Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Progressions: Rocky Mountain Juniper #4

This old RMJ was found in the back of Natures Way in Spring 2010, during Woodstock III.
The tree is perhaps 350 years old, and has very straight V-shaped twin trunks, so some thought was given to what styling possibilities could be turned into reality.
Peter Adams suggested the trunk on the right be removed. Different planting angles were also sketched.

The suggested trunk was removed, and some carving done to make the resulting jin look natural.
Still, the long almost-straight remaining trunk did not seem to express what the tree had to offer.

This year there was an infestation of Juniper Inchworms in my garden. These defoliated 3 of my RMJs, and killed a 4th. This RMJ lost maybe 40% of it's foliage.
Going over the tree in the studio I noticed an old borer entry hole which had been missed in 2010. Cleaning this out, the borer trail led past a back branch which had died, and up into the trunk which was removed! Luck was with us this time!

Here is the lower portion of the tree today...
As you can see, the lowest branch is quite a bit more sparse than in the original picture above.
I let my eyes and mind wander a bit, and the question emerged:

What if the lowest branch is grown out, and the remaining trunk is removed?

The lowest portion of the trunk has the live vein coming from underneath, and twisting up and around the large amount of deadwood. With several old jins and some sparse foliage, the power of this trunk would really speak to the struggle the tree has had.

A sketch was made to evaluate the idea:

Of course, the tree must be brought back to good health before any major work of this type is attempted. I think this might be possible in next several years.

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