needing advice on a Juniper raft

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needing advice on a Juniper raft

Post  Paul B (Scotland) on Tue May 18, 2010 10:33 pm

I was given this raft recently by a family member who has sadly neglected it over the the last 10 years or so.

I've looked at it from all angles for several hours over the last few weeks and just cant decide what to do. I took it to my last club meeting and most people who viewed it couldn't offer any help. The only exception was a suggestion by Iain Bailey to try for a slanting style group. He showed me how to twist the top of each trunk to get the foliage facing the correct way for the slanting effect.

I like the tall bare trunks, but feel they need to be wired into position. All trunks are very flexible and I have plenty of chunky wire for the job. The foliage at the top of each trunk is very healthy and vigorous.

Any ideas (except taking them all as cuttings and trying something else Smile ), virtuals or comments would be much appreciated. I'd really like to make something out of this as my uncle started the raft many years ago and he realises that it needs attention.

No mention of them looking like toilet brushes either.
Shocked










A couple of pics at soil level. The raft forms a kind of horseshoe shape, I hope to expose it more the next time I repot.




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Re: needing advice on a Juniper raft

Post  Pavel Slovák on Wed May 19, 2010 6:40 am

Hi Paul.

Maybe so? For the first time? (Sorry about the quality of the drawings, but the intent is probably to be seen) Embarassed Wink



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Re: needing advice on a Juniper raft

Post  Todd Ellis on Wed May 19, 2010 12:03 pm

Pavel Slovák wrote:Hi Paul.

Maybe so? For the first time? (Sorry about the quality of the drawings, but the intent is probably to be seen) Embarassed Wink



Pavel

My thoughts, too, lean towards Literati. If you have access to John Naka's (Vol. 1) and Kimura's works, you will see the great potential this tree has. Enjoy! Regards, Todd Smile

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juniper raft

Post  alex e on Wed May 19, 2010 12:52 pm

Hi Paul up there in "Sconnie Botland",Pavel has hit it on the heed with his
drawing ThumbsUp unfortunately two of the whips are very thin,personally
I would discard them which would leave you with what looks like four which
is a no no ,using Pavels sketch I would make a three tree literati, windswept combo Wink,
as it happens Ive just been given four individual such like trees and intend to have a play
at what I have described in the next day or three hope this helps.

"may yer lum iwaes reek!!!"lol! Alex e

NB, Would get some raffia & wire on those trunks & start contorting them Cool

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Re: needing advice on a Juniper raft

Post  Paul B (Scotland) on Sun May 23, 2010 12:08 am

Hi,

Pavel - Thanks for your drawing, it's very simiilar in design to one a club member suggested to me. Thanks again for taking the time to do a very inspirational drawing, I really appreciate it.. You're almost as good at styling trees as you are at drawing them..... Very Happy

Todd - Thanks, I have both the Naka books and read the section on raft plantings, very nice examples, but most are from stock that that has been well prepared. He had plenty of low foliage to work with. I just have to work with what I was given Smile Peter Adams book 'Successful Bonsai Shaping' has a beautiful example (top of page 86), but again he has the low foliage to work with. I dont have any of the Kimura books, but have seen some fine examples of his work online.

Alex - Rafia bought today and all trunks are now covered. Takes a bloody long time to cover each trunk, I thought about an hour tops to do all the trunks, four hours later jobs finally done. Hopefully get some time to do some wiring tomorrow. Gotta feeling that's going to take a few hours too Smile
Your're right about the 6 trunks, and I'm going to go with them all intitially, possibly reduce to 5 or even 3 as you've suggested. It's a possibility I looked at today.

Lang mae yoor lum reek too mate. Just had a bag of Haggis flavoured crisps - dont get them if you want a wee taste of hame, thay taste bugger all like haggis! Too make things worse they're made by the brand bringing out all the world cup country flavours - micky take or what Very Happy


I've never done this before, so any advice would be much appreciated. One thing I'm not sure of and cant find any info on is:

How many times can I manipulate a wired trunk without it causing damage or threat to it? Just wondering incase I have to alter things a few times.
Wire gauge size too? I have plenty of 4-6mm. The 4 largest trunks are slightly larger than pencil thick.

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Re: needing advice on a Juniper raft

Post  Rob Kempinski on Sun May 23, 2010 1:04 pm

I like Pavel's idea. There is nothing wrong with having the skinny trunks. Variety in trunk size is an important element in raft design. With wire they can be bent to look interesting and will get thicker with time.

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Re: needing advice on a Juniper raft

Post  Paul B (Scotland) on Tue May 25, 2010 11:56 pm

All trunks now wired. I decided to double up the wire on the 4 largest trunks. It took 4-5 hours in total.
I kept all 6, but already I'm pretty sure the smallest trunk will have to go.

I haven't removed any of the foliage. Can I start removing the obvious unwanted foliage just now or should I wait for a while?

Comments and any further advice would be much appreciated.




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Re: needing advice on a Juniper raft

Post  DreadyKGB on Wed May 26, 2010 7:44 pm

Paul,
I think its on its way and I agree that the smallest trunk may have to go later on. The thing I'm seeing is a disparity between the different bends in the trunks. Some seem to have severe sharp bends while iothers have slow graceful curves. Although you don't want them all to look exactly the same I think you should find some common thread between all the trunks. The smallest trunk needs adjustment for sure as it seems like too sharp a bend and crosses the another trunk. I think it has potential to be a very interesting clump though.

Todd

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Re: needing advice on a Juniper raft

Post  JimLewis on Wed May 26, 2010 10:00 pm

I wouldn't wait. That little trunk just adds confusion to the design. And 6 isn't a great number for a group.

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Re: needing advice on a Juniper raft

Post  Paul B (Scotland) on Thu May 27, 2010 9:52 pm

Jim and Todd, thanks for the comments.

I agree with both of you and after another couple of hours of moving the trunks and removing the 6th trunk, I've come up with the following





I still have to move trunk 2 (from the left in 1st photo) inwards slightly and trunk 3 outwards slightly. This will give me no crossing trunks from views from the front, back, left and right. The top of trunk 3 also needs to be wired and altered slightly. The whole thing looks really flat in these photos but there is some movement there. I'll take photos from the left and right once I get the two trunks sorted out.

I removed all straggly growth and will now let the tree rest for a while before thinning out the tops later in the summer.

Again, any comments or advice would be much appreciated.

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Re: needing advice on a Juniper raft

Post  DreadyKGB on Fri May 28, 2010 4:25 am

Paul,
I think this looks far better. The movement of the trunks is more uniform and seems cohesive. I think you should just pinch back the growth a bit through the season and allow them to fill out with growth before making a full decision on how the canopy should go. Overall I think it is much improved.

Todd

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Re: needing advice on a Juniper raft

Post  Pavel Slovák on Fri May 28, 2010 6:50 am

Hi Paul.
I did the slim trunk liked more. Enabled work space and more tuned in composition. I would remove it himself on the edge.

Pavel

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Re: needing advice on a Juniper raft

Post  fiona on Wed Jun 02, 2010 1:51 pm

In my new status as PR manager to That Lovely John Pitt (voluntary - it's in the small print! Apparently!), here is a picture of a raft John wanted to post in response to your query, Paul, but the system wouldn't let him. It was created by none other than Kimura, and John was struck by the similarity in that you both are taking fairly slim trunks to creat something whose beauty is in its simplicity.

Hey - if it's good enough for Kimura ....


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Re: needing advice on a Juniper raft

Post  Paul B (Scotland) on Wed Jun 02, 2010 9:46 pm

Hi Fiona,

That wee guy Kimura is always hanging about here, peeking over my fence and stealing all my good ideas. Laughing

Seriously though, thanks to you and John for posting the very inspirational photo. The first thing that hits me about it is the feeling you get that the trees are moving and growing in different directions. The scene in the photo you've posted doesn't look flat, you can see the depth in it. Mine looks like the 5 trunks are standing in a perfectly straight line, they're not, but I found it really difficult to get that sense of depth. Maybe once the foliage is thinned out and wired it might start heading in the right direction.

It amazes me just what image can be created from so little foliage, looking back at Pavel's drawing I count only 13 branches (live) and 5 apex'. 18 little tufts of foliage doesn't sound much, but it's all thats needed to create the image with the 5 trunks. Kimura's one (without counting them!) looks to be roughly in the same ratio of foliage to trunks. I count 8 trunks in his, but maybe one tree is a twin trunk? Either way, he's created an amazing image using the long slender trunks and limited foliage. Great stuff, I'll be chuffed if mine looks half as good.

I'll leave it to rest for a while and will take it to the club 'blether' in either July or August for some thinning out and wiring. Would be great if you could come along on either of the dates, check the website for the dates, both are on Sundays at the Scout Hall. Nudge,nudge - wink,wink !!

Thanks again to you and John for taking the time to discuss my tree.

Pavel - do you mean you would remove the smallest of the 5 trunks, leaving only 4?

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Re: needing advice on a Juniper raft

Post  fiona on Wed Jun 02, 2010 9:56 pm

Cheers Paul. Think I promised JunoJanice that I'd be at the July one - August clashes with my 2010 physical challenge.

Think I'll leave 'em all guessing on that one. Twisted Evil

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Re: needing advice on a Juniper raft

Post  Guest on Wed Jun 02, 2010 10:45 pm

fiona wrote:Cheers Paul. Think I promised JunoJanice that I'd be at the July one - August clashes with my 2010 physical challenge.

Think I'll leave 'em all guessing on that one. Twisted Evil

Let me guess.......Walk past the local cake shop WITHOUT ENTERING Rolling Eyes Sad Evil or Very Mad

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Re: needing advice on a Juniper raft

Post  Guest on Wed Jun 02, 2010 11:19 pm

Hello Paul. I don't think you should remove any more trunks. I think you might regret it so take your time, refine and see how it goes.

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Re: needing advice on a Juniper raft

Post  fiona on Wed Jun 02, 2010 11:51 pm

will baddeley wrote: Let me guess.......Walk past the local cake shop WITHOUT ENTERING Rolling Eyes Sad Evil or Very Mad
oooooh! You are soooooooo lucky I have a policy of never hitting a wummin in glasses!

And anyway. I can easily walk past a cake shop as cake is not atop my food wish list.

Now Thornton's - well that's entirely different!

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Re: needing advice on a Juniper raft

Post  Guest on Thu Jun 03, 2010 1:10 am

fiona wrote:

And anyway. I can easily walk past a cake shop as cake is not atop my food wish list.
!

Yeah....Whatever!!

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