When is a broom not a broom

Adair M

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The clasifications of bonsai is based primatily upon the trunk, and not how the branches are arranged. Formal uprights are trees with straight trunks. Slants are trees that grow up at an angle and have their apex either to o the right or left of the nebari. Informal uprights are trees with a moving trunk, but the apex is centered over the nebari.

Brooms are a special category within the Formal Upright classification. They have a straight, vertical, trunk. Then, the trunk divides into many smaller branches.

There is also a “center line broom”. This style has a single trunk, but instead of the traditional “first branch, second branch, back branch” arrangement, it has many smaller branches coming from the trunk at all directions.

This is the traditional broom:



ED200769-104C-446F-8B22-F305AF21530A.jpeg

This is a “center line broom”:

45A66695-F031-4234-85E9-B5D6E6281EC0.jpeg
 

Woocash

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OK Bobby, I give in. You win, YOU WIN ALREADY! 😂

Seriously, how do you even categorise the multitude of trees you have on record?
 

Shibui

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The clasifications of bonsai is based primatily upon the trunk, and not how the branches are arranged. Formal uprights are trees with straight trunks. Slants are trees that grow up at an angle and have their apex either to o the right or left of the nebari. Informal uprights are trees with a moving trunk, but the apex is centered over the nebari.

Brooms are a special category within the Formal Upright classification. They have a straight, vertical, trunk. Then, the trunk divides into many smaller branches.

There is also a “center line broom”. This style has a single trunk, but instead of the traditional “first branch, second branch, back branch” arrangement, it has many smaller branches coming from the trunk at all directions.
This is also my understanding of traditional styles.
Trees with bent and twisted trunks are not broom style in the traditional sense no matter how the branches are arranged. Broom is deciduous variant of formal upright.

I don't think all bonsai need to be classified into one of the traditional styles. I do not really feel the need to put all my trees into categories so I would rather see unclassified good bonsai than to try to stretch the styles to encompass trees that do not fit the existing style guidelines. I'm sure the current range of traditional styles have been added to over time. Maybe adding new styles would be better than stretching the current ones to encompass shapes they were never meant to include.

In the end there are only good bonsai. Does not matter whether they fit into an artificial classification system or not.
 

Woocash

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This is also my understanding of traditional styles.
Trees with bent and twisted trunks are not broom style in the traditional sense no matter how the branches are arranged. Broom is deciduous variant of formal upright.

I don't think all bonsai need to be classified into one of the traditional styles. I do not really feel the need to put all my trees into categories so I would rather see unclassified good bonsai than to try to stretch the styles to encompass trees that do not fit the existing style guidelines. I'm sure the current range of traditional styles have been added to over time. Maybe adding new styles would be better than stretching the current ones to encompass shapes they were never meant to include.

In the end there are only good bonsai. Does not matter whether they fit into an artificial classification system or not.
My point exactly. I like the idea of being able to gauge a pathway to development using a style or form, but not to use or broaden a category which doesn’t necessarily fit.
 

HorseloverFat

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A broom isn't a broom...when it's a mop.

🙃 Sorry that's the only thing that pops into my head when I read that question.

Filling the rabbit hole with dirt...moving along.
Ha! See! That was my first response, too! (I just happened to be by an “internet machine” first)

🤣🤣🤣

I like your style..
 

Cadillactaste

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Ha! See! That was my first response, too! (I just happened to be by an “internet machine” first)

🤣🤣🤣

I like your style..
Well, I must admit, I can admire ones who love broom. I have none on my bench, I'm more of a neagari gal😉. So, I didn't read the thread...your comment made me hunt to see if you had commented. Which you had. Well now...you dropped the mic and I tripped over it. ☺ Great minds...I held off posting because I tried to not be ornery...or I may have been first. lol good one. I bet we aren't the only ones who think that with the title.
 

BobbyLane

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i probably got carried away a bit, i did have a few brandies last night,
but the Harry article is how i understand it
Screenshot_20200628-074636_Chrome.jpg

many of the natural trees and bonsai posted are informal brooms, especially the ones with trunk movement or more than one trunk line or sub trunk.
i understand you have the classic broom form, again some of the trees i posted could fit that form, especially younger trees.

to the opening question.
when a broom isnt a broom its an informal broom.
the vast majority of deciduous trees in nature are informal brooms.
 

leatherback

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To make the whole discussion more complex.. In my school a Japanese master joins classes every once in a while. In spring we discussed the broom style as I had the same question as discussed here. He did not understand the question. (lost in translation). So I pulled an image of an old multi-trunked oak. And asked whether that would be considered a broom. His answer: No, that is not a broom. It is an oak.

Confused?
Yes me too.

We continued and at a certain point he came out with.. broom = zelkova. Only zelkova can become broom. So somewhere in the back of his mind was a direct link to species too. It was an interesting discussion but I still am not at a point where I can decide the difference between an informal opright with scundary trunks, informal brooms.
 

BobbyLane

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what if i told you that this was an oak tree,


you will find older specimens that look like this too. again, its a common form for the majority of deciduous in the landscape.

most deciduous trees start out looking like 'broom's or some sort of variation

as they age they usually grow more trunks/subtrunks in most cases right.

in reality, the classic broom image, is that of a 'younger' tree.

again, i can see why 'informal broom' could be used to describe the majority of deciduous trees in the landscape.
 
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leatherback

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what if i told you that this was an oak tree,
I think you might be missing the point of my post :)

The point was, in his mind, broom requires Zelkova. All other species are not a broom. Independent of growth form. We had an interesting discussion full of translation difficulties (Me in my best German explaining to a German guy, who translated to Japanese, and back, hovering over sketches and pictures of species!). We never did get to the point where we agreed. I just gave up at some point. The idea that another species then Zelkove would be a broom was just something he needed to process. Did not fit in his viewpoint. So for him it was shape AND species that made a broom.
 

BobbyLane

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I think you might be missing the point of my post :)

The point was, in his mind, broom requires Zelkova. All other species are not a broom. Independent of growth form. We had an interesting discussion full of translation difficulties (Me in my best German explaining to a German guy, who translated to Japanese, and back, hovering over sketches and pictures of species!). We never did get to the point where we agreed. I just gave up at some point. The idea that another species then Zelkove would be a broom was just something he needed to process. Did not fit in his viewpoint. So for him it was shape AND species that made a broom.
why is it only narrowed down to zelkova?

i have images of wild zelkova trees and i know how they grow. i can show you wild hornbeams, oaks that look like this at one stage of their life.
 

Woocash

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I think you might be missing the point of my post :)

The point was, in his mind, broom requires Zelkova. All other species are not a broom. Independent of growth form. We had an interesting discussion full of translation difficulties (Me in my best German explaining to a German guy, who translated to Japanese, and back, hovering over sketches and pictures of species!). We never did get to the point where we agreed. I just gave up at some point. The idea that another species then Zelkove would be a broom was just something he needed to process. Did not fit in his viewpoint. So for him it was shape AND species that made a broom.
So do we need a new categorisation then? Or, do we ignore the tradition? I can’t decide what’s right here.
 

Woocash

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why is it only narrowed down to zelkova?

i have images of wild zelkova trees and i know how they grow. i can show you wild hornbeams, oaks that look like this at one stage of their life.
Are you hoping we say because that’s how it naturally grows? 😉

Edit. I replied before your edit!
 

BobbyLane

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I think you might be missing the point of my post :)

The point was, in his mind, broom requires Zelkova. All other species are not a broom. Independent of growth form. We had an interesting discussion full of translation difficulties (Me in my best German explaining to a German guy, who translated to Japanese, and back, hovering over sketches and pictures of species!). We never did get to the point where we agreed. I just gave up at some point. The idea that another species then Zelkove would be a broom was just something he needed to process. Did not fit in his viewpoint. So for him it was shape AND species that made a broom.
ill try to see where that master is coming from.
this is a perfect example of a zelkova, classic broom, fan shape. the growth habit is actually quite unique in that many of the primary branches hold on to the upturned broom shape. i did say that a lot of deciduous trees look like this early on. but i think many other species branches are quicker to sag


hornbeam


this is an older zelkova, you can see how the upturned primary branches have held the erect shape and thickened, all the primary branches have now become trunks and are actually a similar size. there is definitely a unique habit to the growth here.

Zelkova_(Dulwich_Common)_04-10-07_11 by Bobby Lane, on Flickr
 

BobbyLane

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So do we need a new categorisation then? Or, do we ignore the tradition? I can’t decide what’s right here.
i think Harry has nailed the forms pretty well. wont go wrong if you stick to that mate.
 

Woocash

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Interessant. Maybe they only have zelkova which grows like this in japan then. Especially into maturity.

i think Harry has nailed the forms pretty well. wont go wrong if you stick to that mate.
I agree.....aside from the contradictions :cool:
 

BobbyLane

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they do, but they also have zelkova that just look like elms and oaks with hollow trunks.

the mature one i posted above is actually in south London a few mins up the road from me.

its now been pollarded and is slanting and looks like this, i took this pic in 2017
Zelkova carpinfolia by Bobby Lane, on Flickr
 
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