When is a broom not a broom

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Chumono
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Continued from a conversation with @BobbyLane on a page on European beech. I thought this was an interesting subject to continue, but I don’t want to clog @barrosinc’s thread.


Having been through all 10 pages of the IBC thread and HH’s pages on styles (both very interesting, particularly WP’s long post on naturalistic deciduous forms) I think the lines between when a broom is not a broom are even more blurred.

So basically, any multi trunked, single stemmed, informal or formal, deciduous tree where the majority of trunks, branches OR twigs point upwards (ish) can be classed as a broom? Seems to be like hammering a nail into a cake (fun, easy to do, pointless). Nothing broom like about a lot of them and I thought that was the point.

Take the styles page on bonsai4me. Each one of his deciduous examples for a given style, particularly the pictures of real trees, can be categorised as a broom on the IBC thread. He even references the movement towards informal brooms as an accepted norm and yet still seems to be at odds with WP, whom he credits a large part of the recategorisation, with his examples.

Anyway, why brooms? Why not just naturalistic? Or informal upright, slanted, cascade etc? If the answer is because the growth is not presented in a pad or coniferous style then surely it should just be deciduous? Plus that really limits the availability for informal upright (par exemple) to express any real variation before it becomes a broom. Or for a multi trunk to be a multi trunk. Doesn’t matter if the crown starts at 1 inch or 10 inches, a multi trunk is still a multi trunk, right?

I think taking one of the “original” styles and applying it across the board to mean upright growth is a bit strange, to be honest.

Picture an informal upright in your mind. For me at least, It doesn’t matter what the foliage is doing. The initial shape is of the trunk (same with starting a bonsai from scratch), this determines the style. Slanting, multi trunked, formal upright, etc etc, all the same. Now think broom. For me it goes straight to a tree that looks like a broom. Single, straight stem with even radiating growth. (Informal would be single stem with uneven growth or vice versa or both). If everything is a broom then surely nothing is. Could you get a windswept broom, or is it still windswept? Too many blurred lines for me.

I mean, to hell with traditionalism, just why broom? 😁
 

BobbyLane

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Good post! actually when im referring to broom im talking about a tree that has branches that go up and out and form a domed shape. when Walter says informal broom is the most common form for natural broad leafed trees, i can't help but agree that most deciduous trees take on this shape. whether they be slanted, upright, multi trunked, formal, they more often than not want to produce branches that start upwards and out reaching for light. its the weight of the leaves on the branches which causes them to then sag. so its easy for me to see how these can be cubby holed into informal brooms. informal because the trunks can take on different forms, as Harry H talks about in his blog, but the end result is usually up and out.
 

sorce

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Ask @William N. Valavanis , Isn't it a direct translation of the sweeping tool?

I always thought it was. Just tradition.
Or days and days and threads and forums full of semantics because we can't wrap our heads around something so simple?

Sorce
 

BobbyLane

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this tree started out as broom, the weight of the branches caused them to then sag
Hindenburg-Linde by ^steiney^, on Flickr
Die Große Linde in der Nähe von Ramsau (BGL) by Claude@Munich, on Flickr

this is a younger tree, the weight of the branches have not yet changed direction
a zelkova by tsurane, on Flickr

slanting tree, its obvious it wants to start up and out then droop, the drooping can be down to a few factors. age, trauma, weather, weight of leaves.
Harboro frost by James Mills, on Flickr

windblown tree, same shape as others up n out, domed shaped still, some branches started out upright but have began to sag
Elmscott, Devon. by Steve Walsh, on Flickr

formal beech, note branches want to go up and out, obvious factors cause sagging
Begraafplaats Groenesteeg, Leiden by Ed Jansen, on Flickr

Birch, up n out like a broom, variations in the branches cause different shapes
Great birch (20th March 2009) by Ashley Peace, on Flickr

probably a pollard, the resulting growth still has a natural tendency to go up n out
old beech trees by James Holland, on Flickr


so many variations
Ye Old Oak Tree by john's taken it, on Flickr

but for the large majority no matter what trunk form or shape, they tend to want to go up and out like a broom
Quercus - Oak by Ashley Wood, on Flickr

especially the primary branches right
Alder Tree2 by Christian Hernandez, on Flickr

?
a hint of malevolence? by Vernon Hyde, on Flickr

windswept
Beautiful Belstone Tree by Richard Powell, on Flickr
 

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Great examples to state your case there Bobby. As @sorce said, it’s probably mainly to do with semantics but the broom aspect seems to be mirroring the natural habit and therein lies my beef with it. It’s difficult to paint such a variation of shapes and styles with the same brush. When it comes to classifying bonsai I think you need more distinction to separate styles so as to avoid confusion. Unless, of course, that the traditional styles are completely separate to the more modern forms.

If someone suggested to me that I should develop a tree as a broom and we accept all the variations then that would really leave me none the wiser as to which direction to take the tree. I may decide to create a tree in a broom fashion, in fact based on the trees the appeal most to me, the more naturalistic ones, I would probably almost instinctually style them using a broom form, but I think we need these separations of style. Maybe it’s just because I’m a beginner getting hung up on what is what and I’ll lighten up when some developed trees under my belt.
 

HorseloverFat

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This is great thread.. with a good amount of information that I hadn’t EXACTLY expected..

Truth is.. I clicked not only because I appreciate the idea of “well-done brooms” (👏🏽 Not 🔥) ;), but ALLLLSO because I wanted to comment, “...It’s a mop” in response to the title.

:):):)
 

Woocash

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This is great thread.. with a good amount of information that I hadn’t EXACTLY expected..

Truth is.. I clicked not only because I appreciate the idea of “well-done brooms” (👏🏽 Not 🔥) ;), but ALLLLSO because I wanted to comment, “...It’s a mop” in response to the title.

:):):)
Yes, you don’t see too many of them as bonsai. Or do you....?
 

HorseloverFat

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Yes, you don’t see too many of them as bonsai. Or do you....?
I think I see a lot MORE attempts (or to be more positive) “in-training” brooms..

I like your take on the terminology effectively being a huge limiting factor when it comes to this style..

The TRULY moving, inspirational “brooms” that you see.. don’t even register (very quickly) as broom-style...

They register as, “Whoah! .... nice tree!”

I’m loving this, and feel it’s a great topic for deeper analysis.
 

sorce

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Ponder this.

If the Japanese adopted Bonsai from the Chinese...

Why is Chinese Penjing more "wild and unkempt", where Japanese Bonsai is more perfect and refined, like in perfect "brooms", "green helmets", and "cookie cutter" trees?

I ask because the Japanese also adopted the TeaBowl from the Chinese, which was perfect, sharp, and refined. They proceeded to make them "wild and unkempt", and it is where the idea of Wabi Sabi was born.

🤔

Nothing is static.

Sorce
 

HorseloverFat

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Ponder this.

If the Japanese adopted Bonsai from the Chinese...

Why is Chinese Penjing more "wild and unkempt", where Japanese Bonsai is more perfect and refined, like in perfect "brooms", "green helmets", and "cookie cutter" trees?

I ask because the Japanese also adopted the TeaBowl from the Chinese, which was perfect, sharp, and refined. They proceeded to make them "wild and unkempt", and it is where the idea of Wabi Sabi was born.

🤔

Nothing is static.

Sorce
That book we spoke of documents those “artistic trades” quite well.

I enjoy conversation the “lines” drawn between penzai and penjing.. also the penjing classes relating to the elements used in the presentation. (Shumu,Shanshui, Shuihan)

Observing these changes in art, sociologically bridging and evolving, leads me to believe that us North Americans DO need to have an “open-style” rhetoric “going” about North American Bonsai... Not to change labels, but discussing topics like; adapting to native species, Native climates and native minerals..

Simply to open “Bonsai” up for growth and adaptation.. if even in our minds... if even for a second.

Yup, I’m one of “those” saps.

;)
 

BobbyLane

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i think when its not an informal broom it can be an informal upright, for me personally i still see trees with one trunk line and a defined leader as informal upright, i see my powerful zelkova and field elm as more informal upright. many of these are by UK/European artists and i think would go in the informal broom category. these types of trees are common here and a lot of my inspiration comes from looking at these types of bonsai trees. many of Walter's trees also have this appearance, where it is ok to have more than one trunk line or sub trunks

Quercus robur by Kev Bailey, on Flickr

Untitled by Roberto Hernandez, on Flickr

Untitled by Roberto Hernandez, on Flickr

IMG_7045.jpg BACK. by Ian Young, on Flickr

Josh's Garden May 2012 by Ian Young, on Flickr

Josh's Garden May 2012 by Ian Young, on Flickr

DSC_0086 by Ian Young, on Flickr

IMG_7037 BACK. by Ian Young, on Flickr

DSC_0178 by Ian Young, on Flickr

Beech raft #bonsai #BonsaiEuropa #bonsaiwales by Bryan Dillon, on Flickr

DSCF7907 by Ian Young, on Flickr

DSCF8015 by Ian Young, on Flickr
Oak by Ian Young, on Flickr
 
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HorseloverFat

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BobbyLane

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