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Classroom Corner – Peter’s “Rock on Rock” Planting

An open window into the comings and goings of students and their trees attending our regular weekend and midweek bonsai classes under the ever watchful eyes of John Hanby.

Classroom Corner – Peter’s “Rock on Rock” Planting
Peter brought along 3 pieces of tufa rock to an open workshop. He wanted to create a rock planting and was getting the material together. The arrangement of the 3 pieces was under consideration when I through a spanner in the works (nothing new here then!) by suggesting we fix one on top of another.
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Knowing that Peter was planning to work with smaller junipers and wanted them clinging to the rock, I thought the extra height we could gain would be crucial.
A few weeks later Peter attended another class and duly arrived with two rocks securely fastened together and some tie wires in place. A proprietary epoxy resin bonding agent such as Araldyte had been used to fix the rocks in place.
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Peter wanted to plant two small Ittogawa Junipers on to the rock and one had been wired/partly styled previously.
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The second juniper had to be thinned out, unwanted branches removed and the remaining branches wired.
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Now it was time to bring everything together and carry out the planting using keto from Japan as the soil and to help secure the trees in place. Guess who always has to get his hands dirty? The second tree was left quite large to maintain it’s vigour and give the option of a smaller simple cascade for the future if required.
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The composition came together well and was made so much more dramatic by joining the rocks together rather than having small separate single pieces. In this instance the extra height made all the difference…….”Rock on Johnny!!!”