Shimpaku, The Unexpected Surprise

Shimapku, The Unexpected Surprise


It was just another work day at Mr. Moriyama’s garden in early December and the weather was starting to get cold. Mr. Tanaka and I spent most of the first half installing thick plastic over the hoop house in the back of the yard. With us was Mr. Tohru Suzuki and his apprentice Mr. Takuya Suzuki of Daiju-en. After finishing the grunt work, we started to do some maintenance work on a couple of trees which consisted mainly of cleaning since we were only there for the morning. As I was working, I could hear Mr. Tanaka, Mr. Tohru Suzuki talking to Mr. Moriyama about something in Japanese. I picked up words here and there but didn’t much pay attention and kept my focus on the tree in front of me.

After we finished our work that morning, I wondered around the garden admiring many of the trees. Mr. Tohru Suzuki was looking around as well. I stopped to look at a large bushy Shimpaku that’s I’ve cleaned in the past a few times and Mr. Tohru Suzuki walks up to me and point at the tree. “You wire, okay?” he says to my surprise. I didn’t get my hopes up too quickly because I thought he was joking around with me since he’s done that many times in the past. I quickly said, “no problem, easy work!” Mr. Tohru Suzuki looks at me and laughs and said, “for Kokufu?.” I said, “yes, no problem,” playing along and laughing myself. He smiles and walks away looking at the other trees and my mind went to other things.

It was time to leave and I was packing up our tools when Mr. Tanaka calls me and says, “you and Takuya, take the Shimpaku and put it into the Daiju-en van. I guess Mr. Tohru Suzuki is really going to try to put the tree into Kokufu! Since we’re putting into his van, I figured that he was going to take care of the work. Takuya and I both carried the heavy tree into the van and I finished packing up the Aichien van.

During the drive home, I looked at Mr. Tanaka and told him about what Tohru Suzuki said jokingly to me about working the Shimpaku for Kokufu. Mr. Tanaka looked at me and said, “he wasn’t joking.” I looked at him surprisingly and said, “really???” Mr. Tanaka then said, “yes, that’s why they’re following us home with the tree.” I turned around and sure enough, the Daiju-en van was right behind us. All of a sudden, the events of that day didn’t seem so funny anymore and became more serious…

Once we got home, I was told to wire and style the tree for Gomangoku-ten and Kokfufu-ten. I spend the second half of the day studying the tree and started to clean the tree. In this post, I will be sharing the steps I took in styling this large Shimpaku from cleaning the trunk to repotting the tree into the show pot. After filtering through all the photos I took of the work, I cam up with 71 photos to share, so I hope you have a comfy chair because this post is going to be a long one. Technically I could have divided this article into three post but I figured it was the New Years and I’ll start it strong. Plus, who likes to see, “to be continued,” at the end of things anyways?

A Look At The Tree From All Sides


shimpaku-2Tree’s left


shimpaku-4Tree’s right

shimpaku-5Here’s also a close up of the foliage I’m working with. It’s the original large size foliage that is natural to the tree as oppose to being replaced with Kishu or Itoigawa foliage.

The Debate on Foliage Size

Currently in Japan, the popular foliage is Itoigawa. It grows fairly dense, fine and light green. In the past, Kishu was the favorite because of its dark green and very dense foliage characteristics. Normally large collected trees have larger sized foliage and are than grafted with Itoigawa or Kishu. The reason people don’t just collect Itoigawa or Kishu Junipers in the past is because they don’t naturally grow very big.

Depending on who you ask, their feelings can differ on the foliage they like. Some argue that the tightness and density of Itoigawa and Kishu is superior in quality to all others. Where as other will argue that it is unnatural and strange that such a large tree would have such small foliage and that in itself causes an imbalance in the style of the tree.

To each his own but I would caution that being completely one-sided about different topics could limit our overall understanding of Bonsai in general.

A Look At The Soul Of The Tree

shimpaku-6This tree has one fat bulging life line!

shimpaku-7As we follow the life line up to the middle of the trunk, we can see that it curves.

shimpaku-8Here’s the top portion of the live area. At the middle of the tree, the life is separated from the rest of the deadwood. Old scars told us that this separation was reduced by guy wiring the live portion as close as possible to the deadwood to make the tree look like one unit.

Cleaning The Trunk and Life Line

shimpaku-9The first thing I did was strip the bark off of the life line. I used a small scraper to carefully peel the bark away. I had to be careful not to accidentally dig into the live tissue.

shimpaku-10Here a close up of the tool I used and most of the bark removed. After I got as close as I could to the first layer of bark, I took a brass brush and lightly brushed the bark to expose the red colored layer.

shimpaku-12Though not completely clean yet, this photos gives you an idea of the red color I was after.

shimpaku-11After spending about half the day cleaning up the live areas, here’s what the tree looks like. Can’t really see much huh?

shimpaku-13Since the trunk was hidden by the branches, we looked for branches that we could remove to show off more of the trunk features. Here is a photo of the branches that is covering most of the trunk of the tree.

shimpaku-15Here’s a photo of that branch removed!

shimpaku-14As seen in this photo, we can already see that much more of the trunk is exposed. We decided to cut this small branch off of another branch to open things up a bit more.

shimpaku-16Here is the exposed trunk. Now we can see more of the movement of the life line and more of the old deadwood inside the tree.

shimpaku-17There is a huge difference between new and old deadwood. New deadwood always makes the tree look young whereas old deadwood makes the tree look old. It’s always a good idea to try to show the old areas of the tree.

shimpaku-18In the center of the trunk, there is an interesting deadwood feature that now can be seen.

Cleaning The Deadwood

shimpaku-19I took the tree outside and washed the deadwood with water. Once the deadwood was wet, I took a toothbrush and started scrubbing some of the algae that was growing on the trunk. I then washed the tree again and allowed it dry in the sun. Once dried, I got a hold of lime sulfur and mixed a 1-to-1 solution with water.

shimpaku-20Interesting thing about applying lime sulfur to the deadwood. Normally dry old wood will turn dark once the lime sulfur is applied. It’s just a sign that the wood is absorbing the solution. Once the applied area is dry, when I reapply the lime sulfur, the wood doesn’t turn dark anymore and stays white. This gives us an example of how the lime sulfur in the wood starts to repel the solution (as see at the tip of the brush) as opposed to absorbing it. The higher percentage of lime sulfur in the solution, the whiter the wood will get. I tend to tone down the lime sulfur so that the trunk shows a more wide variety of colors from light brown to white.

shimpaku-21Here’s the center of the tree after the lime sulfur solution dried. If you look closely you can see that there are areas that are white, and light brown. Please excuse the green areas. I went through those areas again with a wet toothbrush and replied the lime sulfur again to clean it more thoroughly and lighten it up.

Styling For Show

Styling a tree for a show can be very limiting. Most of the time, the tree is already in good shape and there isn’t a lot of big changes being made. Even if major changes would increase the quality of the tree, doing it right before the show is not an appropriate time due to the stresses involved. Much of the wiring work is purely for fine tune adjustments and we spend a good amount of time making sure the wires are not noticeable. Our goal at this time is to clean the tree up, create clean pads and repot the tree into a show pot.

After Two Days Of Wiring

shimpaku-27Here is what the tree looked like after my initial styling. I created some basic branches and set them knowing that there will be more adjustments in the coming days as Mr. Tanaka and I look at the styling more carefully. Though I was in charge of most of the work on the tree, it is still going to the Kokufu Show and Mr. Tanaka had to give me the thumbs up before I was finished. After having the tree sit for about a week in the workshop, Mr. Tanaka and I sat down together and talked about some of the things I needed to change.

shimpaku-29Tree’s left

shimpaku-30The back

shimpaku-31Tree’s right

shimpaku-28As Mr. Tanaka looked at the tree he gave me three suggestions to make the tree better. First thing he said was that the tree’s left felt very heavy compared the tree’s right. He also said that I needed to separate the pads on the top of the tree a bit more so that it doesn’t look so big. Lastly, he said that the tree’s right side apex has a bump and needs to be pulled in.

After the suggestions, I got right to work to make the changes.

shimpaku-32Here is the tree the following morning. I mainly made the tree’s right look bigger by fanning the pads out a little more. I tweaked the apex a bit to try to lessen the bulge on the right side. I separated areas of the apex to make it look smaller but doesn’t show very well in the photo. Almost there but let’s see how the tree looks in its show pot first.


One of the things that Mr. Tanaka wanted to try to change is the position of the tree in the pot. Not to the extent of angle changes but wanted to see the trunk more to the right of the pot. If you look at the above picture closely, you can see that the movement of the tree is to its left and the centerline of the trunk is offset to the left of the pot as well. This makes the tree look a bit unstable in the pot and affects the overall balance of tree to pot. If we could somehow move the center line of the trunk offset to the pots right, the balance would be better. But is this possible? From the picture, it looks like the deadwood just about touches the ends of the pot on both sides.

Mr. Tanaka said that depending on what the roots look like, he would like to remove some of the deadwood on the tree’s right to make space so that the trunk can be offset to the pots right. If there aren’t many roots underneath the deadwood we may be able to do it, but if there is a major root there, we will not be able to shift the tree over. Lets repot and see what we have!

shimpaku-40Mr. Tanaka and I tag teamed the repotting. Here’s a shot of him removing soil to separate the root ball from the pot.

shimpaku-41This is what we were worried about. So far, we can see that there are two very big roots next to the deadwood we want to shorten.

shimpaku-42We continued with the repotting by removing soil and roots from the bottom of the tree. Mr. Tanaka is working while I held the tree and take the occasional picture. πŸ˜‰

shimpaku-43Based on the looseness of the soil, we believed the tree was repotted about 3 years ago. Lots of roots! Here’s me with a pick working out some of the roots.

shimpaku-44As we dug down and removed more of the top soil, we found something hiding! It’s a piece of old rope attached to a very old nail. We’re not sure how old this rope is but it may have been used to tie the tree down or perhaps to move some roots around. Whatever the reason for it use, out it comes!

shimpaku-45Here’s the side that we wanted to shorten the deadwood. It looks there are some heavy roots on this side and moving the tree isn’t going to be possible. So now what?
shimpaku-46Mr. Tanaka looked at the tree for a bit and came up with a great idea. He suggested that we lower the soil line and expose this big twisty root and make it a feature instead of a fault. My hand marks how low we want to bring the soil line down. We’re looking at about 2 inches.

shimpaku-47Here’s where the soil line will be, looking at the front of the tree.

shimpaku-48Mr. Tanaka and I continued working and cleaning up the root ball and lowering the top soil. After closer examination, it turns out that these big roots are the main roots of the tree. Any attempt at cutting them will sever the entire root system. Here are some pictures to show how this big root is routed in the soil. 1- The main life line dives down under the deadwood and to the back.

shimpaku-492. Here’s the line coming out the back.

shimpaku-503- The line continues out

shimpaku-514- The root then dives down again

shimpaku-525- The root then curves up on top of itself

shimpaku-536- Continues back

shimpaku-547- Dives down again under itself

shimpaku-558- Once the line dives down it separates into these two smaller roots.

shimpaku-569- One root curves back and to the tree’s left.

shimpaku-5710- The other root goes down and too heads for the tree’s left. Wow, that was like a roller coaster ride! Mr. Tanaka looked at it and said that this big root is interesting looking and that showing would make the tree even more interesting.

shimpaku-58In the distant, the show pot awaits.

shimpaku-34We went to the customers house and picked up two pots that both look the same. The only difference is their sizes. The pot is quite old and a worthy container for this tree.

shimpaku-35A view from the top

shimpaku-36A view from the bottom

shimpaku-38Some nice patina adds to the overall age of the presentation.

shimpaku-37If you’re wondering, the maker is Shu-zan. One of the few Japanese makers that are considered of high enough quality to be paired with a tree in Kokufu-ten.

The Fitting

shimpaku-59We took a big piece of wood and placed it in the center of the pot. This way, we can set the tree inside the pot and simulate the soil level.

shimpaku-60Here’s the tree in the smaller pot

shimpaku-61Here’s the tree in the same but larger pot.

Look at both pictures carefully and think about which one you would choose. πŸ™‚

shimpaku-62While you’re thinking about the size you’d like to use, we started adding pumice to the size pot we decided to go with. πŸ˜‰ Nice even drainage layer.

shimpaku-63Next we added medium size soil. The soil we used is the Clay King pre mix (Red Label). It has akadama, pumice and some lava. The percentages are about 65-25-10 respectively.

shimpaku-64We then picked up the tree and placed it in the pot. Here Mr. Tanaka is tying the hold down wires.

shimpaku-68Once the tree was tied, I was tasked in adding and working in the rest of the soil. I made the soil surface slightly low and flat so that I had room to place the moss.

shimpaku-65Before I placed the moss, I first oiled the pot.

shimpaku-66After oiling, I took a clean rag and wiped off the excess to get a clean dull shine feel.

shimpaku-67Here’s the moss I’m going to be using. Collected from the streets and parking lots of Nagoya.

shimpaku-70Here’s a look at the now exposed roots.

shimpaku-69Here is the tree all finished up! Note that the exposed root on the tree’s right helped shift the centerline of the trunk more to the trees right and alleviated the off-balance of tree to pot. Did it completely balance it all out? No, but helped. Unless we started doing major root work, this was a far as we could shift the trunk at this time.

So which pot did we pick? Lets take another look.

shimpaku-60Smaller size

shimpaku-61Larger size

We decided to go with the smaller size pot. Mr. Tanaka’s reasoning was that the larger size was slightly too heavy for the tree and shifted to focus from the tree to the pot. With the smaller pot, the focus is shifted to the tree. Mr. Tanaka then said that if we had a size right in between, it would work better but the maker didn’t make that size and our options were these two. Better the pot be slightly too small then too big for the tree when showing. The focus is on the tree first. He did add that if the tree was going to stay in the pot long-term, the larger one would be the better for health reasons.

The Fruits Of Our Labor

shimpaku-71The tree was then exhibited in the 32nd annual Gomangoku show (Daiju-en show). Since I’m apart of that bonsai family we all wore suits and was able to get a nice picture of me with the tree. After the show, the tree will be kept indoors to protect it from the cold and soon entered into the 87th annual Kokufu-ten in February of 2013.

It was an incredible experience working on a tree like this and preparing it for show. This marks the first time I’ve styled a tree for Kokufu-ten. I learned lots in how to prepare the tree for a big show and only adds to my growing confidence in my work. There’s much more to know and the education will never end. I look forward to the future!


photo:-)After πŸ™‚

A Little History

About a month ago, I posted the before picture of this tree on Facebook and Marco Invernizzi contacted me and said he worked on this tree in the past as well! What a small world! Apparently he too wired it back in 1999 and it was shown at the 72nd annual Kokufu-ten show. Marco said that he wired it but credited Mr. Kimura with adjusting the pads and picking the final front of the tree. Amazing how connected we all are. I wonder who else in the future is going to work on this tree? Will another apprentice 10 years from now work on this tree and write a post about it as well?

shimpaku-39The tree has definitely grown since 1999!

Thanks for reading and to a great New Bonsai Year!

P.S. If you are actively reading this blog, I would appreciate it if you subscribe to it (right column of the blog). This is one of the best ways for me to know how many people are reading. Thanks!

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53 thoughts on “Shimpaku, The Unexpected Surprise

  1. jean vermaeren says:

    Hoi Peter, dank U voor het delen van zo veel mooi’s,

  2. Peter Tea says:

    Thanks everyone for the support and kind words. Just so you all know, the tree as since been accepted to Kokufu this year!

  3. Bill R says:

    Great job Peter and good luck at Kokufu-Ten. I do have a question about the exposed root. It appears you used something to shine it up or was this just water? Another question which seems a little silly, you mentioned that this tree will be kept indoors until Kokufu. So how are they watering the trees? Are they being transported outside each time?


    • Peter Tea says:

      Hi Bill,

      The exposed roots are shiny because they were wet when I took that photo. Once they dry, they look just like the life line on the trunk.

      When we keep the trees in doors, they are normally kept in the workshop which is a place that can handle water. We just water the trees inside the workshop. Most bonsai professionals with a nursery in Japan will have a workshop that is capable of keeping trees indoors in preparations for shows.

      Good questions Bill. Thanks!

  4. […] juniper from Peter Tea’s latest post, titled Shimpaku, The Unexpected Surprise. My apologies to Peter for cropping the bottom of the pot […]

  5. Nathan says:

    Excellent job as usual. Quick question? What do Japanese refer to this type of shimpaku? Is it just plain shimpaku? Also are you aware of whether or not this type is common or at all existent in the US?


    Peter congratulations greta work.
    Best regards

  7. Daniel Dolan says:


    Of the 38 comments above, praising you for your much deserved accomplishments, only 1 asks a question. I feel a bit out of place in that my comments are invariably questions…..I hope this is not inappropriate. As this was a very long post there are a few questions.

    1] The mass of foliage and the visual weight of the live vein are to the right and the left features greater open, negative space…………….what was it that made Mr. Tanaka feel the left side was “too heavy?”

    2] The live vein stripped of its bark and refined by your process of cleaning does provide a soft contrast to the foliage color and certainly presents a very elegant image. But as the perception of age as communicated by “Bark” seems so omnipresent in Japanese Bonsai…………what is it about this type of tree that commands you to remove the bark. [The delicacy of the foliage?]

    3] What accounts for the still vivid coloration of the foliage in December? Is this typical for all junipers in Japan or do trees planned for exhibition receive some special protection?

    4] There was only one photo of the tree about to be anchored by wire? As the roots you chose to elevate are now all visible … did you place these wires and did you insert plastic tubing or other means to protect these roots? [Threaded through the mass of existing roots below?]

    5] The previous container was oval, presumably selected because it was thought compatible or appropriate to view and enjoy this tree on a day to day basis. Putting aside for a moment the quality of the pot……..why was a rectangular container chosen?



    • Peter Tea says:

      Hi Daniel,

      Here are some answers to your questions.

      1. When I said Mr. Tanaka thought the left side was too heavy, I meant that the, “tree’s” left is too heavy which from our persecutive is actually the right side of the tree. I’ve been playing around with that and not really sure I should do that. Perhaps I will refer to things from our perspective instead of the trees perspective from now on.

      2. Bark is important in Bonsai. This Juniper had lots of it as well! There is a combination of reason why I stripped the bark off this juniper. (a) removing the bark does soften the line up and allows us to see all the subtle movements of the line. This helps in balancing with the foliage. (b) bark is not the only thing that shows age on junipers. On junipers, showing a live vein that is thick and bulging is a way of showing age. When the line is wide and flat, it tends to make the tree look much younger. With the bark on, the bulging of the line was not as evident.

      Also, I’ve seen junipers up in the Sierra mountains that have bark on the line and ones that are stripped of bark from the conditions. Shimpaku in general normally have their bark stripped to soften the line to go with the curve and twist of the tree. On the other hand, when we have a needle juniper, they can be 50/50 on keeping the bark on because of the ruggedness of the tree.

      3. The foliage is nice and green because we’ve been keeping the tree inside the workshop. It’s currently freezing every night now and if we left the tree outside, for sure the foliage would start to turn purple and brown. When professionals in Japan prepare trees for Kokufu, they will normally keep them indoors to maintain the color of the foliage.

      4. yes, only one photo about the hold down wires. There are actually four points that tied the root ball to the pot. In this case, we didn’t use tubing because we routed the wire outside of the large roots and through some deadwood under the soil line.

      5. The big oval pot was used for health reasons. The oval container is quite large so that more soil is in it and more roots can grow. Since the tree is at a customers house and they aren’t always on top of the watering or care so the professionals will sometimes put the trees in slightly larger pots to keep the tree happier. I believe an oval pot was picked because that was the biggest pot they had.

      For the show, a rectangular pot was chosen because it has a stronger and heavier feel without actually being that big. If we looked at the rectangular pot that we used and removed the window design, the pot would become lighter and affect the visual weight of tree to pot. In that case, the pot would have to be bigger to regain the weight it needs for such a big tree.

      There could have been a dozen different pots that could have worked for this tree. Sometimes its just a matter of not having all those options and going with the best that is available. The pot we used is a very good pot and is prized by the bonsai community. The owner of the tree especially likes the pot as well so sometimes that plays a part in why it was chosen.

      I hope I was able to answer your questions Daniel. Thanks again and take care!

  8. modernhomeperformance says:

    Great job Peter, and congrats!

  9. Rick Trumm says:

    Great job. Thank you for sharing.

    Good luck,

  10. Paul Wycoff, REBS says:

    Peter, it was a fabulous presentation, and an incredible job on the tree. It was definitely a great experience for you. REBS members are looking forward to your demonstration in Santa Rosa in October this year !!! Paul Wycoff

  11. Curt says:

    Excellent work and posting! One of the wonderful things about bonsai is that trees can outlive us and a number of people throughout the years can contribute to a tree’s greatness for all of us to enjoy. I’m looking forward to having you back in the states.

  12. Ray says:

    First, Happy New Year Peter. Totally amazing work. I’m so proud of you and how far you’ve come. Not too long ago, we shared a trip to Japan. We went to our first Kokufu-ten show and now a tree you’ve styled, will be entered in the next show coming up. Congrats…. Take care and see you in June…Ray

  13. Solita says:

    Thank you Peter,
    What a magnificent way to start a good bonsai year!
    Happy New 2013.

    Solita D.T. Rosade

  14. Barry says:

    Nice story; great tree. Well done, Peter.

  15. Sak says:

    We enjoyed Peter’s step by step process and photos. Quite the “unexpected surprise”, though we knew Peter’s work would result in a beautiful tree. Maybe it was him in his nice black suit? Thank you Peter.

  16. tmmason10 says:

    Congrats on styling the tree for kokufu! You’ve done it justice, I too like it better then the last time it was styled for the exhibition. Excellent and fun post.

  17. Dave Williams says:

    I like your styling of this tree better. It looks much fuller. Well done! By the way…nice suit, you clean nicely.

  18. GEORGE SHOPTAW says:

    Hi Peter,
    It was great to see the evolutionary change in the tree. You did a wonderful job in restyling it. Thanks for sharing.

  19. Beautiful work Peter – well done. Thanks for sharing!

  20. Good work Peter! I remember seeing your post on facebook about the tree; best of luck with it in the Kokufu

  21. londogbonsai says:

    Wow, what a great job. Your skills have improved by leaps and bounds over the last few years! That photo of you and the tree is worthy of framing and hanging in the wall. Good luck with Kokufu-ten! I hope the tree does well!


  22. snady789 says:


    What a fantastic opportunity for you! You are truly talented and I especially enjoy your developing story line with the before and after pictures. I am always amazed at the sheer size of these trees — you don’t truly get the full persective until you stand next the tree as to the sheer mass. Congratulations and thank you for allowing us to be part of your incredible journey.

    Great way to start the new year!

  23. El Tim says:

    Un trabajo excepcional y un articulo realmente buena. Enhorabuena por el resultado.
    Saludos desde EspaΓ±a.
    El Tim

  24. Penny Pawl says:

    This has been one of your best postings and I hope the tree gives you great honor at the show. Penny

  25. John Cavey says:

    Hi Peter

    Thanks for this, a very interesting & educational read.
    Want me to send over some warmth from Down Under?
    We are coming up to a week of around the high 30’s to 40 degrees.


    A member of the

  26. Ed Curlee says:

    Maybe Mr.Tanaka could come to America and he could be your apprentice. this very beautiful tree is definitely an example of what you have accomplished in the Land of the Rising Sun. Thanks very much for sharing this posting.

  27. Joey McCoy says:

    Beautiful work Peter! That’s an incredible tree, thank you for taking us along with you like this on the journey!

  28. Juan Andrade says:

    Congratulations Peter! I cracked up on the “really???” portion of the story πŸ™‚ Joking aside, I really like how you balanced all elements in the tree, compared to the 1999 version. The tree is more imposing now yet softer feeling… The Gomankoku pic with the white background shows the changes you made to the canopy better. Again, Awesome work !!

  29. Sandy Vee says:

    Wonderful work! Congratulations. Thanks for being so clear in you presentation on materials needed to do this work. Your writing is very understandable.

  30. Miriam says:

    Hello Peter, I’m a follower of your blog since a couple of months when I discovered it, and I think that it is very interesting all that you write here. Thank you for share your experience with all of us. Please go on with this fantastic project!!! Happy new year from Spain!!!

  31. yenling29 says:

    So incredible, amazing work!

  32. Alex V says:

    Great job with the tree, I like the way the foliage is now open to expose more of that great deadwood! The write ups are continuing to just get better and better, thanks for letting us all tag along with you!

  33. kathleenod says:

    Hi Bob,

    I was just reading the post when I got your email. How exciting for Peter to have an entry in the Kokofu!

  34. Dave Hodgetts says:

    Thnak you so much for sharing your learning experience with us. The tree looks great. Best wishes for the new year and with the upcoming shows.

  35. chuhin says:

    Great job, Peter

  36. Paul Parisi says:

    Love the tree. Being a newby I realy like your way of teaching. Not only do you tell how but also why, which makes the how understandable. Keep up the good work

  37. ron bereman says:

    Very nice work!!!!!!!!! Looking forward to June!!!!!!!!!! By the way Marco was at my house 2 years ago and helped me with some work. I sure like the tree you just did rather than the old picture of the same tree. Great work.


    Capt. Ron

  38. Todd Ellis says:

    Thank you so much for sharing this incredible journey; truly a remarkable tree and experience. Your description of the process is very much appreciated and you should be proud! Please write about how the tree did in the shows. Thank you,

  39. ron heinen says:

    fantastic transformation! You always deliver such complex information in an understandable manner. thanks. Looking forward to more.

  40. Donald says:

    Hello Peter,
    I said in the begining that you would have a tree that you worked on would be in a major show some day and the time has come. You have a natural talent that most of us envy. The tree looks great!, Good luck!

  41. Frank says:

    Peter —–Well now I will have to call you Mr. Tea ! Well done my friend !!—Great job you did and great article. Many Thanks !

  42. Jeff Lahr says:

    What a masterful undertaking. I thought that the older photo of the tree when Marco Invernizzi had worked on it was an interesting comparison to the tree today. The shape of the crown changed considerably. Was this only because of continued years of growth or the change in shape due to artistic considerations or even a more general trend in styling?

    Was there any point in the process that you were seriously worried about the possibility of messing up?

    Thanks for the post on a great tree. (I have a few similar trees waiting for your help when you return stateside.)

    • Peter Tea says:

      Hi Jeff,

      Thanks for commenting. The top is very much different since Marco worked on it. I’m not sure if there are some kind of vision for the top to be bigger than before so I can’t really answer that part of the question. I do believe that most of it is due to the tree just growing bigger through the years and maturing. Once it got to me, I saw what I had to work with and went from there.

      While I worked on the tree, I didn’t feel too stressed out. I knew I had to take extra care with this one so I took a little bit more time with it. I broke the tree down to individual sections and pieced it all together. Having said that, I am glad that it all worked out at the end and I didn’t mess it up! LOL

      Thanks Jeff!

  43. Peter
    Thank you so much for sharing your incredible journey. I can only imagine your joy in working on this amazing tree!

    All the best in 2013.

  44. Brian VF says:

    Fantastic! Congratulations on taking it to this point, and good luck on the next show!

  45. Richard Oakes says:

    Not only did you do a great job on styling the juniper but your written words and photos are most enlightening. Looking forword to more.

  46. David says:

    First of all happy New Year Peter and everyone who is reading! I hope we can read a lot of interesting stuff again this year.

    You did an incredible job with this juniper! Impressive work. The tree is totally different if you compare with the 1999 picture. Nice to see the evolution.
    I saw there are small white marks in the living vein after cleaning. Something i also have when i do cleaning. Something that also occurs in Japan πŸ™‚


    PS: How are your arakawa maples doing? I am very curious about those since i also have one since a week πŸ™‚

    • Peter Tea says:

      Hi David,

      Those white lines are hard to take off! Hahaha. Yep, we have them here too.

      The Arakawas are doing good. That reminds me that I need to get some photos of how much they’ve grown in the last year. Once I do that, I’ll be sure to get them on the blog. Thanks David!

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