Source: Bonsai Tonight
Rocky Mountain Juniper
It’s not exactly “show-ready” as we like to say – the tree is only a few years out of the ground and branch pads have yet to be defined. The tree offers, however, a glimpse of how floppy the tree’s foliage can be and plenty of interesting deadwood. Maybe too interesting. The large piece of deadwood on the left looks like something an undiscerning artist found on the ground and affixed to the first tree they dug. It is, however, very naturally connected to the live part of the tree.
Old deadwood – evidence of an older, larger tree
If you look closely, you can easily discern the old deadwood from the new. The deadwood supporting the live part of the tree lacks the deep fissures evident on the big jin. In the photo below, the upper part of the deadwood is light in color with subtle fissures. This wood has been exposed to the elements for a while, but not for as long as the jin on the left. The lower part of the deadwood is darker in color and lacks fissures. This wood has more recently been exposed to the elements.
Older and newer deadwood
A few days before the exhibit, I cleaned the tree’s deadwood with a water gun and then treated it with a mixture of lime sulfur, water and sumi ink. This helped to even out the different tones of deadwood on the tree. A new pot and some bright moss completed the show prep.
Rocky Mountain Juniper deadwood
Why so much effort for a tree that’s not quite ready for display? Interesting deadwood, great age, and curious foliage contributed to the decision. Beyond that, the tree offers a great puzzle for aspiring bonsai stylists. In other words, what improvements can be made to the tree? There are plenty of alternatives. It’s the kind of tree I’d like to walk by in the garden for a while before making up my mind. Although I don’t know what exactly is in store for the tree’s future, I do know it will look quite different the next time I see it in an exhibit.