Demonstration by Bob Shimon – Procumbens Juniper Nana

On October 27, 2022, at the Rohnert Park Community Center, Rohnert Park, California, Redwood Empire Bonsai Society (REBS) members were treated to a bonsai demonstration performed by former club president Bob Shimon, owner and operator of Mendocino Coast Bonsai, Point Arena, California

Juniperus procumbens ‘Nana’, commonly called Japanese garden juniper, is a dwarf plant, native to Japan. It grows by branches spreading parallel and above the ground. It is a great starter bonsai for anyone’s collection.

It tolerates hot and dry environments and poor soils. Intolerant of wet soil conditions. Used in gardens as a groundcover and can be pruned severely.

Procumbens Juniper Nana demo tree

The demo tree is approximately 25 to 30 years old in a nursery container. The tree shows great movement in the trunk. The trunk has little or no taper, which makes it suitable for Bujin (literati) styling. The foliage is heavy in the apex or upper region of the trunk.

Bob started out working on the demo tree by removing all dead branches and unhealthy and weak foliage. Next, he removed long and leggy branches. Branches too large for their respective locations on the trunk were removed or saved for jin (deadwood application).

He removed cross and bar branches and thinned out the foliage. This included straight down and up growth and unwanted crotches. He would prune coarse branches back to finer and actively growing branches

Bob later moved onto wiring primary and secondary branches. Senior member Ivan Lukrich joined in to assist with the wiring.

Evaluating the demo tree
Begin styling demo tree
Removing large unwanted branches
Wiring can be fun with Ivan Lukrich’s help
Removing foliage and branches at upper most region

Bujin or literati styled bonsai are abstract and considered an approach versus normal bonsai styling. Bob reduced the amount of foliage and branches at the upper region of the tree leaving a “less is more” sort of look. Junipers look great with jins and shari or deadwood features for the appearance of age, character and survival in harsh environmental conditions.

Bob recommended a round or nanban pot for the demo bonsai tree.

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