Saturday, August 11, 2007

improvement of a huge larch

Hendrik has shown this larch on the German forum. He has recieved a lot of critique. Someone said that it lacks soul and then the rest agreed. Some called it cookie cutter and retro of the late 1950ies. Well a tree according to the textbooks,which offer the state of the art of the late 1950ies by and large. Hendrik was not amused but realized that something should be done about the soul thing. So he commissioned me to try to get some soul into the larch.

1) removal of algae
2) working on deadwood, making it more natural.
3) painting all deadwood with lime sulphur
4) wiring the thicker branches with thick aluminum wire
5) bending branches so that the tree looks like a larch and not like a cookie cutter old fashioned bonsai
6) wiring many smaller branches and bending them
7) fixing some branches with strong guy wires
8) tilting the tree forward considerably and supporting the rootball behid with a large chunk of charcoal to fix it.
9) tilitng the tree to the left considerably and supoporting the rootball underneath on the right with a large piece of charcoal. Thus the ugly long and straight root on the left disappeard.
10) oiling the pot
11) taking photographs
12) working on photoshop. Virtually repotting the tree into a pot which si 10 % smaller and cleaning some foliage.

Hendrik is enchanted.


Aaron said...

that was slick...

I especially like how you reveal the branches on the tree... huge improvement

Anonymous said...


I don't know really where to begin with this one...

First, I have watched Henrik's wonderful virts and advice on IBC for a couple of years, and in my mind his vision and knowledge were way above par. I am somewhat surprised he did not "see" this tree or was capable of "creating" this tree.

Second, can you explain a little more on the "repotting" - and when you did this? I assume you did minimal root interference and were more concerned with planting angle, as opposed to mucking with it too much this time of year. Also, did you change the planting media or is it just a top dressing.

Third, your end result is what I expect out of you - and it does look like a unique Walter Pall piece. From rags to riches - cow pies to chocolate mousse... Wonderful transformation!

Thank you for your 'cross the world tutelage...

RList in Oregon

Walter Pall said...


well, there is a diference between making good virtuals and doing the same with a real tree. One of the problems of many folks is that they pay a lot for a tree and know that something has to be done but don't dare to because they are not sure whether the tree will be alright. Here comes the experience of a professional.
I did not repot the tre at all. Hendrik has planted it into very coarse subtrate. I could lift the tree on the left and carfully take out a few handful of substrate right under this thick root. Then I could tilt the tree considerably to the left. The rootball went up on the right side as a consequence. In order to stabilize the tree I could place a big piece of charcoal underneath on the right. The roots were almost not disturbed. I believe the tree did not even notice the whole operation.
I would never do such a thing in June or July. In the middle of Augsut is OK, because we will not get really hot and dry days again this season. So the tree will not suffer.
Well would you expect that I create a tree that looks like a Rainer Goebel bonsai? Hendrik cold have left it as it was then.


Bogdan C. said...


It is truely remarcable how you manage to make them look like 'real' trees. I also enjoy a lot the 'uniqueness' of each and every bonsai of yours; as in nature, trees can be different without being boring. To my current level of understanding, it seems that you take a raw material and direct it toward becoming the bonsai it could be, while still keeping its personality as a unique tree. That reminds me of that story with a stone-carver, who was asked how he manages to create such great sculptures. He answered: it's very simple, I take the block of stone and remove everything it's useless.