Rocky Mountain Juniper Progression

I bought this Rocky Mountain Juniper from Todd Schlafer a few weeks back. I picked it up while here in Chicago for the Midwest bonsai show.

These are the images that Todd sent me.

I was pretty excited to see the tree but did not realize just how big it was. Here is Todd carrying the tree to my car.

Here is the tree sitting in my hotel room just as I started to pull the fakey bark off.

Here are a couple random shots of my hand in front of the tree trying to demonstrate the expansive canopy followed by a shot up its skirt.

A shot of one of the bends.

A shot during the cleaning. Pulling bark and removing dead things and piddly crotch stuff.

When I was done with the cleaning to the best of my abilities in the time I had to prepare for the workshop.

Here it is in the hotel bathtub for watering. It does not fit in the bathroom or the tub.

More to follow sometime.


I love the fact you made the hotel room being your workshop :+1:t4::joy:
Nice purchase


Great tree! Hopefully the hotel management will not see these photos or they might instate a no-bonsai policy!


So you used Chicago municipal water to water that gem? Or did you buy bottled water from the wet bar?
:sweat_smile: Does it have a distinctive odor? Bet it will leave a little bit of the rockies in Illinois.
congrats on supporting a great collector and scoring an awesome tree!


Every year. Whatever hotel I am in. I usually ask housekeeping for a vacume so I can clean u the mess myself.


Thanks Bob. Todd is the man, plus he gives bro hugs. How can you not like a guy like that.
I had bottled water from the local shopping center.
Naoki was making sounds when looking at it. He loved the tree. Said it could be Kokufo worthy if done properly. Anyone want to come to Minnesota next year and do it properly? lol.


I don’t get to much accomplished during the workshop. But a plan has been made and a front has been chosen. Rebar will be installed when I get back home. Here are some photos from the workshop.

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just an idea, did Todd offer to work with you to design this monster? He has an amazing feel with collected trees. He will be travelling for a few more years probably, so an opportunity to have his input if you want it. I also heard about these guys, Ryan Neil and Michael Hagedorn. I hear they are pretty good too.

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You are absolutely right. I have one email out already waiting for some kind of response. When I first looked at the tree and saw how big it was and the quality of material I thought that I should get a professionals help with it.

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there is no hurry… the tree has been surviving for hundreds of years…we are a small effect in its future. Just keep it healthy and study it and the way it has grown up to now. Few have had the opportunity to spend time with such an survivor. :heart_eyes:

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For sure. Feed it and make sure it survives the winter. Get nice and healthy and go to town.

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Probably the end of the major work this year. Frost is to close. I might install the rebar and tie on the branches that need to be bent, but that’s it. I won’t make any big bends this year.


Hard to see the pads coming together. One thing I like with yamadori is that it always seems that the trees always have what you need. Once I started to lay out these pads they just layer themselves.

On another note Bjorn is going to be in Minnesota next fall to judge the state fair. I will be working with him to see if we can work out a time for him to help with this tree. Who knows, maybe I just need to secure the spots in the workshops with him or something. But either way it will be nice to have someone with that talent put “final” touches on the design.


It’s been awhile since I updated this.

April 2019

July 2019 showing off the growth extensions.

I wired on the tree throughout the end of July and August when I had free moments. I had most of the tree wired, but I wanted help with the apex and final direction. I took the tree to a Tyler Sherrod workshop in Septemper 2019.


Here is the final product of the tree after we were done of the tree.

I hope you enjoyed the update.


Thanks for the update. Tyler is a great dude. He puts on a wonderful workshop.

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Here is an updated photo. It was repotted this year in May. This photo was taken today. June 13th 2020.


Wow, what a beauty! It seems you’re being an excellent steward for this special tree. I (and, I’m sure, others) really appreciate you taking the time to make these updates!


It has come a long way in the year and a half that I have owned it. It will be fun to start creating some pads on it this year and to keep the development moving forward.

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As @joe_d said. Really great work on this tree!! It has been a pleasure to see it progress. I like that Todd, Tyler, Ryan----three great American bonsai pros have all had a hand in the development of this tree. That is special in it’s own right IMO. Keep up the good work and the updates.


Fantastic tree! I am very curious - who is the potter that supplied that monster of a pot?