This Phoenician juniper became part of my collection in June this year, after a dear friend decided to part with it.
Not having a juniper of this variety and being a plant in an advanced state of cultivation I couldn’t resist the possibility of having it in my garden. In fact the plant is very interesting with abundant areas of dead wood and veins starting to swell. The natural movements and those created with the folds make it very interesting and dynamic.
Over the years an intense work has been done to contain the vegetation that can only be done with continuous pinching.
Here is the Phoenician before the works::
Front / back
Right side/Left side
After assessing the perfect state of health, it’s time to work on it. In this long work I will always have the precious help of Andrea, a very dear friend of mine.
The first thing we do is a careful cleaning of the bark and vegetation. It is thus highlighted the beautiful colour of juniper in addition to all the movements often hidden by a bark too thick. I do not deny that I was very fascinated by the old bark (on which some lichens were also born). Unlike a few years ago, I am increasingly fascinated by the bark as a direct testimony of the passing of time. Also in this case I was almost to leave it all, but then I have that cleaning was necessary to study, highlight and manage every little detail. While cleaning you can discover many details such as some lymph retreats or vein tubularizations otherwise hidden between the scales.
We also hev to select the vegetation. In addition to pruning dead or weak branches, we remove superfluous branches. In this way a more correct flow of air and light is obtained, thus creating the prerequisites, not only aesthetic, to achieve the best result.
The cleaning of nebari and the creation of new shari and Jin conclude the first phase of preparation. No matter how long and sometimes boring it is, it is necessary for practically every processing.
After the application of Jin liquid we move on to the longer part: wiring.
Not wanting to distort the position of each twig, we avoid putting a thick wire. Everything translates into the precise wiring of all the twigs. The wire used range from 0.8 mm. to 2 mm.2.
It is taken for granted that the primary and secondary branches have now reached their correct position, so they will not be wired. In case we would need to modify something we would definitely prefer small guy wires or a new wire.
When working in a pair it is important to manage the working areas and the work sequence so that we can wire the branches without hindering each other.
Everything runs smoothly, alternating moments of laughter and silence of concentration. I love this preparatory phase…. unlike many I find this phase very relaxing!!
What I definitely love, though, is the styling step. The calm before!….that precise moment when, right in front of the tree, you can give shape to ideas.
That moment when you tap into a perfect, deep inherent concentration, mental alertness and creativity. Not too different from chess opening. Terrific.
Although the tree has soft vegetation and a non-rigid posture, it has a distinctly masculine character. The foliage must therefore be compact and with narrow spacing between the branches.
The first thing to do is to position the first branch. Once this is done, we are halfway through the work! We climb upwards giving shape to every single pad up to the apex.
A long work that has taken us busy for over 20 hours.
The final result:
Right side/Left side
Some details of the trunk and the foliage: