Small or large juniper bonsai trees have a way of saying “I'm a bonsai” in a very convincing way.
In 2007, David De Groot was the guest artist at the Bonsai Societies of Florida convention.
There are many different varieties of juniper considered good for bonsai. A large, full Juniperus procumbens nana nursery stock plant was purchased for this demonstration.
This plant, by it's nature, is a low growing spreader. They are often staked to grow upright as shown here. This is how the juniper looked when it first arrived in the nursery container.
Dave cut, trimmed and pinched needles. He created jins (dead wood) to give it an aged look.
It wasn't long before it began to look like an old tree.
After these photos were taken, he spent quite while wiring the tree to get the branches started toward the plan he had in mind. Many bonsai artists sketch pictures of what they hope the future of their work will look like.
Dave studied the juniper bonsai tree from all sides. He determined a future plan for the new owner-to-be.
He also expressed his idea of what a future container should look like. This is the sketch he drew.
Everyone was impressed with the program and looked forward to auction night. That's when this fantastic bonsai juniper would be available to the highest bidder.
Michael Sullivan, Ft. Lauderdale, FL sat through the entire demonstration and fell in love with this tree. He had to have it.
When auction time came, the bidding was hectic. Mike had the final bid, and as he recalls, it was in the neighborhood of $500.
I asked Mike to tell us about some of the changes he’s made since he acquired this juniper bonsai tree.
“It has been restyled twice since I purchased it. I removed the lowest branch and turned it into a jin. That jin ties into a natural shari that connects with another shari I created - that runs down the trunkline.
"The latest change is the addition of a really beautifully rustic, nanban Tokoname pot.
"I think this bonsai is very understated and elegant. To me it has that elusive wabi sabi quality. Hard to explain, but you know it when you see it. And for me, this is it."
This is an updated photo from Mike Sullivan on the above juniper.
Each year this bonsai becomes more and more refined.
Mike has given a lot of thought to this tree's journey.
Some changes were big, others were more detail oriented.
So many of us forget or just ignore taking pictures.
We are fortunate to observe this work in progress.