Entry: Sabina Juniper – Juniperus sabina – United Kingdom
This tree is a typical European Sabina Juniper, the tree was collected in 2010 and has been in my position for 18 months. 12 months ago I changed the planting angle as it was originally planted to make certain a good recovery and help establish the tree after collecting from the wild. I change the planting media to a more open mixture of Acadama, Bimms and a small amount of fine pine bark plus few chips of charcoal were place in the lower section of the pot to ‘sweeten’ the mixture. The tree has thrived in the new mix and 12 months later is ready for styling. I particularly like the gentle movement of the trunk and will endeavour to bring out the quality of the deadwood whilst maintaining the elegance and movement.
The Challenge: The tree is virgin raw material that has never been styled, there are many ‘faults’ with the tree the most obvious being that it has two tops, one must be selected that offers the best solution whilst maintaining a good visible sinuous life line, the other top will be removed or repositioned. A lot of work needs to be done to define the life line and refine the deadwood. A lot of the foliage is at the end of long thin branches. Over the next six months I want to increase the density of foliage closer to the trunk. I believe that this is a good selection for the competition as by December 2012 a pleasing image should be taking form.
One Quarter Progression
The definition between the live vein and the shari needed to be established, along with refining the deadwood. I want to create an elegant tree so will remove a lot of the ‘confusion’ around the middle part of the tree and present a flowing sinuous trunk as part of the final image.
Perhaps the biggest challenge with this juniper is to move the foliage that is concentrated around the apex of the tree and distribute it more evenly around the tree.
The trunk split into two just below the foliage and this created two apex. One had to be either removed or repositioned. In repositioning I could place foliage where I needed it, at the rear and lower part of the tree.
An old branch is very difficult to bend, however this branch was 75% deadwood. After removing the deadwood the remaining live vein could be supported and bent into the position required. A Dremel power tool was used along with hand tools to remove the core of the branch leaving a thin sliver of wood supporting the live vein. Copper wire was placed inside along the length of the branch and held in place with cable ties. This was them covered with wet raffia and the branch bent over 120 degrees. This will now be left for a few months to enable the branch to recover from the stress. No wiring will be done at this stage.
Half Way Progression
Sabina junipers are slow and temperamental in the cold north of England and as such major work must be carried out in stages. The positioning of the main branches has taken place, in particular the lowest branch has responded well to the severe bend introduced at the base of the branch, the next stage will be to wire the fine branches and create a more defined silhouette, I do not feel at even in the final image there will be enough foliage to fully appreciate the image I wish to convey. The leaning aspect of the tree is something that is difficult to execute well, I want a visual ‘tension’ created by the tree, and this will be more noticeable once potted.
Three Quarter Progression
I am now refining the foliage pads to define the silhouette. Placing the fine branches so that light can get to the inner part of the branch. The very tips of the foliage are not wired as they are quite delicate.
2012 has been a very wet and low sun year in the UK so this juniper has stayed permanently in the greenhouse, this way I have managed to grow more foliage that if it had been outside, I could still have done with a lot more sun though. The lower branch that was created earlier in the year is setting well and it is quite healthy seaming to not have suffered from the dramatic work undertaken to bend it.
The slanting style of the tree has been created to make the best use of the available foliage, the movement of the tree and the final planting position in the pot.
I am happy with the way the tree has developed over the last six months and look forward to the foliage filling out, and more refinement of the deadwood and live vein.
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Final Outcome: 8
Interesting but diffuclt material, good technique,upper part of tree a bit too long, could be slightly more compact, good future of tree, will look better in smaller final pot.
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Final Outcome: 10
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Final Outcome: 7