Vine Maple Bunjin on Rock-
I collected this tree about five years ago, and put it in a nursery pot to recover from the indignity. It was deep in the back of the bonsai yard, nearly forgotten (John, my apprentice, assures me it’s been watered at least every September), and every month or so I’ve thought, ‘Really have to do something with that…’ This week we had some extra muck at hand and this composition was the result.
Enjoy our mini-photo essay of creating a maple planting on a rock.
Vine Maple, Acer circinatum, removed from its pot, with a lava stone. The smaller trunk was removed.
Discovering a bit of nebari on this collected maple. Always a surprise to find surface roots on a collected tree. Sometimes the best inclination of a yamadori trunk minimizes surface roots; in this case, we could show them off.
John and Travis also discover a big ball of wood beneath the base
Our approximate location on the stone
And the finished composition. The root mass was attached with wires snaked through drilled holes in the rock. This has a pretty big wingspan, about 4′ / 1.2m . At this juncture we didn’t do much pruning, though the branches will come in slightly later. Vine Maple is a species that tends to be loose and airy, hence not much effort to contain that feeling. We rubbed live moss over the muck (the light brown area), which usually colonizes completely in about a year. Mounded surfaces like this are the only situation I prefer the creeping moss, which not only holds together soil best, but is also low in height and doesn’t add to the visual mass of the soil / container unit. For a skinny-trunked bunjin like this, keeping that mass minimal while having enough roots to keep the tree happy is a tricky balance.