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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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