A few weeks after this year’s BIB exhibit in January, I started thinking hard about what trees to display in 2010. Depending on the work a tree needs, twelve months is not always enough time to prepare it for exhibit. I’d been thinking about showing a large Sierra juniper or a large corkbark Japanese black pine, but as the months went by, I realized that neither tree is ready. Considering the effort required to show a tree I like to make the most of it whenever possible.
I can’t say the Western juniper below is ready either, but it’s closer. Only wired twice now, it’s been growing like gangbusters and will fill in nicely for its first exhibit. The big question, as is so often the case with trees this size, is whether the tree shows best in a two or three point display.
At 22″, one might consider it a large tree – the cutoff for medium trees usually falls between 16″ and 18″. But for bunjin style bonsai, one can push this guideline. We put this principle to test by setting up several two and three point displays. Here are the results.
This accent was too small for the tree
This accent was too large
This accent was appropriately sized, but the display still appears empty
The large grass and stand help fill the space.
Adding a second tree is better yet, though it makes us yearn for more appropriate stands – for both trees.
The same setup with a mondo grass accent was our favorite.
Setting up practice displays frequently makes me want to have an extra dozen stands on hand so I can get everything to look just right. As a result of this exercise I now realize that between now and January I have to find a show pot for the pine and stands for both trees. I also have to repot the juniper and refine its silhouette. Which is part of the fun. A single display entails a surprising number of variables – inattention to any one of them can detract from the whole. Fortunately I have six months and not six weeks – let alone six days! – to complete these tasks.
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