Walt’s Podocarpus Bonsai

We recently had a surprise visit from Frank Heidt to one of our monthly workshops at the Central Florida Bonsai Club.

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He’s the guy on the left. That’s Dave on the right.
He was in town and needed to get his mind off of things and stopped by.
He’s a very knowledgable bonsai artist who’s training began at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden and of late he’s a student of Frank Okamura and Dan Robinson.
He didn’t want to show up empty handed so he got a tree and was going to work on it.
He got so caught up in looking at all of our other trees that he didn’t have time to work on it. So, graciously, he gave it to Walt.

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There’s Walt doing some trimming.

Today Walt came over and style it.

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Walt and Frank had worked a little on it at the workshop; here it is now.

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Frank chose a really great tree.

There are only two sides which might make a good front.
Here

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And here

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Let’s examine the pros and cons.

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If we use this, besides the crossing root, the biggest problem is the angle of the trunk.

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The whole tree leans back.
If we adjust the angle-

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Not only do we have to remove all this (notice the big orange arrow) but we will lose all the width

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Because this will be buried.
If we use the opposite side

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The main drawback is this root. But that’s easily taken care of.

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This is good though; and it was buried.
Here’s the front we’ll use.

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Nice, huh?
Lets evaluate the tree now

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This big branch was removed by Frank. It will make a good Jin.

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One main problem is the trunk is about equal to the canopy

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Which, from an artistic point of view, is boring. The mind won’t see any distinction. A good rule to use when styling a tree is the RULE OF THIRDS.
Break the tree into three parts; then either the canopy should be 2/3rds and the trunk 1/3rd or vice/versa. We’re gonna cut the top back a bit

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And do a little more Jin work on it.

It’s awfully ugly, ain’t it?

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Chop chop

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Peel peel

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Scrape scrape (Hi Walt!)

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He’s really intense. Carve carve

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That’s good for the moment. The wood on a podo needs to dry a bit before we can use power tools so we can wait. It’s wire time!

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I love having a helper; I’m gonna get lazy.
One tip when wiring a podo

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The leaves grow all over the branch so wiring is tough on the younger (un-lignified) branches.
Just cut off the leaves

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Like so.

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This is January in Florida and the podo is growing. In order to balance all the pruning we’ve done we will cut off half the root ball.

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And plant it in some good potting soil, (I make my own) fertilize and water well.
Now for the unveiling

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Right side

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Left side

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Rear

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The before

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And the after.
Thanks for bringing it over Walt. Great tree!

About adamaskwhy

Visual artist specializing in bonsai, mostly.
This entry was posted in rare finds, styling bonsai and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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