My $6 Lowes Adventure

october

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Well, Pretty much most of my bonsai work this season is done. So I was left with nothing to work on.. So, I went out cruzing the the local nurseries, Lowes, Home Depots etc.....As usual, there was really nothing that could be considered good material..

However, at one of the Lowes. I came across a section of 1 gallon chinese junipers... Normally I just walk by these however, I figured I would just stop and look. I first picked up 1 tree and it looked like it may of had some potential. With this hope, I checked out all the rest. I found another one, probably betterthan the first one, so I bought it... It was about $6. I already planned on a cascade style for it.

After taking the tree home. I first picked the new angle for the tree, then the main cascading branch then the apex. Well, here are the pics... The pot it is in now is just a grow pot...I had it lying around and like it better than the look of terra cotta. I don't really care for the look of terra cotta pots anymore...Because you have all your nice bonsai on a wall then there is that ugly terra cotta pot in the middle of it all.

I almost abandoned this little project toward the end, because the tree wasn't cooperating..lol....However, after shortening the cascade, it seemed to bring the branch placement down the cascade branch into better balance. Also, I will probably wire the cascading branch to give it more flow. I probably should have done it first though.


Pic 1 is the tree after getting it home.

Pic 2 is the tree styled and still in the container. As you see, the new view/front of the tree was the over head view with a tilt.

Pic 3 and 4 are the tree in its grow pot. I had to chop off pretty much all the roots on the right side and around that area. I left quite a bit on the left. Right now, there is a mound and there is very little upright trunk from the soil. this being from the tree being turned on it's side. To correct this problem. The tree will be planted in a half crescent moon rock pot and mossed. This will elimate the visual problem.

I actually did this same kind of root work on a san jose juniper last year and the tree did beautifully. If this one lives, it lives, it will stay in this grow pot for 2 years, then spend the next 4-5 years being refined. I give this tree 60/40.. Only a 40% chance that it will survive the work done to it. However, this was purely for fun until I come across some superior material.

Pic 5 is a virt of it about 3-4 years from now in the crescent moon rock pot.

Rob
 

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TimD

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Another nice find Rob. I think ya need some Dragon feet on that one. =-)
 

Dav4

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Nice tree for 6 bucks, and nice first styling Rob. Hey, didn't I see some Japanese master do something similar with another juniper up at New England Bonsai Gardens a few weeks back?:D

Dave
 

TimD

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Hey now you mention it I do see a resemblence there Dave. Your missing the towel Rob.
 

october

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lol........ hold on now... Like I said in the post. I did this to another juniper last year and it did fine. In fact,,, Here are some pics of the one done one year ago... Actually when I saw Master Tsukada's demo a coupel of weeks ago, I was pretty happy. I thought that my idea wasn't as far fetched as I originally thought..

As proof........ I showed John the 3 year progression of this san Jose in pic at the workshop about 3 weeks ago...
 

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Nice work on that one.
How much of the root mass would you say you took off to get the new tree at that angle?
 
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Smoke

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I actually did this same kind of root work on a san jose juniper last year and the tree did beautifully. If this one lives, it lives, it will stay in this grow pot for 2 years, then spend the next 4-5 years being refined. I give this tree 60/40.. Only a 40% chance that it will survive the work done to it. However, this was purely for fun until I come across some superior material.

Pic 5 is a virt of it about 3-4 years from now in the crescent moon rock pot.

Rob
It will live and it will thank you for the wake up call. It will become energized and throw all sorts of buds. Only give it about two weeks and pour the organic fertilizer to it. Not chemical fert just organic, maybe 6-6-6. Don't let it relax or you will stall all the cutting back you did.

Don't worry about the roots they will correct themselves all on their own. Takes about two years.

As far as terra cotta pots, I love them and never find them obtrusive on my benches. It keeps me honest and knowing that a certain plant is in training. The last thing I need is to continue fooling myself its ready for a better pot as long as it's in a clay pot.;)

Nice work Rob.
 

cquinn

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I like your style man! Now go sell it for $60! That's what I did. I wired up some of these HD Junipers, trained them for only one year, and then sold them off to non-bonsai people for about $60 each. I made enough money to start buying better material that way. Let the art pay for itself in a way.
 

Bill S

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Nice job again Rob, I'm thinking like Al, it'll come along fine.

Al good little tip on the pots, keeps things in perspective, and obvious. Here are a couple I throw around - Put a wire at the front, to keep the front the front, and I use the wire as a reference for pot rotation, for good all around sun. Pick off those dead leaves and needles when you see them, this way if a bunch show up you know right away that something is going on, and you can try to head off bugs and disease early.

Like you said maybe a one in a hundred, but all you spent was some free time, and $6 bucks.

I read the towel write up yesterday, and it's the first thing I thought of when I saw the pics.
 

JasonG

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Because EVERY tree has a preferred front. Even Walters trees that are 360 trees have a front he prefers. Heck, even your trees when you put then in the church were set up with a front in mind. I doubt you threw them up there willy nilly.....

Jason
 
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Because EVERY tree has a preferred front. Even Walters trees that are 360 trees have a front he prefers. Heck, even your trees when you put then in the church were set up with a front in mind. I doubt you threw them up there willy nilly.....
These arguments were addressed in the articles linked to above, no sense in rehashing them again here.

However, since you brought up the church, we'll use that as a quick example....Not one single person observed the bonsai there from the precise angle bonsaists use for what I call the "photo front" they were seated to the right, to the left, lower, or higher than the mythical "front" or photo front that many call the front.

The preferred front you talk about is only seen in pictures and never in real life. People are taller, shorter`, they stand to the left, to the right, not many ever see the tree at the exact angle you call the preferred front, that's just the way it is.

We only fool ourselves thinking in this manner, bonsai is a three dimensional art form, they should be designed as such.



Will
 

JasonG

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These arguments were addressed in the articles linked to above, no sense in rehashing them again here.

However, since you brought up the church, we'll use that as a quick example....Not one single person observed the bonsai there from the precise angle bonsaists use for what I call the "photo front" they were seated to the right, to the left, lower, or higher than the mythical "front" or photo front that many call the front.

The preferred front you talk about is only seen in pictures and never in real life. People are taller, shorter`, they stand to the left, to the right, not many ever see the tree at the exact angle you call the preferred front, that's just the way it is.

We only fool ourselves thinking in this manner, bonsai is a three dimensional art form, they should be designed as such.



Will

Ok, the same can be said for every major bonsai show too....when you walk down an isle you are approaching the tree from the side then you get to the tree you turn and address the tree from the front. Most people that know about bonsai will know that you kinda need to bend down a bit to look at the tree on the level it was designed for. I agree bonsai is a 360 art, but there is always a true front....thats the way it has been forever and that is the way it will be forever.

Jason
 

Bill S

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I'm guilty of it myself(not for a while though) looking at a tree and doing some pruning, then realize that it was counter productive( Reads OOps). You could insert wiring /shape changes instead of pruning. Just that with trees in developement often there a few guides /reminders of where you/me/him/her are going with the tree.

I know look at the current tree and it should jump, but often grow boxes and terracotta pots get planted in just to get the roots in without a finished orientation, often with unhindered growth, it can throw you if your not paying attention.

Personally for me it's more of the rotate it reminder, and at that it's not a big deal because my tree area gets sun from about 240 degrees, and rotating isn't a big deal, unless it's cold season and the trees are inside, but thats a horse of a diferent color.

Just a small mostly unnoticable thing, just a post it note/string around the finger kind of thing.
 

cquinn

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I believe trees should be designed with a front in mind. Designing in 360 is great and should be done, but not to the extent that it comprises an excellent front bringing the whole image down to mediocre. There are some trees that just don't have the options to be perfect all the way around, but that really pop from a designed front. Trees that don't backbud like Chamacyparis Obtusa Nana for instance. You're stuck with what you have, so make the front excellent first.
 
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....thats the way it has been forever and that is the way it will be forever.
I disagree, the concept of the front started with the Tokonoma, the display area in a Japanese Tea Room, in which a single side was displayed. This display led to many "rules" of display that we are just now starting to break away from as bonsai enters a new era. However, even in the Tokonoma, the direct on view where just the back rim of the pot is visible, was rarely, if ever observed.

So just when did this mythical perfect front concept come from? Photographs. Good old two dimensional photographs, the exact same thing that nourishes this myth today. This "photo front" mentality has trained us to swat down at shows to view a tree from that angle. Why? unless you are taking a picture, this view is awkward and trees are seldom displayed at this perfect height, more so because bonsai are different heights. Even if displayed at the perfect height, two people, one tall, the other short, standing shoulder to shoulder, will never see it.

Japonism has dictated how we display bonsai, hence we use drop cloths behind the trees and back them up against it or we use tokonomas in settings far removed from the tea house. Yet, this method of dip lay has dictated how we design bonsai, all geared toward one single view.

Bonsai is sculpture and should be displayed as sculpture is or at the very least, designed as sculpture, in three dimensions. In the round, not in bas relief.

So, in answer to your comment quoted above, no bonsai have not always had a single front and no, it certainly will not be that way forever. Walter and a few others have displayed their bonsai in an Art gallery setting on pedestals where people could walk around them, enjoy the entirety of a tree. Bonsai displayed in such a fine art environment must be viable from all sides and all angles. The public will not and could care less about the artist's photo front. For example, google pictures of some of the great sculptures, like David. You will find many pictures from many differing angles and views.....all excellent. Sure you may have a preference, but it most likely will not be the same as mine, or theirs, but it really doesn't matter, show the art, let the viewers find it.



Will
 

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Because EVERY tree has a preferred front. Even Walters trees that are 360 trees have a front he prefers. Heck, even your trees when you put then in the church were set up with a front in mind. I doubt you threw them up there willy nilly.....

Jason
;)
Jason, you are so right. Even I have a good side that I try to show to the camera. It is hard to choose sometimes because I am a 360 degree art form myself :p. So if we have a "good side" why not bonsai?
;)
 

Mojosan

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Sure there's a "best side", but I do agree with the idea that a tree should be trained and styled with the intent of viewing from all angles. Don't we do this anyway? If not, I better throw away those Lazy susans....;)
 
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