I’ll be showing a medium sized Western juniper and Japanese maple at this weekend’s Bay Island Bonsai exhibit – that much is clear. What I’m still working on is how they’ll be arranged and which stands work best.
Here are the two trees – the maple on a hexagonal stand, and the juniper is on a round stand.
Display with Japanese maple and Western juniper
I usually try to create as much variety as possible when setting a display. One tree is a conifer and the other is deciduous. One has a deep glazed pot, the other a shallow unglazed pot. Both pots are round.
I’d prefer if the pots were different shapes, but these were the best pots I had for these trees.
Accent plants offer additional opportunity for contrast – I’ll try to find a broadleaf variety, possibly like the saxifrage planting below.
Display with saxifrage accent plant
I’ve paired the accent with the larger tree in the photo above. It’s a bit large when placed next to the maple.
Large accent next to the maple
If I decide to complement the maple, I’d likely go with something smaller.
Small accent next to the maple
A small figurine might work instead of an accent in this case.
Small boat accent
Close-up of the boat
Just as a large accent doesn’t make sense next to the smaller tree, a small accent doesn’t make sense next to the larger tree.
Small accent next to the larger tree
As an alternative to the round stand for the juniper, I tried a large slab.
Juniper on a slab
Here it is with the saxifrage planting.
Juniper on slab with accent plant
And here are the same stands with the accent next to the maple.
Juniper on slab and accent next to the maple
The last options I tried used a slab to connect the maple with the small accent.
Maple and accent on a manzanita slab
Maple and accent on a quince slab
I like that slabs under the maple add more visual weight to the left side of the composition. The manzanita slab in particular does a good job of this.
Which will it be? That’s a matter for tomorrow. One of my favorite parts of participating in Bay Island Bonsai exhibits is the collaboration between members to share stands and accents to create the best display possible given the materials on hand.
If you’re curious to see the final display, come to Oakland this weekend to see the trees in person (details below).
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