The fall show for my bonsai club is coming up in a couple of weeks. Our fall show is open to any member who would like to bring trees to show, and it is not judged. It’s just a great opportunity to share bonsai with the public.
I know several of our most experienced members will have trees unavailable for the show because of another exhibition, so I really would like to show at least two bonsai. Looking over my trees though, I felt like there was only one in “showable” condition. Maybe I could get this San Jose Juniper (Juniperus chinensis ‘San Jose’) cleaned up and ready to show.
It’s a bit sloppy at the moment. Let’s see what I can do. First, I need to get the moss off the trunk. I want to get as much moss off the bark as possible without damaging the bark texture, so it’s careful tweezers work.
I’ve had a couple of branches held with guy wires for several months. New wire will go on today, so I am going to remove these first. If they are still needed, I can put them back on later.
Then it’s really all about wiring the branches so I can position them and clean up the shape of the tree. I’d like to do this while removing as little foliage as possible. The tree is doing well, but I don’t want it to lose any strength for this.
I wire the lowest branch first.
And gradually work my way up developing horizontal pads of foliage.
I find wiring and positioning the branches of the apex particularly difficult, but I was happy with the compact form I was able to achieve.
Since my goal is to show this, I also want to moss the surface of the soil. Not all in my club think this is important, but I like the way it looks.
For this Juniper, I went with a pale, bluish lichen and moss mix. I think it looks nice.
Ready for the money shot? First, here’s before…
If you’d like to see it in person, come out to the Northern Virginia Bonsai Society (NVBS) fall show at Meadowlark Botanical Gardens, September 16-17.