We bought a $5 juniper bush from Wal-Mart this morning and I put it in a fairly shallow pot.  I trimmed back the roots and spread them out.  I put some gravel at the bottom for drainage and set the tree in the pot.  Once it was in, I started looking, trying to find the form that was hidden in the bush.

I settled on a nice windswept design, with one long limb cascading over the side of the pot.  I wired it to hand low and to curve around as if it was exposed to a constant wind and had been bent backwards.  I trimmed all of the growth from the "leading edge" of that limb.  For the main trunk, I curved the top back gently and wired the greenery up there to hide behind the trunk, like someone's hair getting blown around.  There were about six good-sized limbs on the trunk.  One is the cascade feature.  I cut two off and will try to get new trees from the clippings.  The other three I bent backwards, again as though they were caught in the wind.  These were all wired so as to appear on the other side of the trunk from the cascade.  This creates a lop-sided triangle when viewed from the front.  Again, I cut all of the greenery from the leading edges of those branches and from the front of the main trunk.

Right now the poor thing looks like Charlie Brown's Christmas tree, but it's only been "in training" for about two hours now.  We'll see how it looks in a couple of years.  They say bonsai is about the journey right?

*sigh* I've never had much patience.

glasgif glasgif
36-40, M
4 Responses Mar 14, 2010

After a month the little tree has sort of grown into its shape. The greenery pads have thickened up and I even had to trim off several new growths that were growing contrary to the overall "plan." I can see that this is going to be a beautiful piece in just a short time. I don't have much experience with the art form, but I will go ahead and suggest the juniper as a starter tree for anyone wishing to experiment.

Thanks. I will do that.

If it's on a desk, you might want to get some plant food mix like Miracle Grow or some specially formulated for bonsais. These are trees and they need sunlight, so food supliment is a must. Just a little with the water. I'm not sure about the ongoing trimming, I haven't been doing this long enough to know. I'm reading lots of books, though.<br />
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Good luck with your next one! :)

I have always wanted a bonsai tree for my desk and the guys I worked with bought me one but I wasn't sure what to do with it once I got it. I hung a monkey from it but I didn't do the trimming that you did. I want another one though and this time I will play with it.