Aichien is very well known for its Japanese Black Pines and Trident Maples. Most days, we spend working on one of these two species and most of them are quite nice and have been in a refinement phase for a very long time. There are however, days where we have “special projects” that involve more of a middle phase of bonsai development.
Recently I’ve had the pleasure of working with two fairly large groups of trees. One of red pine and the other Japanese quince. While these projects may seem mundane, I chose to see the silver lining. Working on multiples of the same material, all in need of the exact same work is a great way to build confidence in cutting, speed, and efficiency. Plus it’s not very often that we get to work on bonsai in an almost assembly line/factory style.
The Red Pines!
These red pines were started by Mr. Tanaka about 15 years ago. At some point within the first few years he gave them all a basic shape. Since then they have just been going through a cycle of growing and cutting and growing and cutting and…well you get the idea.
The process is simple. We just cut back to the last shoots, preferably creating a fork, followed by pulling any excess needles. Then we do it again and again and again.
The above pic is straight out of the field. As you can see there is a lot of foliage but very little ramification. Additionally everything is growing straight up as these trees have not been styled.
The following pics will briefly show the motions of cutting this thing back.
And then…Snack Time!
I hear this row of hedges is actually about 20 bonsai. My job is to basically chop these things down to nubs. Then they will grow and Ill do it again next year and the year after that and so on and so on.
Everything cut. What a mess. Clean up time.
All cleaned up. Turns out they actually are bonsai after all. And look, there is even a path here. Amazing what a pair of cutters and a broom can do! Glad that’s over. For a moment this almost started to feel like work!
Ok, that’s all for now. Thanks for reading.
P.S. Are you an Instagram user? If so, do a search for TreeThePeople. Posting on the blog takes a lot of time, so I will be supplementing with IG posts. Hope to see you there!