Tar and Feathering? Changing a Famous Juniper…

Michael Hagedorn

No matter how assured you are, changing the design of a famous tree is done with a deep intake of breath. One takes precautions. Like boarding up windows and doors, in premonition of a rowdy gang of tree maniacs in green cloaks with picks and axes and rolls of wire for who knows what horrible use, in the street outside your house. And you imagine thinking, as you stand quietly looking out at growing chaos and red torch fire, with chants like ‘Let’s redesign HIM!’, that a bonsai-free life in Acapulco sounds nice. But at this point it’s too late. The deed is done. My only advantage is that few of you know where I live…

Many of you may remember this Foemina juniper from old photos of California bonsai shows, or even last year’s Bonsai Statements magazine. It has a thirty-year history as a bonsai, created in California by…

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Experiment Results: Foemina Juniper Maintained as Japanese Needle Juniper

Michael Hagedorn

Several years ago I began working with a client who had a Foemina Juniper, Juniperus chinensis ‘Foemina’, of some provenance. The bonsai was created by Shig Miya over 30 years ago from an air layer, and the tree’s only branch was grafted on—a true feat of plant engineering.

At the time we began on this tree, I had little experience with Foemina and its possibilities. From the foliage I sensed that it could be maintained like a Japanese Needle Juniper, Juniperus rigida—the rather infamous prickly, cactusy juniper that elicits dire curses when wiring it. The Foemina had long, vigorous, plentiful shoot growth in the spring, and that is a Needle Juniper characteristic. I’d also yelped a few times working on it. And with that as evidence, for the last six years I’ve maintained the tree as if it were a Japanese Needle Juniper.

The Foemina Juniper in Shig Miya’s…

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Coastal Redwoods

Bonsai Eejit

Having seen Sequoiadendron Giganteum I was keen to see the best of the Sequoia Sempervirens or Coastal Redwood. This meant taking a bit of a detour between Redding and Klamath Falls. We left Redding and headed west through some beautiful country in the Shasta-Trinity National Forest dropping down into Redwood National and State Parks. Stunning views along the way and even the roadworks at a landslide on the 199 didn’t bother us as we got to stop and see a stunning river gorge.

Our first stop proper was the Lady Bird Johnston Grove of Redwoods. A compact walk through old growth Redwoods with loads of character and a quiet spot with very few tourists about. We were able to stroll through and take it all in. Another one of those special moments on our trip.

We then moved on to Prairie Creek, home of the BIG Redwoods which were a…

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Boon’s Bonsai

Bonsai Eejit

After a busy few days of bonsai home and away, I’m only now getting back to the USA trip photos. Here’s the next chronological instalment…..

Next up after Yosemite was a drive back across California to the Bay area and San Francisco. On route one of our stops was in Hayward to see Boon and his amazing Nursery. As with most of my Bonsai stops on this trip, there was a busy nursery found on arrival. Boon’s was no different with a workshop in full flow and many trees being transported in and out for work. Boon made us very welcome even though he was busy with students and Paul, his apprentice, gave us a guided tour of the trees.

It was interesting to see the impact a more northerly location had on the species range in the nursery with much more variety than in LA.  A comprehensive watering system…

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Bonsai @ Lake Merritt

Bonsai Eejit

After two amazing days in San Francisco we moved on towards our next over night stop in Redding. On the way we stopped off in Oakland to see the Bonsai collection at Lake Merritt.

It was interesting to compare this to Huntington Gardens, Huntington was a more elegant location and inspiring in it’s own way but I think I actually preferred the bonsai here at Lake Merritt. I was told that local club members regularly take the trees home to work on them and I think this shows in the quality and condition. The watering system here also looked the part and I didn’t see any sign of suffering on any tree.

I had a few favourites, I’m a redwood convert and the ones a saw here were excellent with tight tight budding. I can only dream of getting mine that tight! Some amazing junipers of course and a fantastic…

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