Chiu-Chang Chiang VisitsMontana
By Jerry Meislik
Master Chiu-Chang Chiang from Taiwan visited the Big Mountain
in Whitefish, Montana in mid October 2002. He instructed members
of the Big Sky Bonsai Society, the Inland Empire Bonsai Society
and their friends. His instuctions were ably translated by his
son-in-law Dr. Fu-Chou Cheng. The sessions were well attended
and included a slide program on grafting and manipulation of
ficus trees, a lecture demonstration on a large Tigerbark ficus,
and a workshop on members trees.
and Video Program
slides of Master Chiang revealed in detail the process of free
grafting pieces of fig into areas of the tree where branches
were needed. In-arch (approach) grafts were also demonstrated.
In-arch is a technique in which a superfluous branch is bent
around and inserted into a groove in the trunk of the tree.
to insert new branch.
In this way
the tree will have a new branch placed in exactly the correct
position. A large inlay graft was also demonstrated; a 2 inch
diameter branch with attached aerial root was inserted into the
trunk thus adding a full sized branch where one was needed. The
aerial root was fed into the ground or a pot to feed the new
graft until it is firmly attached. In this way a fully sized
branch can be grafted to a tree rather than a small whip. This
speeds the bonsai along much faster to its finished state.
Inlay graft is
shown to the left of the red line.
of root manipulations were also shown in which roots were moved,
grafted, split and manipulated in many ways. Great attention
was placed by Master Chiang on the proper arrangement of roots
to create an attractive flare on the trunk base. He feels strongly
that a faulty root system detracts greatly from the quality of
The aerial root,
to the left of the thumb, has been grafted into place.
were encouraged to participate by looking, feeling, and inserting
grafts into proper position under the guidance of Master Chiang.
on Tigerbark Fig
started by analyzing the Tigerbark's, Ficus microcarpa cv 'Tigerbark',
good and bad points and then labeling all branches to be retained
with tape. Unneeded branches were quickly removed. Each large
cut or saw mark was then carefully smoothed off with a very sharp
knife. This smooth wound is a great help to allowing the new
bark to heal over the injury. Cut paste is then applied to each
sharpening tools each day prior to work.
On the left Ficus
microcarpa and restyled on the right.
Then a careful
analysis was made and if branches were needed locations for grafts
were marked with tape. Free grafts were inserted into areas where
no approach (in-arch) graft was available. Approach grafts were
used where long branches were available. Approach grafts are
preferred since they are stronger and grow faster. The tree was
then wired in minute detail to finish off the design process.
Future development of the tree was discussed.
Left Ficus benjamina
before and on the right after styling by Master Chiang .
In the workshop
Master Chiang refined a Ficus benjamina with Wayne Whitney, Fukien
tea with Rob Johnson, Ficus benjamina with Bob Burmood, Ficus
retusa with Jill Hurd, Ben Devall's Ficus Kiki, Fikus kiki with
Kay Smith, and Roger Snipes' Pinus nigra. All the trees were
significantly improved in consultation with Master Chiang. One
factor that Master Chiang stressed was that wiring needs to be
thorough and detailed, with every twig being wired into its proper
position. Advice was given each owner as to the future of the
tree and the steps needed in its further development. Happy participants
posed with their newly changed creations.
Rob Johnson, Master
Chiang and Fukien tea on the left and Bob Burmood giving Master
Chiang a Montana bear hug on the right.
Ben Devall and
Master Chiang make decisions on a bonsai.
Kay Smith, Master
Chiang and her newly designed bonsai.
Jill Hurd and
her re-designed Chinese Banyan.
poses with Roger Snipes on the left and Wayne Whitney on the right
and their bonsai creations.
A very happy group
with Master Chiang after his demonstration .