Monday, May 12, 2014

"Bonsai Camp" Results

Knowing what I do now, in September I will take photos of D's bonsai before he goes to bonsai camp.  I just wasn't thinking this time.  At least I had the sense to take pictures today as it was too twilight-dim when he got home yesterday.  Since ME asked for bonsai pictures in her comment on yesterday's blog I really had to include them today (thanks, ME!).

Turns out the bonsai expert comes in from California and is a very nice man and good teacher.  D really liked his style of instruction and as a result is quite pleased he decided to go into this 4-year commitment.  I'm thrilled also as I think men rarely have an opportunity to develop this kind of social group (friend with people with similar interests) after college, and this is something D thoroughly enjoys as well.  Anyway, here are two of his trees:

This is a Shimpaku Juniper. 

I asked D which was the front of this tree, and he said he doesn't know yet.  I found that totally understandable as sometimes I have no idea where I'm going with a painting until I get there.  Another thing that delighted me was that as soon as he saw the photo he saw things he hadn't noticed before.  See how important that whole "take it out of context" thing can be?  Things look different in photos, in the mirror, or upside down, and that's a helpful difference.    D styled this tree and carved the shari  and jin himself.

This is a boxwood that D found a year or two ago and it has a very dense rounded top.  Until he went to his weekend with this specimen, its top was more dense and completely obscured the trunks.  The decision was basically to leave the developing tree alone after trimming a good deal of the greenery.  The trunks are so interesting, they have such good shape already with potential for even more interest as they age, that leaving best enough alone was the rule for this specimen.

This second photo lets you get a better view of what determined that decision.  Again, D saw something in the photo that he's going to have to look at more closely.  But look at the gnarly trunks and the wonderful colors and shadows.  Great, right?

Tomorrow there may be more photos; it depends on the weather.  One of the trees is quite large and we won't try to move it if it's raining.  So we'll have to wait and see.  I am determined to keep a record of D's work so they'll show up sometime.

*Creating deadwood on Bonsai, in the form of Jin or Shari, can enhance the tree's character significantly. A "Jin" is a bare-stripped part of branch and a "Shari" is a barkless part of trunk. In nature, deadwood is created when a tree is hit by lightning, exposed to sustained periods of drought or when branches snap due to ice stress, wind or weight of snow. The wood dies off and is bleached by intense sunlight.
This technique is almost exclusively used on evergreen trees, as creating Jin or Shari on deciduous trees often looks unrealistic (deadwood on a deciduous tree often rots away over time).


  1. Thanks for explaining the Jin and the Shari. I saw the naked part of the top tree and wondered what that was about. They are both beautiful - but I have to wonder, how did the bottom tree get so many branches (?) at the base of the tree. That is truly beautiful - actually, they both are! D sure does do great work!

  2. I particularly like the multiple trunks of the boxwood. Over time, will it look like a forest? I wondered about the substantial pot in which the boxwood sits. It's not until the closeup that you get a good view of all those trunks. Will the tree eventually go in a more diminutive pot?