Tuesday, 18 February 2020

A Huge Juniper Transformed

Last Saturday I decided to attend a meeting at Midway Bonsai Society after hearing that a young member of Eastern Bonsai Society (EBS)  - the club I've been a member of for 12 years - would be doing a demonstration on a huge juniper.

Shaundre Craukamp may only be 19, but he already has a lot of bonsai experience, having joined his first club at the age of 10. After that club closed, he moved to EBS when he was 14. A year later he won the EBS and regional new talent competitions. Later that year he went on to win the national competition, becoming the youngest South African to do so.

The trees used for those competitions were nursery stock- Juniper Procumbens Nana, a little smaller than the one he's seen working on in an earlier post (he's the guy in black). Unlike the one in that post, however, competition trees have had no previous styling.

The tree he worked on this time was a collected tree - Juniper Chinensis - belonging to Jonathan Cain, a member of Midway.

Shaundre started by doing a little carving on some of the dead wood at the bottom. (There was far too much to be done in one session.)

He chose to do the carving by hand.

Then he moved on to the apex.

As everything up there was long and straight, and growing away from the trunk, a lot of bending was required - too much to be done at once without putting excessive strain on the tree, but enough to show the direction in which the tree will be developed.

First he split the area he wanted to bend, then he applied tape to prevent the branch breaking when he bent it.

After wiring the branch and adding some guy wires, he was able to pull it down in the direction he wants it to grow. I believe it will be brought closer to the trunk when it's had time to heal.

This was already a big improvement, but the branch coming up from the bend looked out of place, so he removed it, leaving a stub which will be used as a jin.

He then bent one of the lower branches up to create a new apex.

He marked a few areas that will need carving, including the marked branch, which is currently far too long and thick.

After all the small branches had been wired (with help from Jonathan and his wife Denise) and re-positioned the tree looked like this.

Shaundre will be paying Midway another visit next spring to do further work on this tree.