Root-Over-Ruin

Discussion in 'Root-over-rock , rock planting' started by pjkatich, Jan 17, 2009.

  1. pjkatich

    pjkatich Chumono

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    Thought I would share one of my on going projects with the kind folks here at B-nut.

    In October of 2005 my wife and I took a trip to Argentina. One of our stops was in the northeast part of the country along the Argentine-Brasil border in the state of Misiones. Weather wise, Misiones is classified as sub-tropical and contains large tracts of mountainous rain forest. It was in this region that the Jesuits built a string of missions during the 16th century.

    These mission sites were eventually abandoned by the Jesuits and the building were slowly claimed by the forests. We visited a number of these sites while we were in the area, but the one called Jesuitica de Santa Ana stood out the most.

    Below are several photos of this location. It is amazing what mother nature can do when left to her own.

    Seeing these ruins in person and getting up close with them provided me with the needed insiration to undertake this project . I immediately began hatching a plan for what I am calling the Root-over-ruin style. It is a style that occurs naturally in areas like Misiones and Southeast Asia.

    I would be interested in hearing what the rest of you think about this. Definately not you run of the mile bonsai project.
     

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  3. pjkatich

    pjkatich Chumono

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    After returning home, I began to put my plan into action.

    In early 2006, I began by sprouting a hand full of Acer rubrum seeds. I have had good luck with growing Acer rubrum over rocks so I decided to use them for my initial testing.

    While the seedlings were developing I went to work on making the "ruins" that they would be planted over. I made a half dozen different types of mini-ruins using high fired stoneware clay. Below are a couple of "ruin" photos.
     

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  4. pjkatich

    pjkatich Chumono

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    In early 2007, the first two Acer seedlings were planted over the mini-ruins and left alone to grow unchecked for the rest of the year.

    In early 2008, I removed the initial test subjects from their pots to evaluate the progress.

    Below are a series of photos from the first repotting on test subject number one.

    63 shows the test subject after one seasons growth.
    65 shows the tree removed from the pot and the soil washed off prior to removing the bindings.
    69 shows the front view after removing the bindings and pruning the roots.
    70 shows the back of the ruin after the initial root pruning.
     

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  5. pjkatich

    pjkatich Chumono

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    Here are a few more photos of the first repotting.

    71 shows how well the roots have grasped the ruin after only one growing season.
    79 shows is how the roots are already beginning to spread across the top of the ruin.
    81 shows the tree after the root pruning was completed and the roots arranged and bound again.
    89 shows the tree planted back into the nursery pot. This time at a slightly higher level to encourage the upper parts of the roots to harded off.

    (see next post for photos)

    At this point, the tree was left alone for another year of uninterrupted growth to encourage the roots to spread over the ruin and to fatten up the trunk.

    More to come.

    Please feel free to comment.

    Regards,
    Paul
     
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2009
  6. king kong

    king kong Banned

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    356
    Patience accomplishes its object while hurry speeds to its ruin. Works for me. "Whatever is produced in haste goes easily to waste"
    Here is a shrine to copy and add maple to. I love the formal trees in the background. I can see a nice semicascade maple sweeping down off the dome.
     

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    Last edited: Jan 17, 2009
  7. pjkatich

    pjkatich Chumono

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    Sorry, Didn't realize that the photos weren't attached. These are the four photos that went with my previous post.

    That's what I get for being in a hurry.
     

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  8. pjkatich

    pjkatich Chumono

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    Kong,

    Thanks for the suggestion, I'll keep that in mind as I move forward with this project.

    Below are a few photos from the current (2nd) repotting.

    13 shows the tree after the initial pruning and removed from the pot.
    14a shows a front view of the nebari.
    15 shows a rear view.
    16 shows the root spread over the top of the ruin.
    18 show the tree back in the pot after the final pruning.

    At this point, I have raised the tree up higher in the pot to encourage the roots to harded off and will now work on developing the canopy of the tree.

    Suggestions and comments are welcome.

    Regards,
    Paul
     

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  9. king kong

    king kong Banned

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    356
    Nice and neat. Root ball is matching up perfectly with wall surfaces. Brain is spinning. I always liked the facade of The Alamo and the stories told. I am going to try and build that structure and put a nerifolia on the top. Keep up the good work!
     

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    Last edited: Jan 18, 2009
  10. Vance Wood

    Vance Wood Lord Mugo

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    I think your project is great, a bit nontraditional but great never-the-less. The next time you try something like this you ought to consider a Ficus Retusa or a Trident Maple. Their roots have a tendency, using this technique, to look like they have melted over the object they are planted upon.
     
  11. pjkatich

    pjkatich Chumono

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    Kong,

    That's a great idea, I'll post a picture when I get mine done.

    Vance,

    Thanks for the positive feedback.

    Unfortunately, I don't grow tropicals so the ficus is a long shot. However, you are in luck with the trident maple. I just planted my first trident-over-ruin subjects last week. If you are interested I would be happy to post pictures as their progress.

    Regards
    Paul
     
  12. Vance Wood

    Vance Wood Lord Mugo

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    Michigan
    Waiting to see it happen. I have seen the results from different sources with the Trident and I think you will be pleased.
     
  13. pjkatich

    pjkatich Chumono

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    Vance,

    I have worked with root-over-rock trident maples before. Unfortunately, for one reason or another they were all failures. Unfortunately, north Florida does not offer the best environment for growing tridents. A few of the failures were definately operator malfunction, but the majority of them were unexplained, sudden death syndrome type experiences. I'm sure you know what I mean, one day the tree is healthy and alive two days latter it's kindling.

    Those particular experiments were over ten years ago. Since then, I have learned a little more about cultivating tridents in my little corner of the world and have decided to give them another chance.

    Once again, thanks for the feedback.

    Regards,
    Paul
     
  14. Graydon

    Graydon Chumono

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    717
    Kudos, great job. I have had the desire to do something similar but doubt I will ever do it. My inspiration came from some of Nick Lenz work. Root over tank is my favorite and the cathedral ruin is also a very moving piece. Juniper on antelope scull rocks.

    Keep it up and please keep us posted!
     
  15. Bill S

    Bill S Masterpiece

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    Location:
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    I have seen several types of this work, it can be pretty neat. My couple of shots at it I tried using Serrissa, different failures but they were my fault.

    Graydon, I hope you have the chance to see those up close and personal someday, I have, and they really do rock. (Gloating a bit) I have had several opportunities to be in Nicks gardens and it is inspiring, fewer now than a couple of years ago, but many real nice trees to admire, cant wait for April's workshop.
     
  16. onlyrey

    onlyrey Mame

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    Awesome, please let us know of the developments of the project.
     
  17. pjkatich

    pjkatich Chumono

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    Location:
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    Thanks guys, I appreciate you taking the time to comment on my project. Your feedback is always welcome.

    Graydon,

    I am familiar with Nick's work and have always admired his unique approach to bonsai. I especially like his root-over-gargoyle composition.

    Bill S.

    You are in an envious position. The chance to visit with Mr. Lenz in his garden would be the opportunity of a lifetime for many of us.

    In your post you made reference to an April workshop, would you care to elaborated? Enquiring minds need to know.


    To be honest, I'm flattered by the show of support for this undertaking. New or different approaches to growing bonsai are not always appreciated by the status quo.

    I kind of jumped into this presentaion in mid-stream to test the waters so to speak. There are several prepatory steps that I have developed which take place prior to the photos I posted earlier in this thread. If anyone is interested I would be happy to post some photos covering how I got to this point.

    Regards,
    Paul
     
  18. tombeur

    tombeur Yamadori

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    Location:
    Ottawa, Canada

    Please do

    Cheers,

    Steve
     
  19. Bill S

    Bill S Masterpiece

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    Paul, the club I am in goes to Nicks usually a couple of times a year, BYOTrees and we go at it a big chunk of the day, fun and educational to say the least.

    It's a nice approach too, you can return with trees that were started, and keep a nice progression towards the original design thoughts. Nick isn't just an artist with a different approach, he knows the horticulture behind the trees, and he also has the pottery barn, repleate with many of his pots for sale.

    We do bring other artists in usually 2-3 times a year as well, so we stay pretty busy, we also have some pretty good talent within the club and the advice flows pretty, so I consider myself to be in a pretty good spot. Our club - http://www.springfieldbonsai.com/
     
  20. pjkatich

    pjkatich Chumono

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    Location:
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    tombeur,

    I'll get some photo's together over the next few days and post them when they are ready.

    Bill S.

    Thanks for the link to the club website.

    It looks like you are a member of a very active and supportive club. Please give may best to Mr. Lenz in April.

    Regards,
    Paul
     
  21. pjkatich

    pjkatich Chumono

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    Location:
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    Step one

    tombeur,

    Here is the first installment of this tutorial on developing root-over-whatever style bonsai. This method is geared towards the use of seedlings, rooted cuttings, or small air-layers as the subject material. I have been refining this process for a number of years and it has worked well for me.

    You will need the following:

    1. Suitable plant material, the first photo shows the first two test subjects in the root-over-ruin project. These are one year old Acer rubrum seedlings grown in bonsai soil.

    2. PVC tube or pipe, the second photo shows what I currently used. These are 2.5" x 2.5" square (6.5 cm) PVC down-spouts. Round PVC pipe of an appropriate size will also work well. I cut the down-spout to approximately 36" (1 meter) in length with a slight angle at the bottem end to help with drainage. The length of the pipe will depend on how long you want the roots on you plant material to grow. I would not recommend using anything smaller than 2" (5 cm) in diameter unless you are planting over very small objects. I have found that this size of down-spout meets my needs very well and is widely available at a reasonable price.

    3. Galvanized hardware cloth, the third photo shows the two sizes I use. The first size is 1/2" (1 cm") the second size is 1/8" (3 mm) mesh. The hardware cloth is cut slightly larger than the inside opening of the PVC tube you are using. Cut the 1/2" size mesh in such a manner that there are sharp ends all the way around. Next, insert the 1/8" mesh in the bottom of the tube followed up with the 1/2" mesh. The 1/2" mesh should bow upwards slightly which will allow the sharp ends to dig into the walls of the PVC pipe. This will ensure the contents of the tube stay in place. Photo number four shows how this looks if properly done.

    4. Coarse planting soil, the fifth photo shows what I currently use. This is calcined clay (Turface, Mule Mix, etc.) which passed through an 1/8" sieve but not through a 1/16" sieve. I have also used sharp sand, a mixture of sharp sand and calcined clay, and regular bonsai soil. All will give good results. You will also need a small amount of material larger that 1/8" to put into the bottow of the PVC tube.
     

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    Last edited: Jan 24, 2009

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