yesterday I finished the final styling of my “Hinoki cypres” Chamaecyparis obtusa ‘Nana Grasciles’ 95 cm/38 inches.
About 12 years ago, I was very lucky to buy 4 or 5 of this old “Hinoki’s” directly from a professional grower in “Boskoop” (Holland). He had planted them together with his father some 50 years ago when he was still a young boy. He seemed to like the idea of having them restyled into Bonsai! All these long years, the small scrubs were used as “Mother plants”, every year all the strong growth was cut off to be used for grafting or as cuttings. So the trees had remained small for all those years and most of the foliage grew close to the trunk. But this was not the case with this tree, it was tall, straight and all the foliage was located in the top part of the tree. So I only had some branches in the top that I had to bend down and let grow for many years. So I had to style the tree in a way, that made those hanging branches believable. This “Hinoki” would be a fantasy tree (they don’t exist as large trees) and styled as an Old Pine/Larch/Picea solitaire, that lost its top section somewhere in the past and all of its bottom growth and all of the branches were forced down by the weight of the winter snow. I have seen examples of those old soldiers on many a high mountainside in the Alps. So, to give the trunk more interest, I made a Shari over the full length of the trunk. And then waited for all these years, until now, for the foliage to grow and the branches to thicken, in the meanwhile the Shari aged very nicely and the bark grew beautifully over the deadwood in some places, making it all look aged and mature. I really love the foliage of these “Hinoki’s”, you can create wonderful foliage pads, without it becoming too overly styled, it looks really natural, like a tree in the distance. I think this fantasy tree gives off a good impression of an aged mountain dweller now and I decided to enter it into the “Noellanders Trophy” next January! Although this species is not so commonly used in Bonsai anymore, I do believe they are wonderful material for good bonsai! Even this, not so good starting material, turned out into a believable old looking tree. This tree has become a good representative of what I seek for in my designs and styling, I hope you like it to?
I found this wooden slab to place it on in the show, do you think it goes well with this tree?
Hans van Meer.