My Larch roots (Nebari).

I got in a short time 3 comments and questions from 3 different people about the roots (Nebari) on my 3 Larch Yamadori Bonsai that I posted that I would like to address.

O life would be so simple if all collected evergreens and Larch trees had great surface roots (Nebari)…well they hardly ever do! GOOD BONSAI DON’T GROW ON TREES YOU KNOW!? Those that mean they are inferior or useless?! Or could not become a beautiful or interesting Bonsai?! Quite the opposite in my opinion! Like it was and is the case with my windswept/slenting/ Literati style Larch Bonsai. 😉

I bought this, then still two trunk Yamadori Larch on a club auction somewhere in ’92 or ’93 because of its young but already nice 70% circling surface roots (see picture). One of the trucks grew/slanted away from these roots, making it look as if those roots were holding him in place preventing him from falling over and slowly sliding down the hill! Looking at this Lil’ tree the left prevailing winds can almost be felt! So the left (beautiful) trunk was sawed off leaving that short Jin in the picture. From then those roots were promoted and all foliage was over the period of almost 3 decades styled to mimic a wind-battered Larch in nature. To make it, even more, look like it is close to tumbling and or sliding down the hill, I asked my dear old potter friend Brian Albright to make the slanting pot it still is in today! This pot is less high on the right side creating and enhancing that sliding/balancing feeling as if the ground is slowly eroded away over the years! The high table it’s always displayed on enhances this feeling of a battered mountain Larch that is proudly holding onto the edge of a mountainside. So these maybe are not perfect surface roots/Nebari but they are the base behind this whole creation. In short: they tell and support the story of this tree!

Below: The 4 white arrows point at the 4 well-established and old roots. The Yellow arrow points to the visual movement of the slanting mountainside. As you can see that the pot is perfectly matched with that direction! The Green arrow points at the general directing (slightly towards) the viewer. That and the height of the table create a feeling that the tree is towering over and towards you! I think that there is a lot of visual speed in this Lil’ tree and a nice story! So maybe not perfect… but “There is a lot of beauty in imperfection”!

Cheers and stay safe,
Hans van Meer.

7 thoughts on “My Larch roots (Nebari).”

  1. Right! Now that you’ve explained it, I know what you mean. But for us, uninitiated, that is not as obvious as you think it is.
    Anyway, to make a long story short, larches never develop nebaris when potted in proper bonsai pots. Sad but true. And you can philosophize about it however you want.


    1. True! Thanks for pointing that out! And I know…”There lies a lot of beauty in imperfection” would be more correct to use in the case of Bonsai?!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s