Monday, 29 May 2017

Transforming a Giant Juniper

About four times a year the various bonsai clubs in my province get together for a day of talks and demonstrations. It's a great opportunity to meet some new bonsai enthusiasts and learn some new techniques. The most recent of these meetings took place on the first Saturday of May.

Among the speakers was Org Exley of Pretoria Bonsai Kai who brought along this massive Juniper Chinensis.

Juniper Chinensis - before

When I saw the tree I assumed that Org was planning to create a literati bonsai but I soon discovered that he had other ideas. This is an illustration he showed us before he started work.


On a tree of that size this was not going to be an easy undertaking. Simple wiring was not going to be enough to get any significant bends into a tree that was far from flexible.

Org showing how far the tree would bend

In order to add flexibility and create the two trunks shown in his illustration it was necessary to split almost the entire trunk.

Here's a shot of the carving - a long and difficult process during which the centre of the trunk was hollowed out.


Sawdust was flying everywhere.


Eventually the carving was done and he now had two much more flexible trunks to work with.


At this stage the tree was taken outside for wiring as the meeting moved on to another topic. Unfortunately there was too much work to do in the time remaining so the last I saw of the tree was this view, wrapped in raffia with a lot of wire applied.


Org kindly agreed to send me a photo of the completed styling. This is what it looks like right now.


I hope he'll bring it along to another meeting when it's had time to recover from its ordeal.

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