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Design Tweak for a Bunjin Bonsai


Lodgepole Bunjin, before and after.

We’ve got a ‘hot off the press’ new post from Michael Hagedorn today . It’s an excellent example how small changes can make big impressions. I hope you enjoy it as much as I have.

In Michael’s own words “When our trees get out of shape and gangly they give us the opportunity to see them again. When a client brought in this Lodgepole Pine that he'd collected, it looked ripe for a tweak.

“'Integration' is a word we throw around a lot in bonsai. And it's an important design word. Generally what we mean by it is we want the foliage to be connected with the trunk. Often if too far apart the two don't relate at all, and the visual story we're trying to tell about a tree weakens. That would be poor integration.

“This pine is a good example of when integration falls apart, which is common after a few seasons of growth or simply if the wire is taken off. The branches go wonky, spread out, and disconnect from the trunk line---looking not unlike a long overdue haircut. Any attractive visual tension evaporates. (And in the visual arts we like tension---it's in good painting, sculpture, even dance.)”

Michael’s caption for this ‘after’ photo: “After repositioning the branches. Only a small branch in the back was removed; otherwise all that you see has just been repositioned. Because of the strong lean of the trunk, the key branch was used to bring some weight back along the trunkline, toward the base. By sucking the foliage up close to the upper trunk, there is more of a conversation there with the negative space. Also, small foliage masses work best with a skinny trunk.”

Speaking of Michael check out his groundbreaking book if you somehow haven't already.

Bonsai Heresy
by Michael Hagedorn

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