New Design for an Awarded Ponderosa Pine-
This bunjin pine won the Ben Oki award years ago, and then showed up on the cover of Bonsai Clubs International in 1992. The two and a half decades since, under the stewardship of several owners, have proven that Ponderosa does eventually ramify.
In the last few years, however, the lower branch has weakened—made worse by an outbreak of needle cast—and so when the pine came into the yard a year ago we faced a choice.
A bonsai with some legacy attached can slow down your decision-making to a crawl. But bonsai change, and we are given the opportunity to change our ideas when they do. Here are a few photos of operation day-
Ponderosa Pine shortly after winning the Ben Oki award, on the cover of BCI in 1992
The pine in 2018
A thought for a new inclination
Another thought: Remove the weak low branch
This is not a cut that would have been advisable much earlier in the tree’s history, as there wasn’t enough ramification to make the branch removal decision float. And that’s not just aesthetics—the tree needs enough buds and twigginess and foliage to maintain a ramified root system. Now it has that, we were able to be more adventuresome in our design and show off the best parts of the tree, which are the shari and the interesting root base. Shortening and compacting the design brings the focus back to those areas. Though the branches are not yet adjusted for this new presentation, this is where we left it for the day. We’ll check back in once the tree is rewired and potted at this inclination.