Never Wired Lodgepole Bunjin Revisit

Wires and conifers are assumed bedfellows…at least, I’d always assumed wires were needed for styling pines and junipers and the like. Seeking to challenge my assumptions, for years I kept an eye out for one that might not need wiring. In 2013 I thought I’d found a likely specimen, and collected it. 

Styling this Lodgepole Pine, Pinus contorta subsp. murrayana, was featured in a post from 2016. The following photo essay shows its development in the 5 years since then, without using wire. 


Here’s the Lodgepole Pine in 2014 one year after collection, in our box cradle for its future potted inclination. Keeping it in this inclination allowed a growing attitude for shoots. The thinking was, not having wire to position branches, light could at least assist positioning the new shoots.


2016, with extraneous branches removed using our primary styling tool, a concave pruner. This was a lot like reductive sculpture…


Carmen, my apprentice, removing old needles in August 2021. 


Closeup of foliage pads, 2021. 


Here’s the Lodgepole today, August 2021. 45 ” / 114 cm. No wire has ever touched this tree (well, save tying it to the pot…). I’ve enjoyed the soft foliar effect and the natural bunjin informality in the branching. Choosing which tree to try this with was the patient part. That took a while. The only hard part was choosing which branches to cut off, and for that story here’s the original post.

Comic Breather:

Here’s a fairly typical 3-way text exchange with Carmen, John and I trying to sort something out. Just in case anyone is still harboring false notions of what a bonsai professional’s life is like: 


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  1. jdceng says:

    Hi Michael,

    Nice I love it is my favourite style Literati, but I would be placing it under the Chinese style of Penjing Literati.

    Whereas Bunjin is a Japanese style and a lot heavier in the trunk department and has heavier formal padding. &mid=2247496091&idx=2&sn=653deb721358e9abe6c23cd212e40509&chksm=ced33771f9a4be6713e8e02ff444c29b92f50a8fb1b8fd4df063fed51c92da408a71839a8050&scene=132&fbclid=IwAR3tf4eullSssYCFUzokwct4slCGj8IDGqGHXfeRhv57G03S5WMMs35C4l4#wechat_redirect


    JC (President)

    M:0419 991 946


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