Bonsai Tonight

Questions about conifers at REBS 29th annual show

Posted in Exhibits by Jonas Dupuich on September 4, 2012

Bonsai exhibits are a great opportunity to see different styles and varieties at their best. As such, my visits to exhibits tend to trigger a lot of questions. Finding answers isn’t always easy. Some questions are simple matters of horticulture that I have yet to learn. Others are matters of opinion – food for thought. Here’s a sampling of the questions that popped into mind as I visited REBS’ recent show.

Where can I get a tree like this? (I actually know the answer to this one – from Jim Gremel)

Atlas cedar

Blue atlas cedar

How long does it take to develop cedar branches from scratch?

Blue atlas cedar - about 25 years old

Blue atlas cedar – about 25 years old

How could rearranging foliage near the apex downplay the section of the trunk that moves to the left?

Blue atlas cedar - about 44 years old

Blue atlas cedar – about 44 years old

Do pygmy cypress require a lot of maintenance?

Mendocino cypress - in training since 1993

Mendocino cypress – in training since 1993

What is the ideal pot for this cypress?

Mendocino cypress - in training since 1992

Mendocino cypress – in training since 1992

What will it take for us to develop more nice white pine bonsai in California?

Japanese white pine

Japanese white pine

How can rearranging the foliage downplay the section of the trunk that points to the right?

Japanese black pine - about 60 years old

Japanese black pine – about 60 years old

How far should the first branch reach to the left?

Cork bark Japanese black pine - in training since 2000

Cork bark Japanese black pine – in training since 2000

What is the ideal front for this juniper

Procumbens juniper - in training since 2010

Procumbens juniper – in training since 2010

Procumbens juniper - in training since 2010

Procumbens juniper, side view – alternative front

How long does deadwood last on Coast redwood?

Coast redwood - in training about 31 years

Coast redwood – in training about 31 years

What is the ideal pot shape for a tall redwood?

Coast redwood - about 50 years old

Coast redwood – about 50 years old

Is reverse taper a problem when the deadwood is great?

Coast redwood

Coast redwood

Deadwood detail

Deadwood detail

How long before this demo tree appears in an exhibit?

Coast redwood - demo tree

Coast redwood – demo tree

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4 Responses

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  1. John DeMaegd said, on September 4, 2012 at 6:11 am

    All good questions, but what about answers? We can all think about questions but how do we know if we have the right answers?

  2. Jonas Dupuich said, on September 4, 2012 at 8:33 am

    Hi John, thanks for the note. My questions here are genuine! I’ve found, over the years, that I often don’t have the answers to questions about bonsai styling or care. This has led to some misguided experiments and delightful surprises. It’s also put me in touch with good teachers and new friends with whom I can start to fill in the gaps. Visiting bonsai exhibits tends to get me thinking because they provide great exposure to different styles and varieties.

  3. bob shimon said, on September 4, 2012 at 11:44 pm

    Well Jonas, the large Mendocino Pygmy Cypress is mine and doesn’t require any more maintenance than junipers. However, you do have to be patient in removing the native soil and transitioning them into a bonsai pot. It is about a 3 year process in removing some of the native soil each year and replacing it with a bonsai mix. I have several of these that I collected 20 years ago and have left some of the original soil around the base

  4. Alex V said, on September 5, 2012 at 2:33 pm

    I have seen two pots I loved on tall redwoods. One was rectangular, thin and long and shallow (1′ x 3′ x 2″ deep), and the other was oval and shallow. Something about the large shallow pots that really give the tall redwoods perspective, makes them seem to tower the way they do in nature. I like the pot above for a juniper or a pine, but it doesn’t make the tree seem tall the way a shallow pot would.


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