The Joy Of Yamadori

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The Joy Of Yamadori

Post  gman on Wed Jan 16, 2013 5:03 pm

Didn't know where to put this...... just some ramblings of an old' you've been warned Very Happy
Like many of you during this time of the year ……I’ve been working on my trees recently….the last few weeks it’s been a focus on some of the yamadori that was collected in the fall of 2010. So I just wanted to share my thoughts to see if others do the same……or think along the same lines.

The more I experience and explore the mysteries and joy of yamadori the more the rest of my trees suffer….or maybe the collection is just getting too big (that’s the wife’s take on it .lol).

Unfolding the sometimes hidden or camouflaged treasure (an unknown tree feature) is somehow profoundly enjoyable and rewarding……….the basic style may have been chosen (or should I say drafted…maybe a design on paper or a gut feeling or a vision -maybe a vert?)……however as you uncover the newest trait you wonder if you can incorporate it… or do you have to disguise it somehow or perhaps…. you find a meaningful use of it which leads the tree towards a more total package/design.

I try not to be too aggressive and just take my time (learned the hard way)…. now I take a few years to totally move a tree into a semi formal pot….. Not really committing to a solid plan because I want to make sure that each new discovery about the tree is considered on its own merits as well as what it brings to the total image…. (adaption over time).

The main focus during these formative years is the trees recuperation and health…. that’s the direction over these early years from mountain to pot, design and styling are secondary. I have to live with it, consider it from all angles…watch how it responds to various treatments….poke around some to see what's lurking about.....and of course keeping it alive and encouraging it to thrive.

Many of my yamadori (mountain hemlocks) were collected with a naturally very thick forest floor (duff, humus)….its cold up there in the mountains so biological activity has a very short season … therefore decomposition is slow…..the litter builds up over hundreds of years…even some of the smaller trees can be ancient.
This organic layer can provide and harbor some hidden accompany plants (herbs and shrubs) which from time to time show their dormant selves……it also has some great insulation qualities so one has to explore what’s hidden under that thick matt ( it can be up to 5-6" = 12-15cm), sometimes it can lead to disappointment (more trunk but reverse taper) but every once in awhile it can sometimes turn into bonsai nirvana.

Making the final design decision can be sometimes a combination of a dozen or so temporary positions. These are the formative years ....each provisional one (each styling stage), being shaped by the new found feature. Hopefully it can be uncovered for all its worth…..and that it enhances the character of the tree and design. A nuance of focal points some bold and central while others are subtle and blend nicely into the composition.

Or maybe I’m just looking at this whole thing too deeply........ .


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Re: The Joy Of Yamadori

Post  Todd Ellis on Wed Jan 16, 2013 11:52 pm

Great post Gman!!! You describe how I approach all of my trees; yamadori or others, with the same inclination to ponder as many possibilities as possible. I don't think you're obsessed - I think you love your trees and this awesome artform!

Todd Ellis

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