Shohin Shimpaku summer cleanup

Before:

Foliage cleaned up, undersides and dense areas only:

Soji, cleaning up the soil and adding a fresh top layer to get it through the rest of summer:

Work completed for now.

The pot is by Shinobu, an award-winning Shohin pot maker whose work is regularly featured at the Gafu-ten exhibition each winter in Japan. I think it’s a fantastic fit.

Incidentally, this composition is 5 years along from an air layer.

What would you do?

I posted the most recent installment of my Shimpaku from Evergreen Gardenworks last week. I fully acknowledge that this tree could have ended up far different than it did; better or worse. I struggle with the fact that it could have been better under someone else’s design, but accept where it is now, and work to make the best bonsai possible from what it is.

Usually a blog is a one-way communication: me to many, although the comments are insightful. Here are a few from last week’s post on the Shimpaku:

“It’s good to see how you turn raw material into something brilliant – that’s something I really struggle with!

“A beautiful tree that reflects the effort and skill put into it over the years. Beautiful deadwood

“I don’t understand the need for stripping a perfectly good trunk and creating deadwood like it would be a path to perfection.”

And this got me thinking, since we’re all on lockdown anyway…can I reverse the communication flow, and offer up some photos of my history with this tree and ask you the readers, at what point would you have done something differently? Make a virt and email it to me through my website, or make a comment. Let’s see how this goes.

2011

2012

2013

2014

2015

2016

2017

2018

2019

2020

Shimpaku styling 7

It’s been a little over a year since an update on this tree. If you’re new to the blog, here is last year’s installment, showing a significant repot:

https://nebaribonsai.wordpress.com/2019/03/09/shimpaku-styling-6/

Since then, I’ve mostly let it grow, with a little thinning, over the last 12 months.

June 2019:

Late-winter 2020, note the bronze color:

Now, let’s get to the work; this during our coronavirus stay at home…

Thin out the foliage by removing the thin, weak interior growth, and “crotch” growth, so that tufts of foliage emerge in alternating points along each branch

Then begin wiring:

If you want a stroll down memory lane…

From Brent Walston, owner of Evergreen Gardenworks: “Did I give you the provenance on this one? This is one of two Shimpaku in one gallon containers that I purchased from a local bonsai dealer (Roscoe Morris, now deceased) from Treehouse Nursery. One has been in a bonsai pot the whole time and is still quite small. This monster has been let to grow and would have been even bigger if I had repotted it more often. It has been in my care since the early 80’s , probably ’81 or ’82.”

Still at Evergreen Gardenworks’ nursery in fall 2011, this photo shows the tree from the back:

Boxed up and arrived in a Bama in December 2011:

Potted, this shows the present front:

2013 during the growing season, still no work done, this also shows the present front:

A virt I did showing the eventual plan. This was in 2013, 7 years ago…not too far off.

2016, failed graft attempt:

December 2017 after 2nd round of work with Bjorn:

Growing all year in 2018:

Late 2019:

And for fun, a true “before-after”

Did it earn a name yet? Maybe the Covid Cobra…?