Posts Tagged ‘Goyomatsu’

Back along Mr Tanaka came back with a new kifu sized white pine.


The tree is setsu-goyo/grafted on to black pine base which many of us are familiar with being as many are exported around the world. Favored for their strength and size. This one however is very old, older than many you see and sets it apart some what. 

This tree also belonged to a famous collecter and customer who has since passed, Mr Ryoji Fukui. A  customer of shokuji-en(Ishi-San), formally residing in Nagoya and now Inazawa, it was the most famous nursery in Nagoya. Shokuji-en is famous for shohin bonsai and  Fukui-San was a shohin collector but, also had some very nice big tree’s.

There is a published book of Fukui-San’s tree’s but, this tree does not feature in it. The book contains many we’ll known tree’s including Kokufu winner’s.


I set about working the tree according to Mr Tanaka’s instructions with a slight front change. I had remove a branch at the front to show the trunk. 


It had been some time since the tree had been worked, was leggy and really needed a structure set. The tree also could do with a slight tilting to the right and in the future a more suitable pot change to show the real power of the tree. I look forward to seeing the pot selection Mr Tananka chooses and how much it will change feel of the tree in the near future.

This white pine came to Aichi-en about two years ago, it has since been re-potted to change the angle a little and left to get healthy. Mr Tanaka got for a good price and knew with a little work it would make a nice tree. It’s old and has some cool shari including some interesting ita-shari at the top. This is quite unusual with white pines and more commonly found in Shimpaku/Chinese junipers.
As I set about wiring it, I tried to consider the tree and its style. Being slanting with a slight bunjin feeling, I wanted to make the pads powerful enough to fit in with the chunky trunk but, not so heavy that it lost its mountain, literati feeling. I kept the main branch as one pad and tried to break the tree up more further up.


For me the tree at the moment looks too clean for its style. It should look more natural  more bunjin style foliage pads but, for now this was development work and setting the structure. Give the tree one or two years growth the pads will naturally soften up.

One day before Mr Tanaka was set to go to Kokufu he asked me to style this tree for the sales area.


At the time it was just before we watered, it was close to lunch and I need to leave early that day (about 3:00) for personal reasons. Mr Tanaka and the guy’s were heading off to a customer’s for work after lunch.

The tree had been bought previously bought by Mr Tanaka on-line. It is old, good leaf and many things going for it. The only problem with the tree from an earlier inspection is its bad branch structure. Knowing this and with my time limit I knew my work was cut out for me (apprentice pressure). 

So I set about wiring, cleaning the tree and pulling old needles as I went. Quickly we got called for lunch but, I ate fast and I went back to work straight after (not really any time for a lunch break).

I didn’t have so much time to pontificate about which branches to cut or keep but, I tried to keep to Aichi-en style and improve structure best I could with still trying to make the tree look nice.

This was the final result.


I thought that it didn’t turn out too bad but, Mr Tanaka decided not too take it. Not sure if this was because he felt it wasn’t good enough or just decided to keep it. 

Recently I was given this exposed root White pine to wire. It is a customers tree that he wanted wired.

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For an exposed root I think it has character, it’s pretty old and nice small leaf quality.

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I must say that I like the tree and I’m glad I was given it to work.

Recently I was give a goyomatsu/white pine to wire for Meifu-ten baiten/sales area. White pine’s need a lot of wiring at the best of times, this was no exception and was certainly the most wiring I’ve had to do on a tree yet. I missed my planned time to finish the tree but, not by too much. I was pleased to get it done in the end.

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I just hope that it finds a new owner at Meifu-ten this weekend.

Working here in Japan we do a lot of work on different species and you quickly get to know the characteristics of them. Although the work is pretty much the same process of cleaning up, wiring & styling they are all slightly different. All species have their plus point’s and negative points but, certainly my out right favourite has come to be goyomatsu/japanese white pine. I find them a pleasure to work with and very much enjoy styling them.
The minus points of this species is it has a tendency to be weaker and you can’t push them as hard as a black pine for instance. Also to make a white pine look nice after a styling really requires a dense tree. Especially if it is good needle quality and small needles. Otherwise they look very sparse and it can be difficult to define the pads.

Here is an example of a tree I wired where it was too sparse for the size of the tree to make it shine in a photo after a styling.

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Once I had removed the old needles and dead branches, on most of the tree, there wasn’t a huge amount to work with. The main branch wasn’t so bad but, most of the rest of the tree had far to little branching to make it look nice.

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As you can see some area’s don’t look so bad but, others there isn’t enough definition around the pads. Even though it doesn’t look so great, the reason I decided to share this is to show the importance of the work. The main aim is to set the structure and spread each tip out evenly. So in the future as they divide they will fill out. When the tree is sparse you can make the pads smaller by putting the tips closer together and making more defined pads. This is more show wiring and not development because you hamper the growth of the next push. The less space/light the buds will get and the tree won’t fill out.

This is a root over rock white pine. Not a very exciting tree but the foliage quality is top-notch. In fact too good as Oyakata put it, it meant that the needles are very brittle which, made it awkward to wire.

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This little guy was just a touch up job with a few strands of wire. Cute little tree.

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I didn’t re-pot it and although it is an improvement on the terracotta training pot, I think there is a better match for it. For me I would prefer a simpler pot.

This is the last tree for the post.

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Oyakata had pre-bent the branches earlier in the year (they were very horizontal) around late winter/early spring time, I think. It was safer to do it then and wire later. Bending and a full wire would be pretty dangerous then, as the tree was weak.
The branches were now set and it was ready for wiring. This tree was very dense, so had a lot to use.

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I don’t think it turned out too bad in the end.

Thanks for reading.

It has been a while since I posted anything, for which I’m sorry but I have busy as always.

A while ago we were cleaning up the white pines on the nursery. This entailed removing old needles from 2 years ago on weaker/not so dense tree’s. These could be easily pulled gently with your hands, as they were turning yellow and going to fall in a while. The reason for doing this was to take them off before they turn brown, just to keep them looking nice.
On stronger/very dense tree’s we were cutting needles from two years ago and cutting the previous years needles. The reasoning behind this is to let some light in into the inner branches/thin them out. By cutting the previous years needles instead of pulling, it means that any cluster of needles with a bud in it that will potentially grow, will hold, the others will fall off, thus preserving any potential buds.

The two tree’s here, were just case of pulling the old needles from two years ago.

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It is a simple process but, just to clarify here’s some examples of what I did.

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A shoot untouched.

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The same shoot after needle removal.

Some of the shoots had old needles and hadn’t grown. The shoots of these that the needles came off easily, I cut off as they were going to die anyway.

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This was the tree after it’s clean up.

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This is the second pine, with the same process.

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Whilst I was working on it Oyakata took a look at and chopped off about three branches, which saved me some work and he explained how he wanted to change the angle of the tree making it an informal upright instead of cascade. The branches were too long as it was.

I made some jin’s were they were cut off.

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The tree after.

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A little while later Oyakata re-potted the tree and used the existing wiring to re-style the tree.

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The tree was then exhibited at the recent Nagoya castle show and was sold their to collector Kito-San.

Thanks for reading.