The Japanese Black Pine formerly known as "Ugly"

grouper52

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I thought I'd posted a progression on this tree before at BNut, but I can't find it. Not surprising: I've thought a great many things over the years, and the vast majority of them turned out to be nonsense.

This guy - whom I used to call, "Japanese Pine - Ugly," is finally starting to look like something worth owning.

The first picture shows it within the first year of buying it from a little roadside landscaping nursery. I liked the wild nebari, but the mid-tree stove pipe presented a huge problem for me.

The next photo shows a bit of progress, having abndoned any fantasy of making use of the top part of the tree. Still, what you gonna do with that thing?

Well, the third photo shows what I did: I hollowed out the main branch with a die grinder until I could muscle it down into something of a cascade.

The last photo taken today shows the decision to make the back the front, such that the nebari and the deadwood make a nice focal point. I think it is much better, but it obviates the need for such an obvious cascade, which now even draws the eye away from the focal point and defeats its purpose. Next season, therefore, I will shorten, simplify and thereby de-emphasize the cascade, making it look a bit more natural, rather than this stiffly classical, more obvious style. Needle shortening and further other foliage development should refine the image more. I kind of like the pot and mounded rootage look, though your visual milage may vary. It's a mica pot, though - a nice Tokoname of similar design may suit it well.

The apex stands about a foot from the base of the trunk.

Enjoy.

G52
 

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bonsaiTOM

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Astounding. What's the time frame here?

I have to admit though that I liked the tree a bit better in pic #3 prior to the heavy carving. :eek: Perhaps with a little reduction of the heavy tip growth on the right side. The focal point being the gnarly roots and branches in balance.

But I would still be proud to own this tree.
 
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grouper52

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Astounding. What's the time frame here?

I have to admit though that I liked the tree a bit better in pic #3 prior to the heavy carving. :eek: Perhaps with a little reduction of the heavy tip growth on the right side. The focal point being the gnarly roots and branches in balance.

But I would still be proud to own this tree.

Thanks. You can get #3 back by turning the tree around and bending the apex down opposite the cascade. :)

The dates of the photos are 2007, 2009, 2010, 2011.
 

treebeard55

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Excellent work, Will. Congratulations!

Tom, I see your point about pic #3. But I think the carving fits in with the overall character established by the nebari. I see an image of a tree that's survived events that have almost killed it and have left it seriously scarred -- but it's survived and is thriving in-spite-of!
 

mcpesq817

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Wow, that's some really great creativity and work that has gone into the tree in such a relatively short time. Nice job.
 

Dav4

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Gnarly!! Seriously, this tree reminds me of some of Dan's trees pictured in your book. Great transformation so far, and it will only become better as the canopy develops. Any chance he'll let you "borrow" one of those old antique pots for this one?:D
 

Attila Soos

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Will,
this is one of your most interesting work, so far.
The transformation (from that first piece of...Mother Nature) is brilliant.

I guess something must have rubbed off Dan, and onto you, after all.:)

A pot of similar shape and proportions, but of a much more rustic character, would suit it well.
 

grouper52

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Wow! Thanks everyone! :)

It's probably no surprise that several folks have noticed Dan's influence here. I don't think he's ever actually noticed this tree, certainly never remarked about it that I recall, but he's encouraged and taught me how to make the most of my propensity for the naturalistic style in general. He's also shown me a few techniques that help get past stuck places, such as I was in with this tree. I've never formally been a student of his, but an incredible amount has rubbed off on me just hanging around, and I - and this tree - are deeply indebted to him. For folks here to see his influence in this tree is indeed high praise.

Thanks.
 

evmibo

Shohin
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Looking really good Will. Did you bend the larger branch down with raffia and wire alone?
 

grouper52

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Looking really good Will. Did you bend the larger branch down with raffia and wire alone?

I may have used raffia, but I don't recall so, and often don't on trees like this - just hollow it out with a die grinder groove through the bulk of the heartwood (careful to spare the sapwood!) parallel to the branch, then, when it bends down easily I just muscle it down all at once and wire it into place, or do so a bit at a time.

I may still move the cascade a bit more to the front, which seemed easy to do when I tested it last week. Still very much a work in progress.
 

edprocoat

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Very nice ! I love the roots, gnarly roots like that are a passion of mine and look like so many trees I see in nature. Its a great looking tree and you have done wonders with it. If you would shown me the first picture and the last one, I would have told you there was no way you could style the first one close to looking like the latter. Great Job.

ed
 

Pattik

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I am new to this site and somewhat new to bonsai. Seeing the progression photos of this pine really inspired me. Thank you for sharing.
 

jeanluc83

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Fantastic tree!

Would you mind posting a pic of where you hollowed out the branch to bend it. I'm always curious to see what these techniques look like after a few years.
 

JudyB

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Nice Will! Hey did you see the AARP article on Daniel? My mom showed it to me not knowing that we visited. This tree reminds me very much of that trip.
 

sorce

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The roots, the pot, the picture.....

Perfect.

This is a wicked wicked tree!

Awesome.

Sorce
 

Giga

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Very nice JBP- I have a couple in the work and they are a pretty nice species to work with-fast development considering it's a pine. Great job!
 

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