Tag Archives: literati

Playing with images to design your tree

One thing that I find very useful is to photograph my trees on a regular basis. This allows me to see how the trees progress over time and lets me photographically change the images to see if a better design emerges from the image manipulations.

A series of pictures to illustrate how the design might change after playing with image manipulations.

The Ficus benghalensis as it looked some years back, straight trunk and large leaves

Using some heavy wire the trunk was bent to create some movement in the trunk

The tree partially defoliated as it looks today

With Photoshop one section of the tree was removed. Is it a better desgn?

Yet, another piece is removed graphically. Is this one better?

How to work with a large leaf bonsai

Utilizing large leaf plants for bonsai is difficult. There are various techniques to deal with plants that have large leaves, like Ficus benghalensis.

The first shot shows the tree with its various sized leaves. These are large but already reduced just by being grown in a small container.

Ficus benghalensis with leaves that are too large

Ficus benghalensis with leaves that are too large

The second shot shows the tree in a defoliated state. In this leafless condition the branching and structure can be studied and analyzed. The bunjin/literati style is now appreciated once the distraction of the large leaves is removed, albeit temporarily. Once the new leaves grow out they will be smaller but eventually the newest leaves will grow out as full sized and ruin the illusion once again.

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Defoliated the bunjin character and style of the tree can be analyzed and the scale of the design is now appropriate


The definitive reference work on Ficus
for bonsai. The book is a softcover, 8 by 10 inch volume, with 144 color pages, containing detailed information for the beginner as well as the advanced hobbyist.
 Click here for more information
 

Exposed root styles

One of my favorite styles for tropical bonsai is the exposed root style. This may represent trees whose roots have been gradually exposed by a river washing the soil away from the roots or with trees growing on a hillside which is being eroded away. It also could be the end stages of a tree starting life as a strangler or epiphyte and then having the host trunk die and rot away leaving the strangler exposed by itself.

See how these various figs in this style work for you.

 

Ficus natalensis

Ficus natalensis

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Ficus natalensis

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Ficus ‘Mystery’

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Ficus ‘Mystery’

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Ficus ‘Mystery’

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Ficus ‘Mystery’


The definitive reference work on Ficus
for bonsai. The book is a softcover, 8 by 10 inch volume, with 144 color pages, containing detailed information for the beginner as well as the advanced hobbyist.
 Click here for more information

Twisting and turning design

This is an exercise in bonsai creation that is just for fun. The plant is a Ficus salicaria, Willow Leaf fig,  grown from a root cutting. This was a very long root, perhaps 2 feet in length. Foliage has sprouted at the cut end but how to design a tree out of it?

One possibility is to place a lot of wire on it and to twist and turn and bend until the trunk is quite contorted. The result is as you see. The foliage canopy will need shaping but for now it is being left untouched to allow the trunk to grow and to hold the shape we have set into it with the wire. Literati or bunjin is the closest shape or style grouping in which this might fall.

I perhaps may change my mind and move the trunk into another shape.

Any thoughts?

The root cutting before it was shaped.

The root cutting before it was shaped.

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After wiring and twisting a shape emerges

Or is this shape more pleasing?

Another possible shape

Another possible shape