Rok is an important bonsai collector; I am working on his collection for a little more than three years now. Some of his trees were already exhibited at major domestic and foreign exhibitions, some will be in the future. This two Japanese black pines are still in development ...
Pine No.1 came in to Rok's garden bare-rooted in March 2015 and it was planted in to a wooden box. During transport the top was broken, so the first task was to grow a new one.
March 2015 - Pine was planted into a wooden box and started with acclimatization
Pine responded very well, it showed no sign of stress and after one growing season was gaining strength.
It is always difficult to take care of the trees in someone else's garden: trees aren't under control all the time, they become overgrown or in the worse case weak. But this pine was doing just fine - after two years it was in full growth, time for first intervention - some needle cutting, minor branch selection and other usual stuff:
April 2017, after first intervention
Green mass that was cut off
After first work on this tree it reacted vigorously, so in November was time for first styling. So, after three growing seasons of acclimatization we took this tree from Rok's garden and brought it to the TORA atelier. As always on big projects TORA's graduate student Gašper Gabrijel was a big help, and together we wired this beast:
Gašper doing final adjustments
November 2017 - after first styling in TORA studio
First styling is done. Next spring it will be re-potted in to the first bonsai pot, and then the work on the crown will began. We must work on ramification and needles reduction, but one can see what a big potential has this tree!
And there is another tree with big potential - another big Japanese black pine. If the above one was imported directly from Japan, this one came to Rok's garden from German collector. In April 2014 the tree arrived in TORA atelier: not in the best condition, but with Gašper (he was an apprentice at that time and this tree was one of his first big projects) we managed to set a good future for this bonsai:
Gašper even climbed on the table during wiring :-)
Wiring done, November 2014
November 2014, after first wiring in many years
The two crowns of this bonsai nicely complement each other, the ichi-eda is thick and already has old bark ... We also correct the planting angle a bit and gave the tree back to the owner. In April 2015 we re-potted it in same pot at the correct angle.
April 2015, after re-poting
After that, the tree was mainly in it's owners care, we just did a minor adjustment at our regular visits at Rok's garden. And this is the main reason, that tree still has a long needles and some minor faults. As I wrote above - it is very difficult to control the tree if it doesn't live in your garden. But nevertheless, the tree was healthy and strong - and this is the most important thing!
October 2016 - pine in Rok's garden
Three years after first serious intervention, it was time for another step. Because of vigorous growth the pot became root-booted, but the re-potting in to a wider pot will be done in spring. For now we have done a complete re-wiring, we improved the structure of the branches and cut a lot of needles!
November 2017 - the tree is back in the TORA studio
Gašper during work on the tree
The ichi-eda, important first branch and great bark
November 2017 - after work
The tree did a step further. Is more compact as it was, the needles are shorter, branches are in place. Now we'll wait for the spring and re-potting!
360 degrees video of big Japanese black pine styled in TORA studio. But intro made by Gašper is hilarious :-)