Semi-Cascade Black Pine and Bjorn

This past weekend I had the opportunity to take a workshop with visiting bonsai artist, Bjorn Bjorholm. Last year, around this time, I spent another day working with Bjorn, and it was a pleasure, so I couldn’t pass up another chance. Many thanks to Brian Van Fleet and the folks at the Birmingham Bonsai Society for having me up.
I took along a black pine that I had acquired last year as “solid” semi-cascade or cascade material.

“Solid” black pine at acquisition last year
When I went to do a little work on it after acquisition, I picked the tree up by the pot, supporting it by the trunk with my other hand…and my thumb sank to the hilt into the trunk!!!

After cleaning the rot and some fiber peeling to make it attractive

After torching the deadwood and some lime sulpher applied as a preservative

Last Year, after work on the sabamiki
So, needless to say, at first, I was a bit crushed! My “solid” black pine wasn’t so solid after all! But, after the work on the rot and the deadwood, I was happy with it’s initial appearance, so I decided to take it along for some work with Bjorn.

A new planting angle is chosen for a semi-casacde
After choosing a new planting angle, Bjorn had me go through the tree, removing heavy branches, branches that emerged at awkward angles or in groups of more than two, and pull needles to make wiring possible.

Bjorn advising me on the work to be done before wiring

Pulling needles and removing over strong branches
After the preliminary work was out of the way, I set to wiring, and with Bjorn’s guidance, set the branches into pads.
The old apex was removed, and a branch toward the front guy wired back to become the new apex.

After Work
The apex will be pulled a bit further back this fall, and a new semi-cascade pot chosen and replanted next spring. Additionally, once it sets in place and dries out I’ll work on the ten-jin, and extend the Shari in a spiral into the large deadwood area, the knob under the apex.

Something powerful and masculine, along these lines, I think

Finished, for now!
I think this pine has a good future set up now, and I’ll keep you informed as to it’s progress. Many Thanks to Bjorn and Brian Van Fleet for his hospitality!
Thanks for reading!


About japanesepots

I've been collecting Japanese Bonsai pots for a few years, and feel that the famous, and some of the lesser known but great Japanese pot artists could do with a little more writing and exposure in English. Additionally, this blog will feature My own And others bonsai for discussion. The purpose of this blog is to further knowledge of Japanese pottery and Japanese style bonsai. If you have any questions about Japanese bonsai pottery, or would like to acquire pots by some of the potters presented in the blog, feel free to email me at
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2 Responses to Semi-Cascade Black Pine and Bjorn

  1. Joe says:

    Looking very nice! I get very excited about trees when they reach this stage as its a time they dramatically change shape but also time to find a nice pot! Win win.

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