Literati Style Penjing - Shimpaku

Hartinez

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One of my favorite books purchased last year was Zhao Qingquan‘s “Literati Style Penjing”. The forms created are so wonderfully elegant and has largely made up my bonsai tastes of late. Slender trunks with aged branching and live veins feel more appropriately natural for me here in northern New Mexico, where our pines, spruce and fir echo the images so closely. A few years ago i started buying these nursery Shimpaku juniper from a nursery in Santa Fe. They were all left to grow for years and had bean pole long and straight trunks mostly emanating from a single point. Ive decided with several of these I will air layer off individual trunks in favor of individual trees. This thread will document a tree that will have 3 trunks but will have 3 other trunks air layered off over time. This tree in particular spoke most to me in regards to the images in the book. I will share some of those as well.

Here is the tree from about 1 month ago.
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I wanted to utilize all of the trunks and sub trunks in the design, but decided that if the trunk did not originate from the base I would airlayer it off. Its a bit of a rule follow, but in this case i think its a good idea. 3 prominent trunks will be just fine.

Here is the tree after the initial bending of main trunks was applied over the last few days.
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I may still go in and wire down all of the branches now and if i do I will not remove any foliage. Ive had issues in the past with removing too much foliage on juniper this late in the season. But I’ve had my best success doing large bends in late summer early fall.

Here are the branches that will be air layered next spring.
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I will either air layer just bellow the split on this one to create a double trunk or will air layer both Sections off for 2 trees.
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Hartinez

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Here are the images that will inspire the trees created. These are all sargents juniper but have a very similar look to mine. If you dont own this book i personally highly recommend it.
 

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Hartinez

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I was just looking at the pics again. The wire on the far right trunk was too small to make a good bend so I kept applying more wire till i had movement. It also looks like I could have spaced my wire better in terms of angles. But I think its also because of all the wire i stacked up.
 

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Wired down all of the branches last night and removed almost no foliage. A little bit was plucked out here and there to make room for wire but that’s it. This tree will now rest till next early summer where I will begin the air layer process of the other trunks and will begin to remove/Jin some of the lowest branches I wired down. I want those to set so that when they are jinned they have the same angle as the rest of the branches. The image at the moment is a bit muddy but with each passing year the pads and branches will only become more refined.

i feel like I was able to get the trunks to communicate very well with each other but the two main trunks need a bit more work in terms of height. Thinking the middle trunk will eventually be the tallest as that ones trunk has the most girth. I see this one as a set of parents and there child with the smallest trunk creating the most distance. Almost like the kid creating its own independence, though the parents are clearly not far behind.
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Colorado

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Looks great Danny. I agree with you that it makes sense for the middle trunk to be the tallest. The apex on that middle trunk is starting to look prime already!
 

brownheron

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I know nothing about junipers but yours looks like a great start.

Mainly, I wanted to thank you for the book reference as I too am a big fan on the pending aesthetic.
 

Hartinez

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Looks great Danny. I agree with you that it makes sense for the middle trunk to be the tallest. The apex on that middle trunk is starting to look prime already!
This branch will become the new leader for that left trunk next spring. I just don’t want to cut off the existing apex foliage! 147CD5D0-15D5-4A03-8FD1-52AD0CC33139.jpeg
 

Hartinez

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I love that penjing book myself and own it. I like the direction you are taking this tree in.
Thanks! Yeah I think the tightness of the foliage will lend itself well to the style.
 

coachspinks

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Thanks for posting this! I have some smaller shimpakus that I have been growing and I lacked inspiration for one of the multi trunk ones. This is exactly what I needed to see! And that book is one of my favorites.
 

Shogun610

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I enjoy your Juniper work…… do you plan on reducing branches in the future once it recovers from the styling to get more of the literati appearance.
 

Hartinez

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I love where this tree is going!

However I think so many people misunderstand literati style. This is not literati... but a very intriguing multi-trunk informal upright (at least to me). I love the design!
Thanks Greg! Pretty excited also! Wasn’t necessarily calling it a literati. More just saying that I borrowed inspiration from the book “literati style penjing”. Now wether those images from the book are literati or not Is a whole other discussion.
 

Hartinez

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I enjoy your Juniper work…… do you plan on reducing branches in the future once it recovers from the styling to get more of the literati appearance.
Yes for sure. Quite a few branches actually. Just need them to set in the position they are in and bulk up a little before jinning. Some Shari of sorts is also in order. Also. I got your message. Will get to that later
 
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