This Japanese Larch had been field-grown at a bonsai nursery and was dug up in early March 2005 by a friend.
The rootball, still complete with groundsoil, was wrapped in damp burlap and sent on its way to me via the Mail.
Within a few hours of receiving the tree, I had bare-rooted it to remove all of the sticky-clay ground soil and planted it up into a generously-sized wooden box with inorganic soil.
Bare-rooting the tree enabled me to see the surface roots of the tree and establish which was the front of the tree.
I had already decided that the tree was too tall; reducing its height would make the trunk look stronger and more powerful.
As the tree had just been through the ordeal of being dug up, shipped and then potted up, I decided to hold off pruning until the had tree recovered and I saw it had regained its vigour
With aggressive feeding the tree had recovered well and grown vigorously through Spring 2005.
By June I decided to start the process of developing the branching.
Having established in my mind which branch would be used as the new leader for the trunk, all live growth above this point was pruned away.
However, the trunk above the new leader had interesting movement and I decided I would keep this and turn it into a deadwood feature, a jin.
The bark from the top section was stripped of its bark (my son can be seen here peeling it away, a job he loves helping me with)!
Once the bark was peeled away, I started to rip away at the deadwood using jin-pliers. This creates natural texture and shape to the wood.
The jin moved too far forward towards the front of the tree so using a gas torch, the sappy wood was heated and bent into shape. The jin was held in place whilst the wood cooled down and this set it into its new position.
The same technique was also used to bend some of the smaller jins into position.
After burning the jin had been finished, the wood was brushed with a brass brush; this removed much of the blackened areas.
To finish the jin, the surface was painted with lime sulphur.
The tree was then left to recover until the end of the year.
March 2006. With the branches still bare in early Spring, it is a good time to wire and style Larch. First, while most of the tree's energy is still stored in the roots, the remaining branches were pruned heavily.
This tree was given its first complete wiring and styling. It was then potted into a pot by Erin Pottery.
Height to top of jin: 22"/55cm