced the jins at the base as they distracted from the rest of the tree. These will also be refined further at a later point as they are a bit clunky as they sit now.  Further growth will be needed to fill out the image but the basic structure I wanted it there now.

Matthew’s Juniper

My son, Matthew, has been showing an interest in bonsai and I’m keen to support it. I spent some time with him today working on a Chinese Juniper. The juniper was given to him by my friend Stephen who wanted to make space on his benches. I’ve always liked the juniper and Stephen decided to give it to Matthew so I could prove it was worth keeping 🙂

It needed a thinning out to remove weak foliage and was then wired, by me, Matthew had visitors to entertain. We gave the bark a scrub and weeded the pot, then added Lime Sulphur. He likes that bit. 🙂

I forgot to take a before shot but this was it a few months ago.

This was it after some work. Some final tweaking of foliage required but we ran out of time.

The foliage needs to gain some more vigour and I plan to foliar feed during the year.