Hi Guys im back again with another progression article, this time its an old Japanese Black Pine Bonsai I found at Bonsai Sensation in Narre Warren, one I had been eyeing off for some time.
How I found it:
I took it back to the nursery and fertilised it quite hard for about 2 weeks before getting stuck into the restructure of the tree. While this tree did already have great structure, time had got in the way and it was slowly slipping out of good form. I knew that with some simple Japanese Black Pine techniques, and a decent wiring, this tree would be able to emerge as a fine specimen over a span of about 5 years.
Luckily I had the foresight to record some videos, albeit poor quality, they do show quite a bit about the process.
A 360° view video:
The first step in a project like this; one where a Japanese Black Pine Bonsai is decandled and styled all at the same time is to go through and cut off all of the spring growth. That is to go through and cut the long green growth emerging from last year's growth, one by one: both big and the tiny. I was not concerned about the homogeny of the second flush of growth that would emerge hence forth as I also did an entire needle pluck thereafter. Counting each bud end had only 5 pairs of needles (10 individual needles); this will ensure that the tree will treat each bud site with the same importance as the rest, and will put equal energy into each site, meaning with very little variation, all the buds will emerge at the same strength, vigour and size.
The wiring of this tree has some minor challenges however the whole process went quite smoothly and was able to obtain a great result even from an initial styling:
I needed to get all the main branches down as phototropism had encouraged them up towards the sun, and the apex had opened up, which needed to be folded down to form the crown.
Once everything was fine tuned the tree went into the photo booth for a crisper shot. Here you can see how the apex was formed, by bending an upward facing branch down and towards the front, where it buds are allowed to face up. This is a rather common technique for forming a crown on a black pine: the trick is to keep it looking 'natural'. Over time you'll see how the new growth masks the overall bone structure enough to create a convincing specimen. At this point the tree was looking rather rigid with hard lines and strict control, over time we will see this soften out.
Only two to three weeks later the second flush was pushing through and we had a glimpse of what was to come for the tree. The lines are softening but we still need some growth and soft mature foliage.
6 Months after purchase and this was the result of all that hard work:
That was the last opportunity to have this tree professionally photographed, and would thoroughly enjoy another chance to have a professional photograph it. This tree will require a few more years of refinement to be considered 'complete' and for the separate foliage pads to be recognisable from one another. But this photo shows an early indication of a great tree. I have on order a round pot by Zeingo Izumiya that includes a band around the bottom, 3 feet, and a flared lip, the pot is in the signature tan brown with darker streaks through it. I Really hope to get the pot before spring so I can do the repot during this winter.