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!!!
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.
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.
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.