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Studio Stories – “The Dragon’s Tail”…..the story of a White Pine (Part Four)

Sometimes I work on nursery trees, sometimes I work on client’s trees……and sometimes if I’ve been a really good boy I get to work on my own trees. Hopefully these regular visits will give you an insight into what goes on behind closed doors……….

Studio Stories – “The Dragon’s Tail”…..the story of a White Pine (Part Four)

The earlier posts of this story were published under the “Studio Stories” heading on the 22nd November, 5th December and 22nd December.

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Having cleaned out the older needles and some of the newer ones the tree was now ready for wiring. It’s not so much that I am short…the tree is big! I used copper wire from Japan and started with the lowest branch on the tree.

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Each branch was styled/positioned once all the secondary/side branches and twigs on that branch had been wired.

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There are just so many small branches and twigs on a mature pine like this….there is a lot of work involved. Now I know why shohin are so popular.

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The shoots around the apex had been allowed to grow strong to help the tree recover it’s health so now some of them had to be trimmed back slightly during the wiring process.

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Notice how little wire has been wasted during the extensive wiring of this seriously large tree. It is really down to technique and planning. Copper wire is expensive!…..and I’m a Yorkshireman! I tried to retain as much greenery of the tree as I could but this small branch at the tip of the right hand lowest branch will have to go.

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The foliage is removed and the branch is made into deadwood….this jin can now be extended further back along the branch.

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The tip of the branch is bent in line with the jin nearer the trunk. The new deadwood will be treated with lime sulphur when it has had time to dry out.

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The restyling work is finally completed and I am satisfied with the outcome. For the moment the “Dragon” can keep his tail. It gives him character and individuality, it is a tribute to his age.

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More of the stronger needles could have been taken off to create a more refined image for the photograph but this is not how I do bonsai. If my reputation hangs on the thread of a picture then it’s easily broken. He had recovered sufficiently to enable me to do this styling so now I want him to go from strength to strength to complete his recovery and achieve his refinement….the unruly needles will help him do this.

This was his first styling and his first wiring since he left Japan. We now have a strong bond……I am relieved I may have saved his life ……I am humbled that I may have given him the chance to be great again……..always remember Bonsai is about trees……it is not about people!