Twisted Shohin Itoigawa

Truth be told, it’s probably close to an inch too tall to be Shohin, but I’m working on that. I bought it from Bjorn in March 2014, when we drew some Shari and created some Jins, and then repotted it:

I let it grow for the rest of 2014:

Then wired it out in early 2015:

The apex was a bit pointed and too tall. But, not a bad start. In May 2016, I showed it at our Alabama Bonsai Society’s Spring Show like this:

Kathy Shaner was the judge, and made the following comments about the tree in her critique of the trees in the show:

And a few weeks later, I had the opportunity to work with Kathy on this tree. She had me spend time separating some of the places where the trunk had been doubled back on itself, cleaning up the sharis and then we started on the apex. I had split trunks of Shimpaku junipers with her before, but since this tree was small, I wasn’t fully confident in how it would turn out.

But she is a master and I am a student, so this is where we ended up. I let it grow for a couple seasons after this, not exactly liking the result. The tree also grew stronger on the right than on the left. I’m not sure why, unless it has to do with sun exposure. I turned the tree 180 degrees to get the weak left side into more sun for a few months, but it didn’t really help.

Finally, in December 2018, I decided to prune and wire it again. Here is where it started:

To compact the design, I started by shortening long growth:

Then removed juvenile and weak growth from the crotches.

Then wiring branches into position:

And finally, tightening it up a bit more with some guy-wires:

Here is a shot after the work was finished:

And a series of the development:

Next steps are to let the apex fill in, and to continue working on the shari.

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Itoigawa Refinement

This one has been one of my favorite trees, but it’s rather unassuming in the bench. I initially styled it with Peter Warren in 2011…a flash through the last 8 years in a few snaps…

2010, as purchased from Evergreen Gardenworks:

2011, first major styling:

2012, a slight change in direction:

2014, 2nd major styling:

2015, full year of growth:

2016, lightly trimmed, but otherwise allowed to grow:

2017, repotted, lightly trimmed in the summer, 2014 wires removed:

Which brings us to now…Here is a shot from spring 2018.

and the work begins…Scrubbed trunk and deadwood:

Lightly pruned:

Wiring started:

Continuing to the “H Shot”

And complete…

Some moss, cleaning up the undersides of the branches, and a little minor tweaking and it is ready for show.

One last parting shot…

Itoigawa cleanup

Well, I’d been putting off this chore far too long.  After repotting it into a slightly undersized container, I wanted it to regain some strength before unwiring and pruning it back, but it was a balancing act between pushing it too far and just right.  June 11 was the day, carefully unwired the buried wires, and pruned it back.

Before:


Wires digging in are carefully removed with wire cutters and thumbnails to minimize the bark pulling away from the wood:


And finally, after this much is removed:


It should be set for the rest of the growing season, and ready to be wired in the winter: