Hidden Beauty in a Juniper Tree

(or, old man on a tall ladder with a chain saw = bad idea)


We have a large,  ungainly Juniper tree in our front yard. I recently decided to shape it into a “Zen” artistic botanical masterpiece.





With a chainsaw and a few hand tools, I began chopping away. Here it is 2/3 of the way to completion.





The final product. At the top left was a large branch (blue circle) that I cut away to turn into a wood sculpture.





The branch is rough before debarking.





Once the bark is gone and the wood sanded, its real beauty emerges.




With more sanding and two coats of a clear stain, viola.


A local sheet metal shop provided a heavy, solid base. Who knew such beauty was hidden beneath this rugged exterior?

Hmmm, kind of like some people I know.



During this process, I started visiting Juniper Bonsai web pages. They showed how to use the tips of branches to start Bonsai trees. I am now growing my shoots and have wired them up to be little Bonsais. This will surely give me a reason to live for another 30 years!

14 thoughts on “Hidden Beauty in a Juniper Tree

  1. Mitch Temkin says:

    Nice work, Rick! After the presidential election result, I’m convinced that nature, and it’s deep appreciation, will be the only sanity I’ll find for at least four more years.

    • jim says:

      yes, and one other idea for the beginning would be to simply move the house a bit to let this sweet little juniper have some more space…….

      hey, rick, i would love to learn the ways of letting those trimmings become little bonsai trees……tips, or a website?

      • Rick Gilbert says:

        Hi Sue,

        Just go into Google. There are lots of sites that show you how to do this. I just clipped the ends of healthy branches,
        sraped the bark and applied this root growing goop and stuck them in the dirt. All five look healthy.
        Good luck with it.


  2. Fritz Brauner says:

    Initially I thought I was looking at “The Redwood City Chain Saw Massacre,” but it appears to have had a happy ending for both you and the juniper. You obviously weren’t debarking up the wrong tree.

  3. Dustyfeet says:

    Well actually, Ricky, although I rather enjoy looking at bonsai pines from time to time, I was rooting (sorry) for the juniper in its untrammeled form. I could hear it screaming from here.

    • Rick Gilbert says:

      Aw, you hippies just love everything in its natural form. Now that we have a fascist in the White House,
      these tress will have to perk up and look sharp.

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