Common juniper, Juniperus communis.


The Common juniper, Juniperus communis, is one of only 3 conifer species native to the UK.  It makes a good bonsai subject.

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The Common juniper, Juniperus communis, is one of only 3 conifer species native to the UK.  It makes a good bonsai subject.

The species is one of the most widespread in the world and in the wild takes many forms from a creeping, prostrate shrub to a small tree a few metres tall. In a few locations in the UK. wonderful ” natural bonsai ” can be seen growing but it is a protected species and the areas that it can mostly be found are the likes of National Parks. It is known as a juniper with needle type foliage rather than the scale foliage of most other junipers we see in bonsai. It has long been cultivated for garden and horticultural use and as such many different varieties exist.

Many would argue that the species can be problematic, both to collect from the wild and to subsequently get established and there is some truth in that though one of our regulars was pretty much 100%successful with all the trees he collected, green fingers maybe. We have seen only a few really good Common juniper bonsai and I think all of them have been elsewhere in Europe, this specimen, however, is the one we like best hence the fact that until now it has been part of the Willowbog Bonsai Private Collection. It is only being sold now so as to allow us the concentrate on a smaller number of bonsai consisting mainly of trees that we collected ourselves locally. I know that this tree was collected in the north of Scotland maybe as long as 60 years ago, it probably passed through at least 2 other hands before we purchased it, originally to sell, indeed for a short while it was priced prior to it being added to the private collection. We have never known this bonsai to do anything other than thrive !! We have altered it only a little in basic shape but it has certainly developed masses of foliage in subsequent years. The bottom cascading branch used to be quite divorced from the rest but has been brought up and filled in. We have also worked on the shari and jins a bit although the deadwood is by and large natural. The deadwood has in the past been highlighted with lime sulphur and the decision to leave as it is now is personal, it might looked better if it showed up more. The trunk base, taper and movement is remarkable. The branching is as mature as you would expect it to be and it is conceded that maybe a bit of further pruning and refinement would benefit the whole image. You could guess the age at the time of collection to be anything you want and then add about 60 years of bonsai work on top.

The bonsai has a height of 60cm. with a branch spread of 94cm. The soil level root mass is 24cm. across and the trunk diam. about 10cm. The pot is a very beautiful John Pitt hand made unglazed rectangle that measures 47x38x14cm. This is a rare chance to own a specimen bonsai of a rare species with very little needed to make this very showable indeed.