Larch Bonsai Styling (SBR3 Sweden 2019)

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On Saturday 25th May 2019 I had the pleasure of working at the 3rd Scandinavian Bonsai Retreat in Gothenburg, Sweden. For this event we had a second bonsai artist, Samuel Brierley, who had flown in from New Zealand to work alongside me. Our objective was straightforward; to style each of the 11 particpants trees together, so that each bonsai was the product of both Sam's and my input.

My thanks go to all of those that took images during the workshop, particularly Tony Roberts.

Larch bonsaiLarch bonsai

During the workshop we had two very different Larix decidua/European Larch bonsai to work on.

The first Larch belonged to Claudio Estrada Astudillo. As can be seen above, it had great mature bark and age, but was too tall for its trunk diameter, making it look young. Claudio sent me images of the tree before SBR3 and I recommended he chop the tree where indicated to reduce its height.

Larch bonsai

Samuel Brierley discussing the Larch bonsai with the rest of the group before we started work.

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Claudio preparing his tree, adding coils of wire to the branches

Larch bonsai

Within a couple of hours, the branches have been wired and the top of the tree jinned.

Larch bonsai

Larch bonsai

Larch bonsai

Sam Brierley then worked his way over the tree, pruning and positioning the remaining growth.

Larch bonsai

With great results!

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Sam and Claudio with the styled Larch bonsai.

Larch bonsai

The second Larch from Jonatan Ansin was a difficult one to style. Although it had a reasonably thick lower base, the next section of the trunk was disproportionately long and shot off towards the left. The vast majority of bonsai look more settled if the trunkline finishes above the base; this trunkline made that difficult to achieve.

Larch bonsai

The long section of trunk was wrapped with elasticated cloth and heavy-gauge wire, applied to allow me to bend it up and over the rest of the tree without snapping.

Larch bonsai

Meanwhile Jonatan applied wire to those branches that I had not pruned away.

larch bonsai

larch bonsai

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Re-positioning the trunk while Jonatan secured it with a guy wire.

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Jonatan pictured alongside his styled Larch bonsai. We kept some extra growth in place to ensure the health of the tree (branches growing towards the top-right), this will be removed once the tree responds favourably.