Oct 04, 2010

Hi Everybody,

yesterday we had some surprisingly warm and sunny weather, so I decided it was a brilliant day to try to do some light Bonsai work. The week before I had removed all the wire, raffia and  tape and plucked all the old needles. So “Wolfie” was all ready to be restyled again!

In 2003 me and my old Bonsai friend Tony Tickle made the long trip to Austria, were we had the privilege to visit the wonderful garden and Bonsai collection of our bonsai friend Wolfgang Putz. His garden and Bonsai collection were very impressive! Besides all that,  we were also lucky enough to  taste many samples from Wolfgang’s enormous collection of self made snaps (11 o’clock in the morning)! 🙂  I was also lucky enough to swap one of my Yamadori Yews that I had brought along, for this old Mugo Pine, that Wolfgang had collected himself! Wolfgang was very generous to me that day! He is one of the friendliest guy’s I had the pleasure to ever meet and that’s why I named this little tree”Wolfie”!  After  the nickname that we used when we spook about Wolfgang!

Above: 2003. This is the first picture of “Wolfie” in my own garden. It was made just a few days after I got back home from Austria. It shows how the present day  front side of this wild tree looked way back then. After collecting it, Wolfgang had planted it tilted way more to the right, in comperison with it’s present day planting angle! (Yellow arrow) This large piece of deadwood (Jin) is here still pointing upward. (Red arrow) The right side root is here still hidden and can not be seen in this planting angle! Because of this, the initial styling by me was don in a  different way and direction than it’s present design is.

Below: Backside of the tree.

Below: In 2005 I was invited to do a two day demo at the famous “Joy of bonsai” in Bath (UK). So I brought  “Wolfie” along to give it it’s first styling.  This is how “Wolfie” looked at the end of that demo  Because of the planting angle that I mentioned above, there was a big open space under need the left side of the trunk, thats why I positioned a branch there to compensate that.

Below: 2006. Here I am repotting the tree for the very first time. Because Wolfgang cleverly had planted this tree on a piece of Styrofoam, it had a wonderful flat root base! So I was able to plant it in to a shallow round pot  and tilt it more to the left side, freeing the before hidden roots on the right side of the tree so that the hole width of the root base can be seen. It was like finding a hidden treasure and I was pleasantly surprised to discover that the root base was so wonderful! And in this way, you can just see peaking over the right root base, a piece of the rock that “Wolfie” holds on to like a memory of were he used to live!

Below: This is how “Wolfie” looked in May 2006.

Below: In early 2009 “Wolfie” was repotted again and tilted some more to the left side. And later that year I restyled it again to fit this new planting angle

Below: I am finally getting used to working on a tree while sitting down. But I cant wait to be able to do it standing up again! First the large Jin/deadwood section on the left side was extended. Now it is running along the underside of the trunk to the right side. The Jin it self will be restyled, when I am more used to the new image of the tree. Then the tree was wired and the deadwood cleaned and treated with Lime sulfur. I know it look way to bright, but I know out of experience that it will become more natural looking in a few months time.

Below: With a soft brush on a slow spinning power tool, the excess lime sulfur is removed from the live bark. Now the deadwood is bleached you can clearly see the Shari that runs across this old curling branch.

 Below: Than, with the help of my trusty garbage bin with a turning wheel on top, the tree was elevated to almost eye level height. Working standing up, with the tree at this height is the best way for me to do the final work on  a tree! I really need to be able to move freely and to step back wards and for wards when I am placing all the foliage in to the  desired place.  Here I am just about satisfied for now.

 Below: So here is the newly styled image of “Wolfie”. The first hanging branch, along with two other major branches, are removed. There is a exciting new empty space just above the first Jin on the left and the old empty space under need the trunk is now more prominent and hold the tree upright. Because of these new empty spaces, even more of the amazing trunk movement is shown, with all it’s flaws and quirkiness. Now that the bottom left Jin is lengthened into a Shari, even that long straight trunk section don’t bothers me any more. It all makes this little tree more exciting to look at. There is even a piece of rock living in the middle of that part of the trunk. “Wolfie” must have picked up this pebble ages ago and they have been companions ever since. The crown and branches need to fill out some more and the Jins need more refining, but that’s for later!

 I am really pleased with this new and more mature image of “Wolfie”!


I hope you enjoyed this little story?!


Hans van Meer.