My friend Gerry paid me a visit the other day and he brought a few trees along to get some advice on how to take them forward. Gerry is a newcomer to bonsai and like all of us, when we start this journey he is struggling to visualize the future image within the material.
This is a prunus, kojo no mai that he purchased from a garden centre in the spring, he has removed some of the lower branches and potted it into a training pot as seen in the first picture.
I think, when we are new to the hobby, and we are assessing the future potential in a piece of raw material, we have an inherent desire to try and use as much of that material as possible in the final image. This usually results in skinny trees with leggy branches. Gerry’s tree has a nice twin trunk which should be the main feature of his future bonsai. To put over the concept of the relative proportion between trunk thickness and finished tree outline I showed him one that I started last year. This tree is about the same age as Gerry’s but I have gone for a more compact image than the one Gerry had in mind.
After some discussion we cut it back a little. Gerry will wire the branches into position and it will be planted in a smaller pot next year
He also brought along a couple of nice twisted junipers. As we are moving into the optimum period (IMHO) for re-potting these, I suggested that he should source some suitable pots and get them in without delay
It’s difficult to see in this picture but this little tree has amazing movement and taper and will make a terrific shohin in the future