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The Magician’s Ezo Spruce Bonsai Forest


Before and after,three years later. Masahiko Kimura 'The Magician' styled this Ezo spruce (Picea Glehnii) planting with a high mountain stand of conifers in mind

Continuing with bonsai forests from the last two days…
Looking at the after forest above, you might notice how the trees on the outside lean out in search of sunlight, which is what you would expect in a natural stand of trees (more on this below)

You may also notice how Kimura enhanced the feeling of age by removing or jinning about half of the limbs (this is most evident in the intermediate to after photos below). Trees tend to shed limbs as they age. This is especially true of trees in forests where there’s competition for light; with more growth at the tops and edges and less in the shaded areas where branches tend to weaken and even fall off.  All three photos in this post are from Bonsai Today issue 26*

Freshly planted. Kimura started with inexpensive untrained trees. The placement of each tree is carefully thought out to create a natural and harmonious feel. We'll discuss some of the concepts behind placement in future posts. Meanwhile, an excellent book on the subject is Saburo Kato's Forest, Rock Planting & Ezo Spruce Bonsai


The Magician
The Bonsai Art of Kimura 2


This intermediate stage is one year after planting (below) and two years before the top photo. It's quite powerful at this stage and I suspect most of us would be delighted to have a forest like this exactly as is. Notice how each trunk is wired and all are almost perfectly straight and vertical. One of the next steps will be to bend and lean the outer trunks and make more subtle adjustment to the inner ones


I like the photo just above but Kimura wasn't satisfied. So many trunks so close together and straight up wasn't quite right. In fact only the main tree is perfectly straight in this photo. In nature, each tree that pops up after the main trunk, will grow out a bit in search of more light. This process continues all the way out to edge of the forest


Forest, Rock Planting and Ezo Spruce Bonsai
By Saburo Kato


Closeup of the lower trunks and ground cover

Much of this post is from 2009, our first year blogging. We featured an updated version last year and added a photo and revised the text today. I hope these changes are helpful 

*Thanks to Bonsai Focus for use of the photos

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