It’s when I see good material that I most think about what lies ahead for a tree. This year’s REBS exhibit featured some pretty fine conifer bonsai. In time these trees will only get better. Recently collected material will develop refined branching while deciduous trees will continue to ramify and develop more fine branches.
For example, the collected Sierra juniper below has interesting deadwood that contrasts well with the lifelines. As the branch pads fill in and display greater age, there will be less contrast between the old deadwood and the vigorous young foliage. There are also a few different stylistic directions the tree could take. Currently a thin, compared with the deadwood, trunk rises directly above the base of the tree. A lower apex, maybe off to one side, would dramatically change the feeling of the tree. Using the current silhouette with or without revealing more of the deadwood rising to the left could also have a big effect on the overall presentation.
The juniper below has very unusual deadwood – the tree’s most unique feature. I expect the blocks of foliage will be used to create interesting balance that highlights this character.
We’ve seen the foliage on this coast redwood become much more dense over the last few years – testament to good care on the part of the tree’s owner. As a result, the lower foliage block has eclipsed the size of the upper block. I expect that the balance between the two may change over time, possibly by changing the point where the blocks intersect. There are several options for doing this – I’ll be curious to see what the tree’s owner comes up with.
I’m a big fan of the black pine below and it looks great this year. The branch pads are coming along quickly. As they continue to mature, they’ll become a fitting complement to the interesting bark.
I really like the balance of the San Jose juniper below. Further branch refinement will improve it. And it’s hard to believe how much of the foliage is mature – a rare find among San Jose junipers.
San Jose juniper
One of the best things about grafting Sierra junipers with shimpaku foliage is that the new foliage develops very quickly. That’s the case for the juniper below. The big opportunity here is to carefully select windows through the foliage to reveal a bit of the trunk and provide balance to the far reaching semi-cascade design.
There are many options for the collected juniper below. Currently most of the foliage is found at the tree’s periphery. This gives us a good view of the tree’s best features – it’s deadwood and movement. How then to integrate the foliage with these features? Where to situate future branch pads? I’ll leave this one to the imagination.
The redwood below has fascinating deadwood. Refined branches will make this a compelling tree.
I’ve included a couple of pics of the juniper below to better highlight the movement of the trunk. The movement is great – some well defined branch pads will make a good compliment.
As for the base of the trunk – does it make more sense to leave the dead portion above the soil to highlight the movement or to bury it halfway and make the base look stronger?
Thanks to everyone at REBS for making my visit to the event a pleasant one and for all of the work that makes such a large show possible.
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