Meyer Juniper

The life of a Meyer Juniper, Juniperus squamata ‘Meyeri’.


Meyer Juniper1

As bought, 2010. From a private collection, via a bonsai nursery. Although it seemed a bit neglected and was looking very bushy, I was attracted by the near-perfect arrangement of branches spiraling around the trunk, the pronounced taper, and the lack of any cut-and-grow scars


The next sequence of photos shows the tree in 4/2011, 5/2013, 4/2014 and 11/2015.

Meyer Juniper2   Meyer Juniper3


Meyer Juniper4   Meyer Juniper5   Meyer Juniper6

The last image shown here is from 12/2016, now re-designed in the ‘slanting’ style. The nebari on the left has been exposed and developed to stabilise the slant, both physically and visually, and the foliage pads are much more developed.

Yixing Chinese Oval Pot

The pot is a large Yixing oval which is similar in colour to the foliage and large enough to give the ‘tree on a plain’ appearance I wanted to create. The oval shape is suited to the informal style. The gently curving profile and the complex cloud feet lift the pot’s design and accentuate the femininity of the composition. It’s glazed, not the usual match for a conifer, but I’m happy with it.
Meyer juniper is not the easiest species to work with. The normal removal of terminal buds to increase ramification doesn’t work – the young branches treated in this way simply die! Therefore wait until the development of a trio of buds, i.e. the original one and a smaller pair immediately behind it, and then remove the terminal bud without damaging the remaining two. This does compact the foliage over time, but it’s a slow process, particularly in weaker parts of the tree. Not all branches produce the three buds readily, and those that don’t simply have to be left if you want extra energy in that part of the tree, or removed. Perhaps this explains why I don’t remember seeing a small Meyer juniper bonsai! 6 years after purchase I am still building foliage density…
Future development: the larger foliage pads to be subdivided and wired at different heights to give them more character and reduce the tree’s transparency.

Shohin Maple in Autum colours

Shohin Maple development

This shohin-sized Japanese Mountain Maple (Acer palmatum) was purchased as rough material in 2005.

TB Acer April 2010

It was originally developed for several years as an informal upright. A tree with great potential and a well tapered trunk. Branch placement was good.

However, it became apparent that a large area at the front of the tree was dead. This had been apparently caused by old wire that had been twisted round the tree as a seedling, and become buried in the wood. These issues spoiled the image, and prevented development of a convincing root structure.


TB Acer March 2011

In 2012 it was reworked into a semi-cascade style, which reduced the effect of these problems.

TB Acer March 2012

It was first displayed in 2016, when it won Best Shohin at the Wessex Open Bonsai show, and took joint first place in the Sutton Bonsai Society annual show.

TB Acer May 2016

The tree is far from ‘finished’ however, and still has years of refinement ahead of it, particularly in terms of improving the winter image which is very sparse and requires further ramification.

TB Acer January 2017