Bonsai Study Group Forum

Species Specific => North American Juniper Bonsai Discussion => Topic started by: John Kirby on August 11, 2009, 09:50 PM

Title: Big Western
Post by: John Kirby on August 11, 2009, 09:50 PM
I bought this Juniper as raw stock from Boon a couple of years ago. We struggled with how to deal with the big single branch that came off the side of the tree, we had sort of decided on one side over the other, carved it, and were preparing to style it. When Boon said a friend of his, Akio Konda,  was coming to visit and was doing a couple of workshops. I spent two days doing the workshop, and  we ended up with a solution for dealing with the sole single branch being bent over 120 degrees, and a soultion for placing foliage in front of the branch to hide it next year when a greater level of styling occurs.

The common joke among my friends in the bay area was that this was a good source of firewood, however I don't think they will now....

John
(the picture with Akio is for scale....)
Title: Re: Big Western
Post by: John Kirby on August 13, 2009, 04:06 PM
Wow, granted it doesn't have much taper, but I thought i would at least of gotten a "throw it on as kindlin" or somethiong like that...
John
Title: Re: Big Western
Post by: AlexV on August 13, 2009, 04:15 PM
I am not sure about kindling, but it sure is a monster.  What are you going to do with the foliage to compensate for the fact that it looks to be the size of my thigh with very little taper?  I realize you state you will use foliage to conceal the bent branch, but will you wrap the crown around the top of the trunk to maybe partially hide the lack of taper?  Or can the top deadwood be carved down a bit?  Interesting tree, thanks for sharing.

Alex
Title: Re: Big Western
Post by: MatsuBonsai on August 13, 2009, 04:48 PM
John,

I think everyone is just in awe of the huge tree.  I'm so used to seeing it horizontal and wondering what in the world you were going to do with it.  Looks like you and Akio spent a lot of time on this one.  I can't wait to see it in person in October.
Title: Re: Big Western
Post by: John Kirby on August 13, 2009, 05:52 PM
Alex,
it has about 3" taper, and yes wrapping the top around trunk is the plan. As Boon says. it is yamadori sometimes you have to accept the imperfections that come with the tree.
Title: Re: Big Western
Post by: AlexV on August 13, 2009, 07:32 PM
I feel kinda dumb.  When I first looked at the pics I was thinking this tree had been field grown and carved.  Not sure why that got stuck in my head. 

With it being collected and the deadwood being natural, you just roll with what the tree has.  I think I have seen a couple Junipers where the drastic wrap was done, and the finished product looks nice. 

I really like the trunk in the new raised position it is in over the horizontal position it was in.  It feels very stable this way. 

Alex
Title: Re: Big Western
Post by: John Kirby on August 13, 2009, 08:09 PM
That is cool, I was just trying to be a bit of a rabble rouser. Trying o get folks to post trees, regardless of how far along in their  development they are. Excited about school getting ready to start?
Title: Re: Big Western
Post by: AlexV on August 13, 2009, 08:35 PM
I am, both looking forward to school and posting some trees.  I am gonna start on monday with a little side research while we get my main project rolling.  ATM I am applying for NSF grants, so doing a lot of writing.  On the posting front, I put up my juniper and I have a few other I want to post pics of.  I will see if I can get several posted by the weekend. 

Alex
Title: Re: Big Western
Post by: John Kirby on August 13, 2009, 08:40 PM
Excellent. What program at NSF? I have benefitted from their good favors over my career.
Title: Re: Big Western
Post by: AlexV on August 13, 2009, 08:47 PM
I am applying for one of the 3 year graduate fellowships for Geosciences.  I am technically in the Geology dept at Umich, but my advisor had appointments with their microbiology/ecology dept as well.  When you get a chance send me some info about your company, I love reading about what my friends in science are doing.
Title: Re: Big Western
Post by: MatsuBonsai on April 09, 2010, 09:24 AM
I saw Googlebot looking at this thread, so I thought I would revive it.

I enjoyed seeing this in person in October, but don't think I got any pictures, as it was tucked away in a different part of the yard.  It looked like a completely different tree.  What/when are the next steps?  Are you going to bring this one home any time soon?
Title: Re: Big Western
Post by: Don Blackmond on April 09, 2010, 09:46 AM
great trunk.  very robust.
Title: Re: Big Western
Post by: John Kirby on April 09, 2010, 10:03 AM
Thanks,
It is doing well and popped back after the work. It was repotted in early March, was ale to get 80% of the adjustment in planting angle completed, the rest will have to come in two years when it is repotted again. Didn't hve a deeper pot at Boon's that was big enough, this pot is 8" or so deep.

John
Title: Re: Big Western
Post by: JRob on April 09, 2010, 02:37 PM
John,

Did not see the species listed or did I just miss it?

JRob
Title: Re: Big Western
Post by: John Kirby on April 09, 2010, 03:09 PM
western=Western Juniper (Juniperus occidentalis) the blue version of this species s called Sierra Juniper. Hybridizes with numerous species in its range, including California Juniper.

John
Title: Re: Big Western
Post by: davidscott57 on April 12, 2010, 01:41 PM
Hi John,

That is one fine job you and Akio did on that juniper.   I am attaching (or attempting to anyway) a couple of photos of Yamaaki pots from my friend Hiroshi in Japan.   If anything interests you I can inquire as to price and size or if you prefer you can give me dimensions and style of pot you are looking for and I can ask him to locate.  I have been purchasing pots from him for 2-3 years now and his prices are very reasonable.

Let me know if you are interested.

David - Orlando
Title: Re: Big Western
Post by: Dwight on June 16, 2010, 08:10 PM
Any further news on this monster ? Pics hopefully
Title: Re: Big Western
Post by: John Kirby on June 16, 2010, 09:19 PM
It is doing well, growing and adjusting to its new position in the pot. Will see this weekend and will try and get some pics. Akio may come back to visit this fall, he asked if he could be on hand for the next level of work.  Will see how it goes, it should be ready for some sire in the fall.


John
Title: Re: Big Western
Post by: John Kirby on August 24, 2012, 07:55 PM
OK, the tree has now undergone the first real styling, that is selecting the future branches and starting to build an apex. remember, this tree is built off of one branch. I would like to et this tree developed as a western and then in the future look at rebuilding as a shimpaku with branches at the right places. John
Title: Re: Big Western
Post by: Dan W. on August 24, 2012, 09:13 PM
Looking good :) Thanks for the update. I really enjoy following your trees.
Title: Re: Big Western
Post by: JRob on August 24, 2012, 09:15 PM
John,

Absolutely stunning. I hope to see it in person someday. Have you chosen the pot?

JRob
Title: Re: Big Western
Post by: John Kirby on August 25, 2012, 06:28 AM
Thanks guys. This tree needs a good sized pot, and it needs something a little deeper than usual because of the root base structure and to give it a good visual anchor due to the size of the trunk, etc. But it doesn't need a bathtub sized pot. I think Boon has a grey faux antique pot styled after earlier Chinese pots that should work. I have been trying to get all of the show trees into older (>40 yrs) or if possible antique pots to show, this tree and the Kokonoe are a bit problematic because finding pots that are good, old and big can be challenging- oh and economically feasible. It is interesting how you change your perspective over time, I used to look for the cheapest pots I could find that still had a pretty good look (think Lotus)- now the question is, can I find a pot that is right and conveys a sense of age that compliments the tree and the tree (hopefully) deserves.
Title: Re: Big Western
Post by: Chrisl on August 25, 2012, 12:41 PM
Very nice John.  And Peter Waren expressed the same thoughts on pot selection on some of the 'pro' entries in our show.  In that, the pots should match the age and ruggedness of the tree for instance.   Great to see the progression!
Title: Re: Big Western
Post by: Elliott on August 25, 2012, 06:46 PM
Davidscott 57
 I love Yamaaki pots  especialy signed ones. Im interested in pot's 1, 5, 7, and 10. If you can find out if they have a signature on the bottom besides the stamps, their sizes and price with shipping to California, That would be great. Its alot of info to ask for, so no hurry.
Thanks!
Elliott
Title: Re: Big Western
Post by: John Kirby on August 04, 2014, 08:20 PM
Akio was visiting Boon's the last few days and decided to take this tree up to the next step. A day and a half and this is what you get. Akio and Yusuke Uchida did the prep and then Akio did the next wiring. Remember this tree has one branch that we positioned over two days if workshops in 2009. Pictures taken this morning bt Boon,front, side and back to show pad positioning.
Title: Re: Big Western
Post by: Jason E on August 04, 2014, 10:29 PM
Thanks for posting, it's great to see a cool tree like this ones progression.
Coming along quite nicely too.

JE
Title: Re: Big Western
Post by: carobone on August 05, 2014, 12:24 AM
wow!
Title: Re: Big Western
Post by: VanceWood on August 05, 2014, 08:52 AM
Wow, granted it doesn't have much taper, but I thought i would at least of gotten a "throw it on as kindlin" or somethiong like that...
John

This is a wonderful tree.  After reading the entire thread I am surprised that the question of taper was brought up.  It seems to me that a tree with this kind of natural trunk would be exempt from that kind of thinking, and in fact did not cross my mind at all.  The only thing you could do to change that would be to carve down the existing dead wood, a mistake in my mind and probably would be a mistake in my hands.
Title: Re: Big Western
Post by: Don Blackmond on August 05, 2014, 02:20 PM
looking really good
Title: Re: Big Western
Post by: Judy on August 05, 2014, 03:14 PM
That is one sexy tree.  Got a ton of interesting angles, I'm glad you showed us a side photo.
Title: Re: Big Western
Post by: Yenling83 on August 05, 2014, 06:52 PM
Looks fantastic!  Aikio's work is very impressive!!!
Title: Re: Big Western
Post by: John Kirby on August 21, 2014, 02:09 PM
Western Junipers are strong growers in the right environment. The change in foliage growth and ramification from 8/12 to8/14 is dramatic. Water, a little fertilizer, repot and put it out in the sunshine.
Title: Re: Big Western
Post by: John Kirby on February 21, 2016, 10:16 AM
Final preparative repotting. We have worked improve the rootage on this tree, while at the same time repositioning the tree to the front and angle required. I got this older Yamaaki pot from Japan. It is deeper than its predecessor which allowed us to full stand the tree up, it is also narrower front to back. We were able to remove the extraneous roots showing as a mass on the soil surface.
Title: Re: Big Western
Post by: bwaynef on February 21, 2016, 12:40 PM
There probably aren't many Western Junipers that are any better than this one.  Will you consider reducing the left side at any point?  Seems like the apex points back to the right, so if you chose to get the foilage pointing in that direction it'd look nice.


Do you have any pictures of the tree as you bought it from @boon?  (Maybe he does?)
Title: Re: Big Western
Post by: John Kirby on February 21, 2016, 07:25 PM
There may be a picture from Boon, will ask. If you go back to the first picture from 2009, you see the tree in a large round mica drum, which is tilted up near the angle is now. The tree was in a 2'x4' or so box, laying on the pumice with the single branch pointing out and somewhat up. First potting in 2008 we raised it up as much as we could comfortably in the pot, we could have transformed it quicker with a deeper box instead of the pot. In 2013 it was repotted in to the deeper chinese rectangle, but we still couldn't get the tree fully tipped forward and turned in the pot. So now, 3 years later, we have it in a deeper pot and could reduce the surface root tangle, which had originally been buried in the box, and to reduce a few large roots to turn the tree in the pot.

The tree will be styled again, with the change of position some elements will need to be repositioned, possibly reduced.
Title: Re: Big Western
Post by: DorianJF on February 22, 2016, 12:45 AM
Really great to see the transformation over the years.

Great tree.  Love it
Title: Re: Big Western
Post by: bwaynef on February 22, 2016, 08:09 AM
First potting in 2008 we raised it up as much as we could comfortably in the pot, we could have transformed it quicker with a deeper box instead of the pot.

So, why'd you go w/ the pot?
Title: Re: Big Western
Post by: John Kirby on February 23, 2016, 09:38 AM
To be honest, we thought it would be a very different tree, more if a slant, that would be created by grafting. After getting it settled, doing the two day work shop with Akio, getting the sole branch to bend in to the current position, it made sense to make the tree more upright.

In short, I wanted a big slanting Kishu, we came up with a better plan.
Title: Re: Big Western
Post by: Don Blackmond on March 28, 2016, 05:06 PM
Final preparative repotting. We have worked improve the rootage on this tree, while at the same time repositioning the tree to the front and angle required. I got this older Yamaaki pot from Japan. It is deeper than its predecessor which allowed us to full stand the tree up, it is also narrower front to back. We were able to remove the extraneous roots showing as a mass on the soil surface.

Looks great John.  I really like the way its turning out.
Title: Re: Big Western
Post by: LanceMac10 on March 30, 2016, 01:21 PM
Amazing transformation from it's initial stage to the fine specimen seen here.
Top notch work, very impressive!!
Thanks for sharing it's progression and giving us a peek. 8)
Title: Re: Big Western
Post by: John Kirby on September 07, 2016, 07:35 PM
Aug 2016. Two days of wiring. Now to fill in a bit.
Title: Re: Big Western
Post by: bwaynef on September 21, 2016, 03:40 PM
I had to open the last styled pic up and compare it with this one.  The changes are subtle, but it is much improved ...if that makes sense.  Earlier I'd asked about reducing the left side.  I'm not sure what I was seeing before, but the most recent styling cements that as NOT the way to go.  (As if you were taking styling tips from me to begin with...)

Its hard to tell since the angle seems to be from a little lower in the most recent picture, but have you let the apex grow just a bit?
Title: Re: Big Western
Post by: John Kirby on September 26, 2016, 10:12 PM
Just a little more compact. Two years in Rochester.