This Juniper is actually one of the first bonsai I ever created. Originally a smallish garden centre Juniperus communis planted in a black pot, I created a windswept style bonsai by copying one from a book. It looked reasonable, even if the main trunk was onyl the size of a pencil. Then I had to move to Aberdeen. Knowing that I would be living in a flat, I planted by bonsai juniper in a spare part of my parent garden in Edinburgh. I then forgot about it for 6 years.

When I finally got a garden of my own in Hampshire, my father reminded me of the trees I had growing in their garden. On my next visit I wandered down to where I had planted the juniper. I was suprised and delighted to find a waist-high juniper bush with a diameter of about four feet. Investigating the trunk I found there was a large main trunk of about 1.5 to 2 inches in diameter and several well developed branches.

Drilling holes in the botton of a plastic washing-up bowl I dug out the juniper and planted it for the trip home. The rootball was still relatively compact and fitting it into its temporary home was easy. I didn't worry about removing the old soil until I got home. Once moved all the way down to Hampshire, I removed all the old garden soil from the roots and replanted into the same wahsing-up bowl with nothing but grit sand. I then left the tree to settle for 18 months before initial styling.

The following photos show the tree two years after initial styling when I repotted it into a proper bonsai pot.

Sand removed

March 2002. I have removed all the original grit sand to find good fine roots.

Bare-rooted tree

The whole tree only just fits onto the bench in my shed. Maybe I need a taller shed.


The tree was repotted into pure akadama. This was my first experiment with akadama and I have to say, that for mature trees it seems to have worked so far.

Intensive care

After potting, the tree spent a couple of months in my unheated greenhouse, out of direct sunlight. Plenty of misting was done to keep the foliage healthy while the roots re-established.

One year on.

January 2003 and almost a year later, the tree looks settled. There hasn't been any fast growth and the foliage seems to be settling into the mature phase with more scales and fewer spikes. Hooray.


Later that year. The tree has been kept in a sunny spot.


Using digital photo tools, I have managed to wipe most of the background off this shot from summer 2003 so the structure is more clear. There are still a few decisions to be made about some of the branches, but I'm pleased with the overall form.