A Juniper Story by Tim Riley (aka Wabashene)

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The tree had, by now, become somewhat of a celebrity on the Bonsaisite.com discussion forum, breaking into the Top 20 all time viewing figures! My feeling was/is that beginners and improvers were identifying with the tree due to its well documented humble beginnings rather than being confronted and intimidated possibly, by a masterpiece presented out of nowhere.

juniper bonsai

Advice from all quarters was flooding in - the essence of which was to opt for a more semi-cascade (han kengai) style which would mean re-positioning the apex and cascading branch

I went part way there in May 2006 and used 6mm aluminium wire on most of the branch and apex to move them.

Juniper bonsai

Recently, in August 2006, I finally jinned the end of the cascade branch and wired it to follow the flow of the tree having completely abandoned the idea of curving the tip back to the pot..

Juniper bonsai

This is really only the beginnings of what may become a good quality tree in time. It now has form, flow, no awkward angles but needs foliage refinement and a better pot. There are options to go for a very traditional/formal multi-tiered style following the natural planes above or possibly to go for something a bit more informal in keeping with modern bonsai trends.

Juniper bonsai

Harry Harrington (bonsai4me.com) created the virtual image above and I have placed the tree in a virtual pot by Erin Pottery (erinpottery.com) originally made for one of my first on-line mentors – Richard Fish. I am considering commissioning something similar.

Juniper bonsai

Almost 10 years to get to this point but I have enjoyed the journey immensely. The reality is that the transition from March 2004 to August 2006 could have been accomplished more or less immediately, but of course you don’t know that when you start and I don’t consider it to be wasted time.

Hopefully those of you with skinny junipers in oversized pots may see a way forward. It pays to be bold.

My thanks go to all those who have helped and encouraged me over the last few years with this tree!

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