Bunjin from the highlands in Scotland. Middle the 90’s I swapped these two Scots pines with Craig Cousins for a Trident maple. They were planted in a Derek Aspinall hand made pot. Derek was at that time a good friend who made a lot of pots for me. He didn’t produce big quantities but still the best pots ever. When he died it was a great loss for the whole bonsai world. The trees were only one day in the pot and were used for a demonstration by Craig and the day after we made our deal. I decided to repot the trees the same day in another pot and another position and with the new position I was breaking the “Bonsai rules”.
Both trees had not such a strong root systrem as we are used to work with. I knew I was taking some risks here. But the time of the year, beginning of Mai, was worth to take the risk. I selected a round hand made tokoname pot, the flattest one I could find. I brought the trees together as close as I could. The image of parent and child was born. My soil mix in that time was pure akadama, no pumice in between, the pot was too flat. There was no mycorrhiza so I used some from another tree to put under the akadama.
The way I planted those two trees together gave me a lot of options. If like on this photo this would be my front side, we can not see the biggest tree coming out of the ground (pot). This photo was taken in spring two years later. That was the time both the trees needed to make a strong rootsystem. Now the 1st important wiring could start. The 1st wiring is always the one were we create our caracter branches; they go with the movement of the truncs. It was after 5 complete wirings that, over a period of seven years, the caracter and the image of the tree became older.
A closer look from underneath to one of the main branches. This is what I mean with caracter branches inside; you can see on one branch different thicknesses (ages). That means there is build on the tree at least 8 years or longer.
I am lying on my back under a big tree and looking upwards. The ramification is perfect, not too close, nice distance and very natural. The bark looks a lot older. This photo is taken recently.
This could be a possible front side because I love the crossing trunks. This is breaking the rules of Bonsai, but it will never break the rules of nature and beauty.
Another possibility of front is the “dancing child” under his parent, but the tree doesn’t show his full caracter. As I said in the beginning, Bunjin from the Highlands are another type of trees than Bunjin from the high mountains. They have more dense foliage, more branches and volume and not such a strong caracter in the trunks. This was the perfect variety to express this, because it comes from the area were those beautiful trees are standing in nature.
This is the actual front side I choose were the trunk of the smallest tree dissapears behind the bigger one. Again against the rules, but remember the striptease of yesterday. Of course if you turn the pot a little bit to one or the other side , you have another view. Love it when the tree is on an exhibition and enthousiasts try to photograph him from his best side. This was another example of the Bunjin style; yesterday we were at the border were a tree can just survive in the mountains and this tree just stands in a rough climate about 500m above see level.
Understanding the art of Bonsai means more than creativity. Look to the movie “Karate Kid”; bring the tree back to nature and make it believable. I am teaching my students always everything step by step. We start botanical and keep the tree healty. Than we go to the artistic programm and finally the expression.
Recently I decided to sell all the big trees out of my private collection, including this one. If you are interested you can only negociate in my nursery with me. I want my trees to have an owner that deserves them. Price will be interesting.