Refining a juniper or, how to carve a turkey

It’s off to my sister’s for a Thanksgiving dinner (that won’t be beat) and I need something to do while I wait for the turkey.
I know, this’ll keep me occupied.
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Juniperus procumbens nana, a japanese juniper.
I’m babysitting my friend Barb’s trees while she’s cavorting around Texas with her Hubs and cat (named Ricky Ricardo) in an RV, visiting family and collecting trees.
This is one of her trees. She did say that I could work on them if I wanted.
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The orange coloration on the foliage is not a disease or damage, it’s the result of too much iron in the water. She had gotten it a while back from someone with that particular problem. It washes right off if you use a muriatic acid solution. Sounds scary, right?
Anyhow, you can see that the new growth is poking through with nice green tips.
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It’s a nice pot, I think it might be a modern, high end Chinese one, but I’m not sure.
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It has a chop (a chop is a signature of the potter or the kiln).
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There is one flaw in the structure of the tree. The left branch is coming from the inside of a curve.
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It’s causing some bulging and an ugly knob where it’s coming off the trunk.
It is generally not good design to have a branch on the inside of a curve but there’s also a horticultural reason too; the inside will thicken faster than the outside of the curve, and if you have a branch there, it will thicken even more so. Causing reverse (inverse, obverse) taper to that part of the tree.
Time to ignore the family, I mean, get to work.
My implements:
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My soundtrack:
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I need to remove the old wire.
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Yes, tweezers. You guys have seen my fingers, with a small tree like this you need them.
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What shall I do with the old wire?
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Here’s something new: American Bonsai Tool Co. is sponsoring a recycling program (details here) for clubs and individuals where, if you collect and send in ten pounds of aluminum wire you get a $100 credit towards new wire. I’m pretty sure that ten pounds of wire at recycling centers will not get you anywhere close to $100; the last time I went I got like ¢.57 for plain aluminum (beer and soda cans get more money for some reason).
The CFBC (thanks to Steve) is spearheading a drive to get new wire for the club.
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Check it out.
As you may have figured from the handful of wire I was just holding, I’ve finished.
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I’m thinking I need to make some changes (of course I will, it wouldn’t be very interesting blogpost if I didn’t).
I think I like this angle better.
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The problem is, how long ago was it potted.
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Looks good, I can adjust it without hurting it.
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Looks better already.
Do you remember that one branch?
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I think I’ll kill it off, which will stop the swelling, and it should add to the design.
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As I said in the last post, if there isn’t any green left on a juniper branch, 99% of the time said branch will die (or the whole tree in the case of the last post).
Your chances go up to 100% if you strip the bark off the branch too.
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Make note of how it looks now.
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It has to get uglier before it gets better.
One guy wire (yes, it is called a “guy wire” not a guide wire….)
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And now it looks like Quasimodo.
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Don’t worry, I warned you that it had to be that way.
Now it’s a wiring job……but first, the turkey is ready!
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After a Thanksgiving Dinner that couldn’t be beat..
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…I got back to work.
I rewired everything I had just unwired (it’s necessary, I promise you)
Side view:
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The other side:
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As you can see, it had gotten dark by then (hey, it was a feast!) so the pics aren’t that great.
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I’ll go get one now, be right back….in the meantime, here’s the before:
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Brrrrr, it’s a little brisk out there today, it’s what’s called high beam weather in Florida, very much like winter.
And here’s the juniper this morning:
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Some might not like the pot. I happen to like it myself but many will say that a flashy pot takes the attention away from the tree. Think about this though, most shohin you see will be in bright and almost gaudy pots. The reason is that, in a show, very small trees are, well, very small. They disappear in the shadows of those monster, what-am-I-trying-to-compensate-for trees. They have to draw your eye somehow, don’t they? So we use elaborate stands and colorful pots and disco balls and…..well, not disco balls…yet.
I texted a before pic to Barb last night and asked her if she wanted to see the after pic then or if she wanted to wait for this post.
She replied, in all caps mind you, “NOW!! DON’T TEASE ME!!!”
I should have made her wait.
I sent her the after pic and she was greatly pleased.
If you’re interested in a short video, here’s the YouTube link. I’m sure I’ll also put it on my Instagram feed too. Enjoy the music I chose as the soundtrack. It’s a Thanksgiving day tradition where I come from to listen to it while celebrating the day.
I hope you had a Happy Thanksgiving my friends.
Be kind and thankful.

About adamaskwhy

Visual artist specializing in bonsai, mostly.
This entry was posted in branch placement, redesign, refine, wiring and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Refining a juniper or, how to carve a turkey

  1. Peter says:

    Nice. the tree and turkey look good. here in canada we had our thanks giving a month ago and it’s -4 c so there’s not much to do with our trees. i repot all of my desert rose plants that are about 2 months old. that’s all i can do.

  2. Zack Clayton says:

    Nice transformation. And I’m glad to see that you guys aren’t afraid to stuff in the bird. I think it tastes better that way.

  3. Stuffing the bird rocks my world. Nice work Adam. Thanks for the tips esp about inside curve swelling – didn’t know that

  4. Brian says:

    Thoughts and prayers are with you brother…..Get well soon.

    Brian

  5. Van says:

    You’ve been letting me hang out to dry for more than two weeks here buddy, such a high volume blogger you are, i was wonder that may be you ingest little bit more of tryptophan during Thanksgiving that make you sieepy and tire… I try to come up with all the good execuses to get you off the hook here, you see? Though instagram http://instagram.com/p/wkyiCRqPYo/, i just found out, get out of that place that you’ve been holed up as fast as you can man, your trees need you to water, i need you to water.

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