The ‘wire’ tree

Jan Culek sketches options for a juniper

Although it seemed completely wired and styled, this juniper still looks like a wild bush. What it needs is a totally different approach to get it just right. Jan Culek explains.

For the possible future design of this juniper, I decided to tilt it to the right side. This new position improves the main trunk line and the position of the main branches. Optically, the base of the tree also gains a little more volume in this new position.
I would try completely removing the left portion of the foliage and turning it into a jin. The left big branch competes with the rest of the tree and for such a small tree there is too much foliage.
The trunk would be gradually improved with the creation of a shari as you will see in the sketch opposite.

There is an abundance of branches on the trunk to create the main structure of the tree. The biggest most significant branch would create a main branch that leans the design to the right. The counter balance branch on the left side should be closer to the trunk to avoid too wide a silhouette and rounded shape to the crown.

As the future pot, I have imagined an unglazed oval or rectangular container.


Juniper (Juniperus chinensis ‘horizontalis’)
Owner: Drew Warner (USA)
Origin: Kishu shimpaku grafted on to a San Jose juniper
Height: 51 cm 20,1 inch
Estimated age: 25 years

The tree seen from various sides. Using branch A as the main branch and making branch B into a feature jin
The design showing a fine shakan style. Using almost only the right side branches. Branch A cascades gently downward. Branch B has been made into an elegant jin

Another option

There is a second option for this tree that can be considered. This focuses more on its cultivation and is planted into a much bigger container. It could even be planted to grow freely in the field for several years to gain much more volume to the trunk and gradually make a new shari on the trunk. After this, the tree would offer far more design options and features and completely new possibilities for creative styling.

The final design in an oval unglazed pot
© Copyright Bonsai Europe Publications