One of the benefits of visiting bonsai nurseries in Japan – apart from seeing so many great trees – is getting a better sense of the person who maintains the nursery. Do they like conifers or deciduous trees, a large or small number of varieties, trees in development or well-refined bonsai? How long trees remain in their care may reveal whether they enjoy long-term projects or high rates of turnover in the garden.
Upon visiting Chiharu Imai’s garden in Kanagawa prefecture, it became immediately clear that Imai enjoys developing all kinds of material into high quality bonsai. The trees in his garden ranged from barely developed to wonderfully refined. For these last few posts from my recent visit to Japan, I’ll present some junipers, pines and deciduous bonsai from Imai’s garden in roughly descending order based on relative stages of development. First up, the junipers. And wow – what fun trees they are!
Procumbens juniper – looks like an established tree
Shimpaku – young branches, good silhouette
Shimpaku – good, young branches
Shimpaku – another well-established tree with less manicured branches
Shimpaku – wow!
Shimpaku – young branches create the right outline
Shimpaku – basic silhouette in place
Shimpaku – the silhouette reveals the ramification
Shimpaku – interesting single branch tree
Needle juniper – primary branching in place
Shimpaku – young branches
Shimpaku – basic outline
Shimpaku – rough outline
Shimpaku – very young branches
Shimpaku – what a fun project!
Shimpaku – more great fun
Shimpaku – fresh carving, branches just getting started – fun project!