Wife's Shimpaku

grouper52

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My wife and I were at a nursery when we first moved here 6 years ago. There were a few Shimpakus that had been buried in a hillside in their original 1 gallon nursery pots years before. We each picked one. The owner dug them out for us, deciding to dig deep, and put the 1 gallon pot and the extended root ball that came out of it into a 5 gallon pot.

Over the next few years the trees recovered, and were reduced to the 1 gallon pot alone. The one I had chosen had appealed to me because I could see where it should go, stylistically.

My wife's tree wasn't so obvious. You can see where it came from by studying what's left, the trunk originally verticle rather than slanted as it is now. I sat with it several years before moving it in this direction last fall. It's warm enough now to root prune it a bit and move it from the nursery pot into a temporary quasi-bonsai pot, which shows where it's likely headed with more work and eventually a better pot.

Enjoy.
 

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greerhw

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My wife and I were at a nursery when we first moved here 6 years ago. There were a few Shimpakus that had been buried in a hillside in their original 1 gallon nursery pots years before. We each picked one. The owner dug them out for us, deciding to dig deep, and put the 1 gallon pot and the extended root ball that came out of it into a 5 gallon pot.

Over the next few years the trees recovered, and were reduced to the 1 gallon pot alone. The one I had chosen had appealed to me because I could see where it should go, stylistically.

My wife's tree wasn't so obvious. You can see where it came from by studying what's left, the trunk originally verticle rather than slanted as it is now. I sat with it several years before moving it in this direction last fall. It's warm enough now to root prune it a bit and move it from the nursery pot into a temporary quasi-bonsai pot, which shows where it's likely headed with more work and eventually a better pot.

Enjoy.
Nice work and a nice tree, never met a shimp I didn't like.

keep it green
Harry
 
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Your "wife's tree" is looking good now. Did your wife do any work on it at all? Seems like they're both your trees to me...unless you included her in the deal so she'd go along with your getting 2 trees:rolleyes:
 

grouper52

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Your "wife's tree" is looking good now. Did your wife do any work on it at all? Seems like they're both your trees to me...unless you included her in the deal so she'd go along with your getting 2 trees:rolleyes:
:D LOL!

That's not how it works! My wife likes certain trees, either finished or starter material, so she will get them, with the understanding that I will be doing all the work!

The upside is that I get more trees, and the downside is that I often have to follow her general or specific styling dictates, whch are often at odds with mine.

With this one, after a few years of my asking, she obviously had no idea what to do with it, so she just encouraged me to do what I wanted. I did. She wasn't jumping up and down about my decision - which would have been unusual anyway - but she wasn't threatening divorce either. A small victory. :D
 

Rick Moquin

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Nice work and a nice tree, never met a shimp I didn't like.

keep it green
Harry
Harry I bet you say that to all the shimps ;)
:D LOL!

That's not how it works! My wife likes certain trees, either finished or starter material, so she will get them, with the understanding that I will be doing all the work!

The upside is that I get more trees, and the downside is that I often have to follow her general or specific styling dictates, whch are often at odds with mine.

With this one, after a few years of my asking, she obviously had no idea what to do with it, so she just encouraged me to do what I wanted. I did. She wasn't jumping up and down about my decision - which would have been unusual anyway - but she wasn't threatening divorce either. A small victory. :D
If my old memory serves me correctly weren't you forbidden to even look at this tree let alone work on it at one point in time ;)

I'm glad she changed her mind :) I see where your going nana, nana, nana :D
 

grouper52

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Harry I bet you say that to all the shimps ;)
I believe Rick's right, Harry - in my recollection, you DO say that to all the shimps. Still, I'm glad to hear you say it to this one - thanks. :) Knowing how much you appreciate shimps, it means a lot to get your approval.

If my old memory serves me correctly weren't you forbidden to even look at this tree let alone work on it at one point in time ;)

I'm glad she changed her mind :) I see where your going nana, nana, nana :D
Rick, I think your memory is FAR from old! :) I don't even recall saying that, but if I'd talked about this tree at all in the past, I certainly would have. I may have mentioned it when talking about the other one.

This one was certainly off limits, but that was just fine with me, although I might have seen where to take it earlier if I had had any thought I might be permitted to do so. As with most styling insights, it came to me in a flash. I was messing around with a pretty, oblong Ling rock to accent another tree nearby, when I looked over at this guy and saw the possibilities. In the final re-potting, I may still put such a rock there - close by to the left of the tree - but it actually looks better than I thought it would without it. And I have a short cascade Erin pot I've been looking to use for years now, that this guy might eventually go into, and the rock would crowd that pot too much. We'll see. :)
 

Rick Moquin

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I'm glad she changed her mind :) I see where your going nana, nana, nana :D
And I have a short cascade Erin pot I've been looking to use for years now, that this guy might eventually go into, and the rock would crowd that pot too much. We'll see. :)
Oops! I think I'll wait for the next photo.:eek:
 

grouper52

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I have a short cascade Erin pot I've been looking to use for years now, that this guy might eventually go into, and the rock would crowd that pot too much. We'll see. :)
OK, Rick and Harry et al - here's the update in the Erin pot. I usually like outrageously long jins, but that one on the left is treading on thin ice, even in my warped mind.

I hope posting this guy redeems my reputation a bit for those who were appalled by that Hollywood post! :eek: :D

Will
 

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grouper52

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I was taking some photos of other trees today, and thought this one looked nice as well, so here it is.

Not much of a change from last year, but a bit more developed and refined. The photo points out some areas that need work; the upper part of the lower foliage area is very poorly/boringly defined; and overall, although I'm not a big fan of overly maincured shimaku pads, my wife is, and it's her tree, and even I think some pinching back on the lower foliage to fluff it up might make it a bit more attractive.

Enjoy.
 

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Bonsai Nut

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I think this tree would benefit from a more clearly defined silhouette and apex. Usually you want your apex to be above or below the highest jin - not the same level.

If you look at this tree in your mind, and blot out all the jin, you will see that the foliage doesn't really have a strong design. Organize the foliage (via trimming and wiring) so that it has a clean flow and outline.
 

grouper52

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Your points about the apex are well taken, BNut. I'll have to sit with this tree more than I have and see what can be done.
 

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Here's a 10 minute virtual to show how I would start to clean up this tree. Personal opinion, mind you :)

I left a lot of jin because I know you like it. Personally, I would reduce the jin further - especially on the left side of the tree. Think of your design first, and then think of the natural forces that would have been used to create that design. If you have live foliage only on one side of the tree, it means wind and sun were pushing it in that direction. Therefore strong jin on the weak side of the tree does not make natural sense and looks a little jarring to the eye. If you want deadwood on the weak side of the tree it looks better as short branches and shari. You don't want balanced jin like a teeter totter unless your entire tree design is equally balanced - otherwise your jin will be fighting your design.



For fun, think about this tree without the lowest primary branch and how you might style it. Then think about this tree if the upper level died, and you had to style it only off the lower branch. Where would you take the design? I try to do things like this in my mind because it helps me to define the tree flow, the direction of the flow, and the importance of the tree elements in my mind - so that I remove the right stuff :)
 

fore

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For fun, think about this tree without the lowest primary branch and how you might style it. Then think about this tree if the upper level died, and you had to style it only off the lower branch. Where would you take the design? I try to do things like this in my mind because it helps me to define the tree flow, the direction of the flow, and the importance of the tree elements in my mind - so that I remove the right stuff :)
What a good idea Bonsai Nut.
 

grouper52

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Again, your points are well taken, and appreciated. But my basic thoughts about this particular tree, given the established form it came to me in, have never been to take it along the lines of my usual naturalistic design tendencies, telling some kind of story, looking like some kind of believable tree from the mountains or such. I did not see that happening, despite years of studying where to go with it, so I have enjoyed having fun with it as an abstract, more whimsical design instead. Perhaps I could have gone in a naturalistic direction, but I would never have chosen this tree to work with in that sort of way. My wife bought this tree for whatever reason, then wanted me to "do something with it."

However, although I'm just trying to have fun with it, I agree with you that even within that mind set it might be brought to a more attractive state of refinement. While I think that the jarring, dancing jin and the structural imbalances suit my purposes well on a more abstract level, I do hope to improve the foliage, and I appreciate your thoughts along those lines. I'll post again when it reaches the next baseline in its devolution. :)
 

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BNut,

In follow-up,

I just went outside and snapped a side view of this tree that helps, I think, to get a sense of the tree's shape, as well as some of the difficulties we encounter with this species up here that you don't have to contend with down there: this is "bonsai heaven" for number of species up here, but the wet, the gloom, and the short growing season does not lend itself well to junipers in general.

I've included, as well, a rotated view approximating, if I recall correctly, the orginal orientation of the tree.

With the proximal foliage gone, leaving the usual little tufts out distally on bare, straight branches - seen here - I thought I would try an approach graft. Almost always, we have to send our various juniper species down to your area to get Shimapku grafts put on by specialists there in your superior juniper climate. Sure enough, my grafting attempts with this tree met with the usual failure.

The thicker, main branches were difficult to bend without breakage, but I was able to bend most of them in or down at least somewhat into better postitions with guy wires and wrapped wire. However, because growth is so slow on these trees here, the bends which seemed to have set after three years, are now largely back where they started.

Except at crotches, they typically won't back bud onto old wood, at least not here. You may be able to see one back bud in one of the crotches near the top. That's all I've seen in about seven years.

Anyway, a challenge I would not normally have undertaken here. As it is, I may reduce the length of those branches with both distal and proximal foliage, like the two longest of the lower secondary branches, and some at the top, thereby allowing a front rotated a bit more to the side, which may open out the sense of congestion in places. The top jin, crudely done at the moment and left longer for the time being than I needed, is likely to be shortened back to a point just distal to the side branch coming off it, which may also be shortened. The long jins and the lumbering/teetering gait amuse me, and will likely stay. :)

If I lived down your way where these things are easier to train, I might have done more, and I'd still be curious to know where you would be able to take this tree in your climate.
 

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Bonsai Nut

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It's all good - I'm not trying to take anything away from your tree. I am just trying to help :) I know there is a huge difference between styling a photo and styling a bonsai - I was just trying to share design thoughts.

Shimpaku are pretty much bulletproof down here. I keep mine outside in full sun throughout the heat of the summer and they are none the worse for wear. I can strike cuttings from them in the fall and they will take without rooting hormone as long as I keep them in high humidity :) So I have a ton of shimpakus. Plus I like the way they feel :)
 

grouper52

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I ought to send this guy down to you! You'd probably do a heck of a lot better than I can with it, and it might even have a legitimate future as a bonsai. :) 'Course, I'd have plenty of time then to come down and visit it (after the casts come off and the stitches come out) - being divorced and all. :D

I usually choose my material carefully, and the few Shimpaku I have of my own were chosen with our climate's limitations in mind. A bit more frustrating are the yamadori Rocky Mountain and Sierra junipers I've collected or bought/traded from Dan Robinson - being desert plants in a very moist climate here, they do well over the long haul only with Shimpaku foliage grafted on, yet the grafting is very slow and difficult, so folks like Dan - with really great trees to worry about - send then to grafting experts down your way for a season to get the job done. Mine are hardly worth the expense, so I plug along with them, but aware that likely they may catch some sort of fungus some day and die.

The latest scare I heard through the grapevine is that there is a new fungus attacking the Shimpakus over at the Pacific Rim Collection across the water, and that Shimpakus may be wiped out entirely in the region some day. :eek:
 
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