Bonsai Study Group Forum

Species Specific => Shimpaku Juniper Bonsai Discussion => Topic started by: John Kirby on August 19, 2009, 12:59 PM

Title: Shohin/Kifu Itoigawa Shimpaku
Post by: John Kirby on August 19, 2009, 12:59 PM
This is a Kifu (maybe shohin if the Jin gets shortened) itoigawa shimpaku that I purchased from Larry Leone in Texas in 2006. It is a very gnarly twisted plant that I have wired, Mike Hagedorn wired and styled in 08 and Akio Kondo wired and styled this month. This tree has always been a bit difficult because it wants to act like a slant or a semicascade and I really want it to be more of an informal upright. The tree has flowed heavily to the right, but each styling has brought it back more to the center. I would like to eventually show this tree, just to have a twisty juniper out there. Anyway, I know some folks are critical of these twisty little devils, calling them contrived, I however view this as a well done, yet highly stylized tree, where the foliage is finally starting to catch up with the trunk.

Any comments or ideas?

John
(Pictures are front, right, back, left, views. Thanks Boon for the nice pictures!).

Title: Re: Shohin/Kifu Itoigawa Shimpaku
Post by: MatsuBonsai on August 19, 2009, 01:27 PM
John,

I really enjoy this tree.  Going from the feet of the pot, has the front changed?  Are you planning on keeping the left side of the tree tight to show the jin(s) peeking through, or do you think you might all it to grow out more?
Title: Re: Shohin/Kifu Itoigawa Shimpaku
Post by: John Kirby on August 19, 2009, 03:25 PM
Yes it is turned about 15-20 degrees. The foliage needs to remain somewhat spare just to keep it from looking to heavy and static.

John
Title: Re: Shohin/Kifu Itoigawa Shimpaku
Post by: AlexV on August 19, 2009, 03:57 PM
I always liked that little tree, but the new styling really sets it off.  Akio did a really nice job.  At the size it is at, it might be really nice accenting a shohin stand.  Not sure what they call the "odd tree out" of a shohin display.  It seems like reducing it to shohin size might end up making the foliage into 1 solid mass, whereas it might stay more broken into pads as a slightly larger tree.

The small twisted Junipers seem to be one of those touch stones, people either love them or hate them depending on if they like stylized trees.  Or to what degree.

Thanks for the pics!

Alex
Title: Re: Shohin/Kifu Itoigawa Shimpaku
Post by: bwaynef on April 05, 2010, 03:35 PM
I've been searching around looking at these yamadori-esque junipers and came to this one.  I reworked the picture and thought I'd share.
Title: Re: Shohin/Kifu Itoigawa Shimpaku
Post by: John Kirby on April 05, 2010, 11:23 PM
Huh?
Title: Re: Shohin/Kifu Itoigawa Shimpaku
Post by: akeppler on April 05, 2010, 11:51 PM
He means he worked on the clarity and color saturation.

This is a fine example of a very fine shohin juniper. Even with the jin I think it's still shohin. Does this cultivar do better more sparse like this? I have one that needs rejuvinating as much of the foilage stalled a few years back due to wrong pinching out of the growing season. Ahh ahh ahh!

Thanks, Al
Title: Re: Shohin/Kifu Itoigawa Shimpaku
Post by: John Kirby on April 06, 2010, 08:39 AM
Al,
Actually have been trying to get the foliage tighter and denser- and as I result I "pinched and pruned" the lightly lignified areas too much, pushing it to juvenile. Repotted it the first week in March, I did my usual moderately aggressive repotting and Boon looked at me and said "not enough" I thought I had taken too much off, then he took the tree and started working up under the base, and out (over the next few minutes) came a small pile of decomposed junk and akadama- so the first half (the front) of the clean out is dones, and the second half will happen the next time it is repotted. I thought I had done a pretty good job when repotting two years ago, obviously I hadn't worked it hard enough. So, I believe that the tree has been sparse due to the fact that I hadn't given it the best chance to grow more effectively ("Being happy in the pot"). I imagine that it will be much denser over the next year or two.

I find this kind of paradoxical in a way, because I always work my pines (by the standards of many in american bonsai) fairly aggressively, and even the collected junipers as well. Now, I have a visual reminder to keep after root health at the base of these little fellows as well.
John
Title: Re: Shohin/Kifu Itoigawa Shimpaku
Post by: bwaynef on April 06, 2010, 08:42 AM
Huh?

I adjusted the "levels" (essentially clarity and saturation as Al said, brightening it and removing the greenish hue) and cropped it closer to the tree.  I may've sharpened it as well (which accounts for its contrasty-ness).

Have any earlier pictures?  I've been reading a lot on the creation of these deadwood yamadori twisty junipers. Any tips?
Title: Re: Shohin/Kifu Itoigawa Shimpaku
Post by: cbobgo on April 06, 2010, 03:26 PM
I like this style of trees as well and have come up with a term for them that I think fits really well:

"cultured yamadori"

- bob
Title: Re: Shohin/Kifu Itoigawa Shimpaku
Post by: John Kirby on April 06, 2010, 03:43 PM
Jim Gremel calls them and the process for making them  "Yamadori in a pot". I think Boon had the fluorecent lights on, added to natural light and possibly some flash- result: Green hue.

JOhn
Title: Re: Shohin/Kifu Itoigawa Shimpaku
Post by: M.B. on April 08, 2010, 01:52 PM
I personally like the back better. It shows a little more of the deadwood (which I love), doesn't have the large "in your face" coil of live vein that I think creates a bit of reverse taper towards the bottom. But then picking a front is one of the hardest things I struggle with in bonsai and pretty much miss the mark everytime.
I love these twisty junipers and yours is beautiful John.
Mary B.
Title: Re: Shohin/Kifu Itoigawa Shimpaku
Post by: John Kirby on April 13, 2010, 10:55 PM
Mary, the range of front's is limited on this tree because of it's forward movement in the trunk, if you wanted to make the back the front, it would be a very significant exercise. This tree was initially being designed by the previous owner to be a strong slant to the right, it is now a better balanced tree as an informal upright. Give it 10 years, it ought to be a pretty good little tree.

John
Title: Re: Shohin/Kifu Itoigawa Shimpaku
Post by: M.B. on April 15, 2010, 07:54 PM
Oh John, I'm sure it will be more than a "pretty good little tree" in your hands. Can't wait to see it progress.
Mary B.
Title: Re: Shohin/Kifu Itoigawa Shimpaku
Post by: akeppler on April 16, 2010, 01:04 AM
Hi John, After reading your post I decided to thin mine out and start over on the foliage pads. Mine had gone juvinile also since I worked it hard over a number of years and did not work it during the correct time of the growing season.

Took off about 2/3 of the foliage and rewired it for shape. The apex had to be reworked since it was growing sideways and had not been wired. Now everything is good to go. Now all I have to do is get it back to the way it used to be. This is Itoigawa also.

Front, left, back and right side.
Title: Re: Shohin/Kifu Itoigawa Shimpaku
Post by: John Kirby on April 16, 2010, 07:45 AM
Al, nice twisty little juniper. Did you start this on as a cutting? It has great movementand branch placement.

When you work with Boon (or any, I believe, of the good Japanese trained Juniper guys), he talks about pruning, not pinching, to form pads with great depth and structure. Then once you have the pad structure the way you like, pinch to increase the density and improve the outline of the pad.  This sounds so simple, until you try it on the small fine branches you see on these little itoigawas. I ended up pruning way too much green and lightly lignified tissue, so it went Juvenile- just like they will go juvenile if youover pinch them, or in this case green prune or pinch when the tree was stressed already (root work needed to be done).

You are just going to have to look the other way on your nice little tree and let it get strong and watch the foliage revert to mature itoigawa.

John
Title: Re: Shohin/Kifu Itoigawa Shimpaku
Post by: bwaynef on April 16, 2010, 08:46 AM
Hi John, After reading your post I decided to thin mine out and start over on the foliage pads.

Al, it looks like the wire bit in a little on this one.  From what I've read here and elsewhere, I've no doubts that was intentional.  Are you planning to add shari on this one?  When will that process start?
Title: Re: Shohin/Kifu Itoigawa Shimpaku
Post by: John Kirby on January 15, 2012, 05:59 PM
So, put this one in to the BIB show this year, i has progressed nicely, still a ways to go- but it is getting better. I am including pictures from April of 2007, when I got it as a trunk from Marco Invernizzi (Larry Leone), the next picture is from January 2008 after Mike Hagedorn worked on it and then the pictures from last week when Daisaku worked on it. It is planted in a pot of Boon's (old Japanese) that was a gift from Mr. Kamiya during one of his visits.
Title: Re: Shohin/Kifu Itoigawa Shimpaku
Post by: Owen Reich on January 15, 2012, 10:46 PM
Great work.  It may just be me, but it appears the tree is leaning back and away a bit.  I understand the limitations of photos.  IMO a front viewed just a little more from the right may also bring out a little more depth in the design.  The shimpaku is coming along very very well from the initially purchased tree.
Title: Re: Shohin/Kifu Itoigawa Shimpaku
Post by: John Kirby on January 15, 2012, 11:12 PM
Owen, good catch, the tree is turned about 8-10 degrees off center, the pot in the frame gives it away. I expect the show book will have it centered. 5 more years it should be pretty good.
Title: Re: Shohin/Kifu Itoigawa Shimpaku
Post by: Owen Reich on January 16, 2012, 10:32 PM
John, I'm available for children's parties, divorces, and court hearings  :D
Heard you may be at the Kokufu.  I look forward to meeting you there.
Title: Re: Shohin/Kifu Itoigawa Shimpaku
Post by: John Kirby on January 16, 2012, 10:38 PM
Yep, I have a couple of days at the University of Tokyo, returning a visit, then a week or so wandering around in Japan, then over to Beijing/Nanjing to finish up. Should be fun, I am really looking forward to this trip. John
Title: Re: Shohin/Kifu Itoigawa Shimpaku
Post by: Owen Reich on January 16, 2012, 10:53 PM
My email is:  owenbonsai@me.com. If your don't have your whole Japan leg booked I can make some suggestions to tack onto the stops you are making.  Hamarikyu (Imperial Villa site) in the bay area of Tokyo has a nice ume collection and nice pond gardens for starters.
Title: Re: Shohin/Kifu Itoigawa Shimpaku
Post by: John Kirby on January 16, 2012, 11:01 PM
Thanks
Title: Re: Shohin/Kifu Itoigawa Shimpaku
Post by: John Kirby on August 28, 2012, 09:17 PM
Couple of more pictures, before and after, Akio had some extra time and did a rewire and thinning- remember this tree has not been "pinched" the way many folks try and get denser. it has just been on a grow, thin and prune cycle for the past 5 years.

John
Title: Re: Shohin/Kifu Itoigawa Shimpaku
Post by: JRob on August 28, 2012, 09:22 PM
John,

Looking great.

JRob
Title: Re: Shohin/Kifu Itoigawa Shimpaku
Post by: Chrisl on August 29, 2012, 10:14 AM
Coming along very nicely John.  Though for me, I liked It a bit more when I saw more of the jins that we're seen from first photo. But I like the foliage pad development a lot. Just wish I could see more jins. I'm sure this is a matter of personal taste though.  Really nice shimpaku!
Title: Re: Shohin/Kifu Itoigawa Shimpaku
Post by: John Kirby on August 29, 2012, 11:04 AM
You mean back when it was an ugly slant? When the tree is in front of you, you do get the subtle bits and pieces of jins. I find that many of us Americans like thinner foliage to highlight jins, the balance and increased stability of the tree inits current form is much, much better.
Title: Re: Shohin/Kifu Itoigawa Shimpaku
Post by: John Romano on August 29, 2012, 12:12 PM
Looking sweet John!  :)
Title: Re: Shohin/Kifu Itoigawa Shimpaku
Post by: John Kirby on August 29, 2012, 09:50 PM
Thanks John.

Mike Hagedorn has a great piece on Juniper foliage management- just like decandling black pines, earning the technique can lead to rapid improvement and long lived trees.

http://crataegus.com/2012/08/26/how-to-pinch-junipers (http://crataegus.com/2012/08/26/how-to-pinch-junipers)
Title: Re: Shohin/Kifu Itoigawa Shimpaku
Post by: Chrisl on August 30, 2012, 12:42 PM
You mean back when it was an ugly slant? When the tree is in front of you, you do get the subtle bits and pieces of jins. I find that many of us Americans like thinner foliage to highlight jins, the balance and increased stability of the tree inits current form is much, much better.

No, not the first one. I agree it wasn't pretty lol. But for me I like the current foliage mass after Akio worked on it, but my eye is lead upward by the trunk and jins. Maybe you can see this up close, but a small Jin more visible on the apex would lead my eye all the way up the tree and then onward to the foliage. 
Title: Re: Shohin/Kifu Itoigawa Shimpaku
Post by: Elliott on August 31, 2012, 04:19 PM
Hey Owen, John
 There is a pretty good chance I will be at kokufu (we call it cocopuffs) this year. I'm going with my teacher who is going there to help his teacher, Sakarai. I hope we can all meet up if I have had a chance to pick up my eyeballs up off the ground after they have shot out of my skull from seeing real Japanese show specimens for the first time.
Title: Re: Shohin/Kifu Itoigawa Shimpaku
Post by: John Kirby on August 31, 2012, 04:57 PM
Very cool, it will change your bonsai life. The trees are truly orders of magnitude better in person than on the printed page. John
Title: Re: Shohin/Kifu Itoigawa Shimpaku
Post by: John Kirby on February 23, 2014, 09:15 PM
One more repot and continued development. Moreshohon, I think.
Title: Re: Shohin/Kifu Itoigawa Shimpaku
Post by: Leo in NE Illinois on March 05, 2014, 03:39 PM
Wow, that is nice. Inspiring.

Early in this thread, you said you did not want a slant style, and I was tempted to ask "Why not exploit what the tree seems to want to do?", but as this 2014 photo shows, you did not turn it into a bolt upright, there is beautiful movement to the right, a slight slant, but beautiful flow and movement. Well done.

About the jins. I am certain the jins are easier to see, and have more visual impact in person. There is subtly in the way they are partially obscured by foliage. Well done.

Now I need to look at some of my rough stock and see if I can apply anything I've learned from this post and the excellent links in it.