Native Juniper Accents

yenling83

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I've seen our Native Junipers(CA, Sierra, Western, Rock Mountain, etc) displayed with several differnt accent plants. I don't plan on showing any of my native junipers for at least a few more years, but I have visited this nursery and often think that the accent plants I will use for my collected junipers would be from this nursery and on the list below. These are all CA natives that grow in the pinyon juniper woodlands.

Couple questions
1. Do you feel it's most fitting to have native plants that grown near our native junipers displayed as accent plants when showing native junipers?

2. From this list do you particularly like any plants for accents when showing a native juniper?

3. Should an accent plant always grow in the same plant community as the specific variety of natvie juniper? i.e. you only show a type of grass that grows near Sierra juniper with sierra juniper?


http://www.laspilitas.com/nature-of-california/communities/pinyon-juniper-woodland/plants
 

rockm

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Yes, native plants are always useful.

No, it's not necessary to use specific species native to juniper habitat. No one is really going to notice (or know) whether its an "appropriate plant habitat -wise" with a bonsai. It just has to look good, doesn't have to be environmentally correct. If you can pair up an appropriate native accent with a corresponding tree, that's terrific. If not, who will know (unless you're trying to impress a biologist)?

Use whatever works and isn't obtrusive to the tree-small, compact, etc.
 
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garywood

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Youngling :)
What's more important is that the accent, seasonally harmonize, when displayed and visually harmonize in color and texture. Like Mark said, the species aren't what's displayed, it's the story you're telling with the display. Accents in my opinion are best when the container is full and mature so I think you are on the right track by starting now.
Wood
 

Smoke

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There is as much artistry in the accent as there is in the primary plant (bonsai). The critical factor being what the display venue is. A crowded club exhibit is mainly for a veiwing public that get as much kick out of seeing a potted up pansy to exbiting in the National Toko Kazari display competition where the wrong accent can spell disaster.

As I said abov, the club scene is a no brainer as for the most part anything goes. Keeping it simple is always a bonus, but the public likes variety and it seems we are always eager to oblige.

The more professional display is a little different. I can offer my point of view based on displaying twice in the above venue as well as study with Larry and Nina Ragle, Hidecko Metaxis and Kathy Shaner.

The accent has much to do with helping set a few ideas for the display. It can be a seasonal marker or it can help convey where the display is taking place, (geographically). The importance of the accent is dependent on another emotional marker....the scroll.

If the scroll sets the season then the accent must help set a location. In the event a scroll is used a lot of attention must be paid to keeping redundency down to a minumum. If the scroll contains flowers or blooms then it may be more wise to look for a grass or non blooming sedum. If the scroll sets the season then the accent should also convey that season. In spring, a flowering accent may have a few buds and maybe one open flower. We are not looking for an accent with 12 flowers on it, since this would mean early summer. We want the accent to be subtle and allow us to see the buds and maybe one flower and imagining what the accent "may" look like in three weeks. To show it all so soon does not allow for imagination.

In fall the scroll may have migrating birds or a moon with clouds... in this case we may want an accent with brown dried grass dipicting fall and the end of the green for now.

In winter we may have narcissus bulbs breaking the surface or another winter blooming species.

In summer full lush grasses are appropriate or small clumps of bamboo or mondo grass. Rabbits foot fern makes a good summer plant for an area with water or a lowland diciduous tree display.

Keep in mind it is more important to match the plant to the geography than to match the plant to the area in which it came from. Meaning ferns that grow in Hawaii and no place else would still be good for dipicting that kind of area in California if it is the kind of plant that would grow there. Dipicting a high mountain semi arid desert scene with a rugged juniper and a fern from Hawaii would not work very well. But we might take that fern and the rugged juniper with a long waterfall scroll and depict that fall plunging into a canyon with ferns growing at it's base.

Sedums are very good for making accents since they can add a lot of texture to a display. Some bloom and some have good colors in the leaves. Keep in mind that while it may be tempting to mix several plants together to make a very interesting display of accent plants, this can ruin and muddy the display. The viewer needs to look at the display, gather the visual ques from scroll and accent and focus on the tree.

The club exhibitor will usually have a tree and accent. In this case there is much more freedom to play around the edges and experiment with the accent since there is no scroll to compete with it. Just make sure it is compact ( not a lot of trailing stuff over the pot) has some patina ( not potted up last night) and is subtle ( cut off some of those blooms!).

I will post some pictures of some that worked and some that didn't. (IMO)
 

Smoke

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In this display the tree is a liquid amber. The scroll reads "NICHI NICHI KORE KO JITSU", Every day is a good day".

I like the tree (very much) and I like the scroll. I do not like the accent and feel it would have been as good or better without it. In this case since we display in Kei Do asthetics ( the way of looking at things ), traditional Kei Do uses the two point display of tree and scroll to much benifit. Kobayashi, Sudo and Katayama are the masters of two point displays.

The flower in the scroll is an iris and so using a flowering plant would have been redundent so this person used some rushes. It is not needed since the scroll already prvides us with a mood and an accent. Go with simple when in doubt.
 

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Smoke

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In this scene we see a very mountainous juniper. Beside it is a crashing waterfall, the mountains are dipicted in the painting. Along side it are a container with "johnny jump ups". This flower is found in lowland meadows and is a modern plant hybridized with unnatural color combinations not seen in nature.

What was needed here was the rush or the rabbits foot fern. If a flower was necessary maybe a columbine would be more appropriate.

With the correct accent this display may have taken the big money. It placed fifth.
 

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Smoke

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This display had so much disorganization. The display was to depict this huge tree high in the Sierra's, maybe around tree line.

The scroll is a traditional "shrike". The rush the Shrike sits on grows around marshes. The bird sits and waits to ambush an insect for lunch. Then we have the rabbits foot fern, seemingly growing at treeline. Major disconnections that leaves the viewer looking all around.
 

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Smoke

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A gorgeous scene. Titled "Blue Moon". The scroll is awesome depicting that blue moon and the accent is tight and subtle. The only negative the judging commitee had on this one was that the densness of the foliage and the densness of the sedum accent were too much alike in texture and color.

It still won......
 

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Smoke

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In this scene it is easy to see we are around water. The cypress tree grows along the ocean shore, with marshes and inland lakes. The kingfisher on the reeds is surrounded by water lillies, waiing for a fish to surface for a quick snack. The accent is a flowering plant without flowers. Green and fresh to add texture and a visual que to complete the triangle. The accent was strpped of flowers since the scroll had so much color. It was not needed in the accent also as your eye skips right over it.. Again keeping it simple and subtle.
 

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Smoke

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Hey Al, wasn't that what I said? :D

Wood
Sure, but so much more can be said as this is a fairly complex issue. Again for a regular club show, who cares, but if wishing to display with the likes of Boon, Yenling will need much more to go on. Showing pictures is always fun too!



Very informative, Al. Thanks.
Thanks for the words.
 

garywood

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Just Playing Al, great job! To me this is what Forums should be about!
Wood
 

yenling83

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Al I really appreciate the detailed response, very informative and a good read. I'll come back to this one often. thanks
 

milehigh_7

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I love it when I leave the nut house for the day smarter! (that's not hard mind you) :D
 

mcpesq817

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Hi Al, great posts here, very informative. One of my favorite this year :D
 

Bonsai Nut

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The accent was strpped of flowers since the scroll had so much color... ...Again keeping it simple and subtle.
I think this is a really important point. So often a flowering accent is thought of only for the flowers. Flowers are really risky, in my opinion, because they are such a strong visual element. Too often I see flowers that are too strong, too bright, too large - and they overpower the accent. You should "style" your accent similar to how you style a tree. If you have a flowering plant, make sure you need the flowers, and ask yourself - how is many flowers better than one? I have seen some striking flowering accents with only a single small flower. The use of negative space makes the accent impactful without being overpowering.

Thanks for sharing these great examples!!
 

mholt

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Great critiques here, Smoke. Thanks for continually contributing your insite and not dropping off here in favor of facebook.
 

kakejiku

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In this scene it is easy to see we are around water. The cypress tree grows along the ocean shore, with marshes and inland lakes. The kingfisher on the reeds is surrounded by water lillies, waiing for a fish to surface for a quick snack. The accent is a flowering plant without flowers. Green and fresh to add texture and a visual que to complete the triangle. The accent was strpped of flowers since the scroll had so much color. It was not needed in the accent also as your eye skips right over it.. Again keeping it simple and subtle.
Although this display may be wonderful for various reasons as explained above, there is something very technically wrong with the way this scroll is hung...
 

yenling83

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Although this display may be wonderful for various reasons as explained above, there is something very technically wrong with the way this scroll is hung...
Please fill us in, I don't see anything, but I have untrained eyes
 
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