I thought I’d post an update on the pines from seed I started this spring. I never got around to making seedling cuttings this year, though interestingly enough Jonas from Bonsai Tonight decided to forgo cuttings this year as well.
I didn’t have the greatest success rate with the Japanese black pines from seed, as only 7 germinated. The JRP sprouted pretty strongly at 17. There are roots growing through the drainholes which to me is a good sign. I think next spring I’ll try potting some up individually and leaving some as they are for a few years. Trying to make sure what is left has a higher chance of survival.
Well over on Bonsainut.com there was friendly competition for its members so I gave it a go. The basic premise was to buy a juniper smaller nursery stock, smaller than 2 gallon, from a non-bonsai nursery, for less than $30 and style it the best that we could do. I ended up at Home Depot where there was literally nothing to choose from, and took home a Procumbens juniper for $8.
Clearly, the tree was not much as it was but it was a good time to practice styling and wiring. The only way to approach this type of material is eliminate everything that cannot be included in the final design. Straight branches, downward or upward foliage, branches that turn in to the trunk line are examples of this. On this tree, there was a split close to the base that immediately had to be addressed. I decided quickly that the larger, non-tapering branch would become jin. This ended up taking away a good amount of foliage and let me focus on what was left.
I then jinned the branch.
After this, basic styling principals came into play. I tried to focus on making an informal upright, with pads forming the shape of a triangle. I also was trying to have the side branches offset to create some movement in the tree. After that, it was picking the apex and pinching the wayward foliage on the pads. The final result came out ok so I thought I’d write it down in the blog.
Clearly a lot of foliage was taken off the tree at once, and I think chances of survival are pretty thin. It was fun and good practice for only $8. Plus, the contest is being judged by Bill Valvanis of International Bonsai so it will be nice to get his criticism.
I did a little more pinching after the contest submission was over.
It’s customary to add moss to bonsai when they will be on display. I was trying to figure out where I could find some, and lo and behold, I found a batch on the side of our house.
I started applying, and finished, while holding my son in one arm while applying with the other. It certainly seems to be a craft in itself, but adding moss does add a grandeur to the tree that it didn’t have before. This tree is immature for showing, but being the club president I decided to take the initiative to show a tree this year in hopes to motivate other club members. I plan on removing the wire the night before the show, and only adding some back on if necessary.
Our newly formed bonsai club, Kaikou Bonsai Study Group, is hosting the annual fall members show that is usually put on at New England Bonsai. This is the first year that our club has taken charge to put the show together. In this spirit, I decided to try and show this ficus at the exhibition.
While the tree isn’t quite ready, and I don’t have the best display accessories, which display combination would look the best to you? I am leaning towards the second to last picture.