This is a Japanese Flowering Quince Chojubai presented on a Western riding spur. ‘Presented?’ ‘Held’? ‘Lofted’? ‘Attached’? One might argue the proper term, but the riding spur was found on a hike in the Arizona mountains about 20 years ago, after falling off someone’s boot decades before. I’ve dragged it around everywhere I’ve lived, figuring it had an unknown future as part of something else. And that was revealed last week. When casting about in the garage for something to attach the chojubai to, my eyes settled on this ancient piece of ironsmithy…and the phrase ‘East meets West’ popped up, and I laughed, and there you have it. The latest bonsai orchid to grace our shade cloth structure was on its way to being born.
We had a great time making this, and throughout it all I wondered how old that riding spur actually was. It’s pretty dry there in…
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This Shore Pine—Pinus contorta subsp. contorta—has several interesting fronts. It has been a conversation piece with guests for their favorite front. Here’s what we did in a restyling.
The original front of the tree, where we started our adventure
…but here was a more engaging trunkline, about 90 degrees left, and inclined 30.
After cutting off the long right branch. Bunjin are best with short branches, and high up on the tree. This helps show off the wiggly parts of trunk line, the bark, and the character of this idiosyncratic bonsai style.
The final design. We made a small jin out of the cut off branch. And we swapped the container for this one, sporting a glaze splash and nice, rich brown color. We chose to leave a few roots as a design element, like a shoe, the toe of which is exploring beyond the edge of the…
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