In the small town of Miyakonojou in southern Kyushu lives one Mr. Fukunaga, a bonsai hobbyist. He’s been growing bonsai for several decades – mostly black pine, white pine, and Japanese maples with some other varieties here and there. Conifers filled his front yard.
Mr Fukunaga’s garden
Twin trunk white pine
Some of the trees were not small.
Hiding behind large white pines
In such a garden, I looked to the trunks and roots to tell the trees apart. As is common in many Japanese bonsai gardens, a number of the white pines had gone a while since their last repotting.
Roots pushing the tree out of the pot
The approach is popular as repotting infrequently helps keep white pine growth in check. I also learned a little bit about developing black pines. Lesson 1 – seedling cuttings produce roots that are the same size and shape.
Likely evidence of tree made by seedling cutting
Lesson 2 – growing pines in containers can keep surface roots under control – a big plus when fitting trees into small show pots
Container grown black pine with modest nebari
Growing pines in the ground can have the opposite effect.
Pine developed in the ground.
Whole lotta roots
As I walked through the front yard it became fairly easy to tell which trees were developed in the ground and which developed in pots.
Field grown pine
In Fukunaga’s backyard, I got to see some of the trees in development.
Most of the space was filled with younger white and black pines. Two greenhouses housed the deciduous varieties.
Young white pines – about 15 years old
Mr. Fukunaga had a blast talking about how he made these trees. Most of the black pines are now roughly 30 years old. They were entirely container grown in colanders.
It was fun to see the movement, and in some cases the bark, of these pines. Branch work was rudimentary as the focus to date has been on the trunks.
30 year old black pine
Look like a fun project?
More from Mr. Fukunaga’s backyard coming soon.
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