Saturday, March 7, 2009

The Unstrung Harp

In the most recent issue of Bonsai Today (or whatever it's called these days), I came across a quote that struck me.

"To bring out the best in a tree often requires strength and resolution on the part of the artist."

Such as my dismantling of this Koto Hime Japanese Maple.

This tree has been with me for a number of years. At first glance, it's somewhat pleasing aesthetically, but over time it just no longer held my eye. The second branch was growing backward and too large at this point in the tree's life to reposition, even with a bender or covered in raffia. Much too brittle.

I feel that it must eventually be shortened and styled as a formal upright to have a future artistically. I hate to apply a label to any style, but this trunk is as straight as they come. The apex always appeared as a separate tree to me, so be it.

I used the pot method for this layer, which I try to incorporate whenever possible. It's more reliable and allows for pot-simulated root growth. I used a basic double-screened mix, along with some sphagnum moss at the base of the pot and around the future base, and a sprinkling of the white stuff.

This shorty has some serious wiggle. I'm considering either creating a two-tree from it or just eventually carving out the childish portion. My plan is to also layer the other two branches and completely start from scratch, or just use this as a mother tree for ongoing propagation.

I was searching for creativity in a world I deemed dull and laid it on the line, for what it's worth. It's just a tree, after all.