here are some pictures of the rewiring and styling sessions I did on my two Prunus mahaleb yamadori that were collected in 2012.
Below: Both old Prunus mahaleb had grown amazingly during the past season and the wire had to be taken off before it would dig into the bark! But the branches did have enough time to grow more or less into their desired position and stay there! Now it was time to loosely rewire all branches again and to reposition them where necessary!
Below: Just look at all the former suckers that last season was bent down into the ground to create new roots! This is a very easy but important technique to use on these species that create tons of these suckers during the whole growing season! The ones that form every were along the trunk need to be removed immediately when they are not useful in your design, otherwise, they will leave ugly scars!
Below: Remember that I told you earlier in the repotting story of Wolfie about the lucky stone that I had found by chance in the soil of one of my Prunus mahaleb? Well, it was in this tree when I was removing unwanted mosses and weeds from the soil surface to expose the roots to light and air so they would thicken more quickly!
Below: The red arrow shows a branch that grows straight and ugly directly upwards and although I wired it before, it still needs to be removed completely because bending it won’t make it look any better! This branch is much too prominent in your face and it is impossible to make sharp bends in a branch like this and I don’t want it to look like an arch!
Below: Here the branch is completely removed and now the lines and the flow of the branch are much more natural and pleasant! The eye of the observer can now follow the flow of the branch unobstructed right to the tip of it! Lines and even more open spaces are very important in Bonsai! Even in the more natural-designed Bonsai like these two! I believe that branch structure is of the utmost importance in Bonsai design even in the more natural-looking ones! Creating a bushy tree to save time and then calling it a Bonsai is wrong! Proper branch building is an intricate part of Bonsai art and should not be neglected to get a quick result or to fool the public! At least that is my opinion!
Below: Here most of the branches are wired and bent and fixated into their desired position. On the right side, two main branches still look a bit stiff in this picture and most likely will be bent some more next season with the help of raffia! The red arrow point at a to strait looking branch that grows from the old hanging branch that over the decades had rooted into the ground! This gnarly-looking branch full of stunning deadwood plays an important part in my overall design and a straight line that the new branch that grows from it is very unwanted and looks unnatural and ugly…so it needs bending with the help of raffia to protect it from breaking!
Below: Here the branch is wrapped with one layer of water-soaked raffia, this will protect it from breaking or cracking! Soaking raffia for a while in the water is important when the water evaporates the raffia will shrink a little and embrace the branch even tighter, therefore working better!
Below: Just one on an old removed branch stump secured layer of 3,5 mm wire is applied and the branch is carefully bent into its new more natural-looking position! Some light moving up and down was also created to make the branch look less stiff!
Below: Top view from that same branch. To hold the branch into its new place a strong copper wire is secured to one of the many ground Jin that stick out off the ground in front of the tree. The branch looks more pleasant now and because it is now automatically brought closer to the tree, it has become more of a part of the overall appearance! So a win-win situation!
Below: All work done! I know it is not a very good picture and things are a bit hard to see…but this tree is very heavy and I can’t lift much these days! But I hope you can still make out the overall impression of this very promising tree?! The stumps sticking out off the ground in front of the tree are mostly natural Jins, left from old branches! They will stay to play a big part in this old tree’s natural design!
Below: Here the old tree is in full bloom! The very late hail storms we had the last couple of days have sadly removed most of them! I am very happy with the progress of this tree…only finding a pot will be a crime! I think I will have to let one be specially made for me in the future! I am afraid a normal-shaped pot will not fit it?! But that’s for later!
Below: Here you see the second Prunus mahaleb that is already wired here and the branches are brought back into their desired position. This old tree was like the other one burned by forest fires and the amazing old deadwood is all scorched, this created beautiful black and grey tones all over the incredible deadwood that man cant copy! The top and top branches are hugging the amazing deadwood section from behind to emphasise it!
Below: Here you can see the, for now, finished tree. The thick jin in the bottom middle still needs some work in the future to make it more elegant and a lot of the by-now dead bark below it needs to be removed as well. I am not yet sure what to do with the ground Jins that stick out off the ground in front of the tree..but they can always be removed later when I am sure! On this Prunus, there were also created new roots from suckers, but not as much as on the other one.
Bellow: The old Prunus in bloom! It needs to be more tilted to the left like in the picture above, but this picture is all I have! I like this twin trunk design, it looks natural and honours how this old fighter looked when we found it! With some more years to create finner ramifications, it will look amazing and unique and I can’t wait to find a fitting pot for it and show it to the world! I am so immensely grateful to my dear friends who allowed and helped me to collect these stunning works of nature! They brought joy into my live and I have these beauties in my garden to remind me every day of how wonderful live, nature, friends and doing Bonsai can be….thanks guys!!!
I hope you enjoyed this story of my two Prunus mahaleb, it took forever to write, but I found a very long way to at least get it right for you all to read! I am glad that I am able to do my hobby again with joy and a head full of ideas and I am glad that I can again share it with you all! There is more to come, so watch this space!!!
Hans van Meer.