John’s Sabina


John's Sabina

This is a yamadori juniper that a client selected from a large selection of material at my nursery. He was looking for a nice piece of material that would give a good finished image but that he could also learn a lot from in the process.


This piece of material gave excellent scope for my client to learn about junipers from, and at a considerably lower price than he would have paid for a comparable piece of Japanese material.


As can be seen in these three images there is nice gentle movement in the trunk. Lots of natural deadwood (jin and shari) , and a tangled mass of branches with which to work. The tree had been collected several years and was well established. It had not been excessively fed. It had received only enough feed to maintain health rather than to encourage excessive growth.


Here the vibrant green of the healthy foliage can be seen. Many people in the UK have commented that Sabina Junipers do not back bud. Obviously my Sabinas have not read that same book and back bud readily. Slowly and gently is the best way to treat them and they respond well. I have had visiting artists here who have pruned them as if pruning a chinensis and they have gone into shock throwing out buds all over but producing immature foliage which is not desirable.


This is the tree after I have thinned out branches and foliage. I have only removed branches that were growing in places that were not good for the structure of the tree and if left would generate ugly growth. All grey coloured foliage which was growing in the shade of other denser foliage was also removed as this was already weak and would die after styling.


The tree seen from the reverse side. This shows the trees foliage/branch removal well and you can see where we have started to clean up the natural shari and other deadwood areas.


The finished first styling from raw material. The trunk has nice gentle movement with two spiralling live veins. Because of the 2D effect of a photo the crown looks a lot fuller than it actually is. In life the foliage is actually much lighter, but the photo does show how it will look in life as it develops. What it needs now is a nice Dan Barton or Gordon Duffet pot. But there is plenty of time for that. As I keep telling my students and clients, “Bonsai is a marathon, not a sprint”