Shimpaku juniper before and after by Suthin Sukosolvisit
You can learn a lot by examining before and after shots of bonsai. Especially when they're by an artist as accomplished as Suthin. In this case, we only have the before and afters, no intermediate shots. But still, just trying to imagine the steps to get from there to here is a useful exercise
You might start this exercise by examining what has been removed. And then what has been changed and ask yourself how the change was accomplished
In the case of the first b&a, the most obvious change is the pot. This was clearly the right move. The round pot works well with the rounded trunk and soft rounded lines of the crown, and the pot's much smaller size enhances the power of the trunk and the rest of the tree, simply by contrast
Before. A closer look at how the ground cover was obscuring the base of the trunk
Continued from above...
It's also easy to see that the ground cover was removed to reveal the base of the trunk. Simple enough. Ditto for how the crown was restyled, with more weight added to the left, better balancing the whole planting
The deadwood provides another example of change. Some of the wood was reduced and enhanced by carving and all of it was cleaned up and treated with lime sulfur, which brightens and protects deadwood from rotting
After, the new pot enhances the power of the tree and exposing the base of the trunk is another plus
Shimpaku juniper number 2 before and after by Suthin Sukosolvisit
This second b&a shares a lot with the first one. The deadwood has been carved and enhanced and protected with lime sulfur, and the crown has been restyled. And of course the 'pot' has been dramatically changed
We'll leave the rest to you...
Before. Good stock always helps, but there's still plenty to do
Planting on a rock presents a particular challenge; how to get enough soil to stay on rock. If you're lucky the rock has a large enough concave bowl to support the soil. If you not so lucky, which is the case with most rocks, you have to figure out how to get the soil to stay on the rock
Close up for a better look at the details