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