Dirk, what are some areas that you see as needing improvement? Sometimes when I look at your tree again, ideas run through my head. I might wonder about something and imagine how it might look. How might it look with denser foliage, deadwood, or more branches. I'm just curious to hear the thoughts of others and share mine as I've never had any formal advanced art education. Hopefully with time, that will improve. The circled areas are where I've been looking at excluding what areas I've mentioned in the early post.
I must have missed this last post. I agree that there are a lot of options for improving. The ten-jin was left on so we could decide what to do with it in the future, we can cut it off completely, or shorten it. It has a bit more movement in it in person, but i see why the straight line is accentuated. I do not like the enclosed negative spaces in the tree, so we have to work around that. The jin with the biggest circle might distract a bit from the movement. Thanks for the input. I would like to show this tree a few times in a local show before making big adjustments. Next may i will exhibit this one at a small show for the first time. Its spring so i would do it with a flowering plant. Does anyone has an idea for a scroll?
hanging a wire on a treat so the right inclination is easy to follow.
Prepare the pot
prepare soilmix (akadama - bims)
inspect rootball, rather full, drainage was becoming slow and difficult to monitor.
This plant was pretrained for its bonsai life but its center was still old potting soil. Last years watering was sometimes not as it could be. I went for a half bare root repot. Not totally confident it was the best choice. I had no time this year to do it under guidance so fingers crossed.
The not bare rooted side
Fixing in the pot
The remaining mix
After sifting to see how much was good particle size.
Top right is the drainage layer
Bottom right: the size of the particles i used now. Last time we went a bit smaller to slow the tree down. Now i think it might be good to let it grow a bit more.
Top left, the finder but still ok mix.
bottom left, a little bit of akadama dust, but 90% is old potting mix from the center of the rootball. I'm happy it's out. Lets hope the tree is happy too.
It's all in the approach. Not all species of Junipers are the same and not all varieties within the same species are the same. Sargents Juniper is the parent plant of all the other Shimpakus we talk about. But; you cannot treat plane ol' Sargents Juniper the same way as Shimpaku and get the same results. Likewise you may not be successful growing any number of Chinese Junipers the same way but the results may be different. The point being you start by the book and see what works but don't be afraid to think outside the box and experiment with your own imagination and insight. If something does not work try something else.
I often experiment with different things. The downside is that sometimes it doesn't turn out as planned, but you do learn a lot. I often listen to people who have the experience and try what they advocate. Often there is less downside to that method. Now i've become to a stage that i listen to experts for the basics and do tiny adjustments depending timing and details. Just finetuning my understanding according to the tree. But if the basis is not right ...
You have come a long way with this tree in a comparatively short time. I really like the ramification and how you have developed nice foliage pads. My two biggest suggestions:
(1) The top jin is too long, and detracts from, instead of adds to, your design. It makes the upper half of the tree look awkward and straight. This tree is NOT about that top jin - don't fall in love with it! The strength of this tree comes from the power of the lower trunk - the top jin is a distraction and takes your eye and sense of focus and leads it up and away into the upper left. Take some pictures and do a few virtuals with the jin dramatically shortened (like by 90%). I think you will find the tree regains a lot of balance and movement.
(2) Because you are not wiring the fine ramification of your branches, the foliage continues to grow upward without filling out. Within a couple of years your foliage pads will be an inch or two higher... and the fine ramification branches will look extremely awkward - thin and leggy. At that point, if you wire the branches you may find yourself wiring thin leggy branches with no interior buds - and it may be a challenge to get enough back-budding on old juniper bark. One of the reasons you wire fine ramification is to open up the foliage pad to maintain foliage density. Your tree is starting to look like a tree that was originally well-maintained, but is now becoming overgrown by someone who is only clipping the branches instead of training them.
I don't want these comments to come across as too critical and depressing. It is very hard to listen to suggestions about a tree that you have come to look at in a very specific way.
First of all i love critics on a tree, even if it's (temporarily) mine. I also like to give suggestions as it opens both your own and the others mind. It is sometimes a thin line to know how others will react to that. I love it...
(1) The topjin was put on there with the initial styling with in the back of the mind to possibly remove it in the long run. We've decided to let it there until me and the tree are ready. It has developed some nice "grain" but it will never be an (positive) eye-catcher. I've decided in my mind to completely remove it some time ago. The longer i do bonsai the longer i wait making changes like that in a hurry, but i will get there and i will remove a lot of the other Jin in the same restyling session i guess. The thing i don't like is how the jin forms a straight line, but is more disturbing on a photo than irl.
(2) This is my only needle juniper and i don't know how tight i will be able to keep the pads and how we will manage it when they keep growing up. Until this point we have deliberately chosen to make them higher to expose more of the tertiary branches. I do remove the backbudding that occurs lower. When i look at the gnarly old needle junipers my teacher has with this feature i do like it. When i look at the junipers with more flatted out pads i do like it too. On this tree i will let me lead to wherever my master and my tree take me as i'm not mature enough to decide on that. The fine branches have never been wired, and i do see how it starts to look less maintained.
I will keep you posted about where future takes us. Thanks for the in-depth thoughts. I appreciate it!