Over the years we have collected probably hundreds of Japanese larch , the trees have mostly been stunted by growing in frost hollows where late spring frosts have continually cut back the early growth of the trees. They will have ranged in age from perhaps 10 years to 40 years and the potential has varied as well of course.
This particular tree was collected in 2002 and this first photo shows it a year later at the end of the winter of 2003, in a wooden box which allowed a suitably sized root ball to be collected with the tree.
The golf ball give you an idea of the scale. The photo also shows the relatively young bark typical of our yamadori Larix, which contrasts with the aged appearance of much of the European larch [ Larix decidua ] collected in recent times from other European mountain districts.
The tree remained for sale here until about a year ago when one of our regular customers purchased the tree. In the intervening period all I initially did was routine pruning back to encourage back budding. At some point I transferred it from the box into a large mica drum pot. As the tree had failed to sell , eventually I got it into the studio and did some basic carving using machine tools begin the tree on its journey to becoming a bonsai.
The photo above [ kindly given to me by B. Eejit ] shows the bonsai with some basic branch shaping carried out by it’s new owner as well as the carving that I had carried out previously. The tree had remained at the nursery largely I think because the size made it difficult to transport but it was also convenient for the new owner to progress work on the bonsai here during his regular visits. We got a bit of a surprise to receive his request a week or two ago to exchange the tree for something smaller ! Always seeking to have satisfied customers we agreed. Looking at the tree again one day I thought that I saw an interesting different image from that so far envisaged, one that involved more deadwood and something of a windswept style, I set too one day recently to make the changes.
Quite pleased with the result I decided that I would like to keep the tree and add it to the Willowbog Collection. As a consequence of this I have re-potted it into one of our ” special ” pots. There is , of course, still lots to do , deadwood to refine and branches to re-position and shape as well as masses of ramification to develop. It is always a bit special to exploit the potential of a bonsai collected by oneself and I will enjoy this journey and will update the blog with the way the tree evolves over the next few years.