Mountain Hemlock Yamadori Literati

grouper52

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I used to have a picture of this thing when I first got it, but I can't find it - just a straight stick, really, for sale at a roadside stand where folks were selling trees they brought down from the northern Cascades. I have no idea what appealed to me about it, but something did.

For a long time, I had no clue what I wanted to do with it, until a photo in an obscure Chinese book inspired me. My initial manipulation is seen in the first photo.

Many subsequent changes and refinements ensued over the next four years - I think there may be a somewhat recent photo of this guy in my gallery or someplace.

It now sits in its final pot (I used to know who made it, but no more) in close to its final form, and yet there is still much work to do over the next few seasons. The jins and foliage need refinement, but that is easy. The guy wires bending it into shape and levering it to stand upright have been erased in Photoshop, but that is where the two main challenges lie.

Mountain hemlocks are notorious for taking many years to hold a bend, and these bends were made under quite a bit of pressure initially, and still put the guy wires under quite a bit of tension. Rather than wait around for years, I may hollow out the heartwood at several spots with a die grinder this season.

The structural need for guy wires - run over the lip and anchored from the outside into the holes under the pot - to hold the trunk upright is required due to the fact that Mountain hemlocks put out rather feeble roots for the most part, and due to the fact that the few roots that this tree has run off of a "nebari" that consists solely of a round section of trunk that runs along the ground, as Mountain hemlocks are often want to do. The rest of the trunk is then slanted back at a right angle to that section of trunk, such that, without thick, structurally sturdy roots spreading throughout the pot to anchor the lower trunk, it is just easily prone to role over under the leverage of the trunk's backward-leaning weight unless it is guy-wired up. No amount of wiring to the pot in the usual manner makes any difference at all. :( These trees also don't easily put out roots from buried sections of trunk. :(:(

I may just set the pot on the ground or even bury it a bit, and let the tree grow wild for a few years, so the roots will thicken as they grow down into the soil. That may provide a structurally sound base of roots that will support the tree's weight. We'll see.

That's a Ying rock, BTW, in case anyone wants to know but doesn't. If you can't get into the whole mudmen thing under any circumstances, my condolences to you, but I really don't care to hear about it. :cool:
 

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Yamadori

Shohin
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Will, I think the composition is great, mudman and all. The grinding makes sense to acomplish the bends. You have such experienced die grinder folks to work with.

When you talk about burying the pot to thicken the roots do you mean to let them grow wild out of the drain holes?

I think a convention workshop focused on radical and difficult bends and splitting techniques would be interesting.
 

HotAction

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I agree, very pleasing image. As far a s securing it to the pot, I know there is some method of using blocks of wood. I've never done it, but recall reading about it in an aarticle somewhere. Perhaps someone could provide more details.

Dave
 

Attila Soos

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The image is great, I love it.
Very creative transformation of a puzzling material. I guess those "obscure Chinese books" are working their magic on you. It's amazing how endlessly creative they are - those penjing folks - they can make an interesting composition of almost ANYTHING. It is a joy to see how far away they are from the Kokufu-ten stereotipe (if there is such a thing), and yet so much fun and accessible to everyone.
The result of what you've created is very captivating and fresh, free of any kind of pretension. And this is the main reason why I feel that bonsai is worth pursuing. May be this is the reason why humans started creating bonsai, in the first place.
 

Attila Soos

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....one small suggestion. There is a tiny detail that tend to work in the detriment of all your work, and that is your choice of top dressing. The white grains in the planting medium (they look like pumice) are not helping the image at all, they are distracting. It would be little trouble to scrape them off and replace with something less conspicuous.
 

grouper52

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Thanks, all.

Attila, you are right about the white pumice - the plants seem to love it in this climate, but I often end up removing it from the surface after it bugs me long enough. :mad:

You're also right about the lighthearted, creative approach of the Chinese style. It was my first love in this field, and still endures as my favorite. :)
 

grouper52

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When you talk about burying the pot to thicken the roots do you mean to let them grow wild out of the drain holes?

Yes, exactly. I could do it the usual way over a tile, but it's already anchored in the pot at the right angle, and some good soil beneath would easily tempt the roots down in. If I then just let the top grow wild as well, I think it might be done in 3-5 years or so. This is a very solid, sturdy pot and should suffer no harm. At the same time I may also try, again, to induce some roots along the buried trunk with a stronger grade of Rootone. :D


I think a convention workshop focused on radical and difficult bends and splitting techniques would be interesting.

You can get a boatload full when you come up here for our convention - even without a workshop, just go hang out at Elandan with Dan and watch him work, and ask him to let you try it!

Will
 

october

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Hello grouper52.........This is a nice composition...and the chinese influence in the compostion is more than just an influence...... This is a penjing, a nice one too, not a bonsai... The mudman absolutely belongs there since it is a penjing. Once again,, I think this solidifies the line of thinking that I have subscribed to for years.......That being that each tree deserves to be the best that it can be...whether it be traditional, untraditional, penjing etc.... I believe that this "penjing" is the best direction for this tree.

Rob
 

grouper52

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Hello grouper52.........This is a nice composition...and the chinese influence in the compostion is more than just an influence...... This is a penjing, a nice one too, not a bonsai... The mudman absolutely belongs there since it is a penjing. Once again,, I think this solidifies the line of thinking that I have subscribed to for years.......That being that each tree deserves to be the best that it can be...whether it be traditional, untraditional, penjing etc.... I believe that this "penjing" is the best direction for this tree.

Rob

Well put, Rob. I completely agree. Thanks. :)

Will
 

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