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Classroom Corner – Cascade options…sometimes yes, sometimes no!

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 – Cascade options…sometimes yes, sometimes no!
Recent projects to arrive in the classroom included these three Junipers and in each case a strong cascade style option appeared to be the obvious choice?……but the obvious is not always the best solution.
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This first Juniper was a piece of raw material ripe for styling and with such a long projecting branch it seemed a certain candidate for a bonsai in the cascade style.
Inside the foliage mass is a very interesting naturally gnarled curving trunk with branches to create a very nice small informal upright.
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After some deliberation the cascade was abandoned, the branch cut back and a selection of the remaining branches made. These were then wired and positioned accordingly.
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The second Juniper pictured centre above offered semi and full cascade options in both directions but in the middle was again a small upright tree option. Some of my students (no names mentioned Susan) might be tempted to go for the smaller option to save on the amount of wiring required but in this instance Sheila just liked the idea of the small tree.
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Once again branches were removed, wiring carried out and the styling completed. The exercise has produced a very neat small tree with good potential.
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The third Juniper was really always going to be arranged in a cascading style because in this instance the tree was destined to be planted on a piece of Ibigawa rock together with a small Quince. The Juniper was fully wired and holding wires were also attached to the rock in the areas where the trees would go.
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The trees were positioned on the rock with keto soil and all the branches were arranged in sympathy with both the tree and the rock. Moss was then added to complete an amazingly quick transformation. This planting already looks like it has been together for years.
Sometimes material strongly suggests a route to be followed but before you go careering out of control in one direction…STOP…have a look around your tree….there may just be another option offering a totally different solution and an end product you might just be pleased to arrive at!!!