It seems a consistent theme is me not updating my blog. Well, it’s been a long time between posts again so figured I should make an update…..

I’ve been fairly active doing various things within the garden and have recently been involved in a local bonsai gathering with some bonsai mates which has spurred my passion for bonsai along again.

During one of these catch up’s I brought along and worked on the tree features in this post. It has featured on the blog before (2012) as per the post below. That said, it has changed quite dramatically since then.

I was never entirely happy with the procumbens foliage on this tree. It could be made to look good but it grew quickly and needed a lot of up-keep to maintain at its best. So I decided to graft it with Itoigawa.

It turns out that this was a long process from which I’ve learnt a few things.

Probably the biggest take away was the size of the scions to use. I had originally used small pieces of scion foliage on the belief they would perspire less and therefore have a higher chance of success. This was the case and they were successful, but they took forever to build up enough strength to grow into something I could think about styling and or cutting the original foliage back to (think several years post graft success).

The next round of grafting I used much larger whips as scions. (probably in the 150-200mm long range.) I found that the extra foliage, almost immediately, built up strength and vigor and as a result could be utilised in much shorter time frames post grafting.

It took me a few years to learn these lessons so the ‘changing of clothes’ process took a lot longer than it might have otherwise. That said, I am now using these learnings on other trees and benefiting from the previous errors. You will see from the image below, I am growing out some whips on this tree to be used as grafts on other stock.

To cut a long story short, I finally got around to doing a structural styling on the new foliage on this tree and I am pretty happy with where it stands. It has a lot of growing to do to fill out and develop secondary and tertiary structure but its now on a good path.

The first styling

The questions remains though, is this a procumbens juniper (sonare) or an itoigawa?