Pierneef (flat top) rain tree discouragement

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Pierneef (flat top) rain tree discouragement

Post  reg-i on Thu Sep 01, 2011 4:44 am

Well I've seen pictures of Eric Wigerts pierneef style rain tree and thought I could make one similar I got a really good start but when I actually seen his in person I was very very discouraged I have alot of growth ahead of me to even be close oh and by the way this is my first post

these first couple of pics are mine



And here's Eric's, notice the structure in the canopy






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Re: Pierneef (flat top) rain tree discouragement

Post  reg-i on Thu Sep 01, 2011 4:48 am

Oh and the little tree next to the big one is part of the root so all one tree.

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Re: Pierneef (flat top) rain tree discouragement

Post  Ryan on Thu Sep 01, 2011 4:53 am

Hello and welcome,

I see a major problem in your tree. And a major difference between yours and Eriks. His BRT has lots of movement in the trunk, yours lacks movement and actually appears to have quite a good deal of reverse taper. If I were you I would ground layer somewhere mid trunk, or wherever the reverse taper stops.

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Re: Pierneef (flat top) rain tree discouragement

Post  reg-i on Thu Sep 01, 2011 5:04 am

its an illusion the trunk turns and flatens at the bottom i'll take another pic at another angle tomorrow

I agree with the movement issue though.

and let me remind everyone I just started this tree

reg-i
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Re: Pierneef (flat top) rain tree discouragement

Post  fiona on Thu Sep 01, 2011 8:49 am

Welcome to the forum. It would be interesting to see the tree from other angles just to see if you have better options for a front as I think your illusion of taper is always going to be there at that angle.

Can we assume from your somewhat unflattering comment about him (since removed by me) that you are a friend of Eric's? If so, why not ask him if you and he can work together on your tree - that way he can explain how he achieved the branch structure you highlight. Working with someone is always better than trying to read it up in books or interpret second-hand advice on here.

Maybe you'd also care to tell us what level your own bonsai knowledge and experience is so we don't assume you are a beginner only to discover you are in fact quite experienced.

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Re: Pierneef (flat top) rain tree discouragement

Post  Guest on Thu Sep 01, 2011 10:25 am

Hi Reg-i,

You have certainly set yourself a high standard to achieve, Eric's tree is stunning.

The way the growth lines dances up & down the trunk reminds me of many trees here in Australia, what looks like a big tall straight trunk from afar, is one that dances up close.

As your tree grows & matures it too will develop similar movement. Thankyou for posting pics of your tree and also Eric's. I could lie under the bench all day to look at that Very Happy

Matt

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Re: Pierneef (flat top) rain tree discouragement

Post  Billy M. Rhodes on Thu Sep 01, 2011 11:24 am

A couple of comments:

1. Time. I would grow your tree in a larger pot to get the trunk to swell, but keep pruning the top. I would put it in a 5 gallon black plastic pot with good potting soil (Metromix).

2. Ramification, constant pruning, these trees grow very fast and constant pruning can give you ramification fairly quickly.

3. Are you aware that the Brazilian Raintree was introduced by Jupiter Bonsai now run by Allen Carver. His grandfather started it all. (I note this because, Allen's place is a lot closer to you than Eric's.)


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Re: Pierneef (flat top) rain tree discouragement

Post  carlos on Thu Sep 01, 2011 1:27 pm

MattA wrote:Hi Reg-i,

You have certainly set yourself a high standard to achieve, Eric's tree is stunning.

The way the growth lines dances up & down the trunk reminds me of many trees here in Australia, what looks like a big tall straight trunk from afar, is one that dances up close.

As your tree grows & matures it too will develop similar movement. Thankyou for posting pics of your tree and also Eric's. I could lie under the bench all day to look at that Very Happy

Matt

High standard....not really... Pithecellobium tortum trees grow very fast. The contorted-convuluted trunk on these develop with time. Even if you do not have movement on the trunk, if you place the tree on a larger pot, you will encourage growth to the point where you augment your design/styling options. Two things you have to consider: 1) The fact that branches grow quickly; 2) Big cuts take a long time to heal

If you look ate Erik's tree, branches have been grown outward and forced to ramify. They were not grown periodically as to induce gradual taper. From a distance, the tree looks ok. Upon closer inspection, there are several flaws....(i am sure that now we will have a hemmorage of replies stating that the high quality and craftsmanship opf the ower, so on and so forth)

Keep you head up and don't be discouraged. Billy's suggestion of visiting Jupiter bonsai is a great choice. Allen Carver, grandson of Florida Bonsai pioneer and original Rain Tree bonsai developer Mr. Jim Moody, will certainly give you a great perspective on the proper cultivation techniques of these trees. On another note, Mr. Jim Moody introduced these trees to bonsai a looooong time ago....via seeds.......

Carlos

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Re: Pierneef (flat top) rain tree discouragement

Post  reg-i on Thu Sep 01, 2011 1:33 pm

I am aware of jupiter bonsai I mostly work with Robert Pinder at Dragon tree bonsai we have a good time out at his place he has a very good amount of rain trees we started a bunch of seedlings this spring I have never seen anything grow so fast some of mine which I grow in clay pots already have little trunks as big around as my thumb they definitely grow much faster from seed then cuttings. I have a pretty good collection of them and I was just kidding about the Eric comment I try to have a sense of humor. When it comes to bonsai im fairly new well at least 6 years or so but with anything I do I research and find people I can learn from my horticulture is very very good my style is questionable but I give it my best and try to have as much fun as possible. Eric has since emailed me about my start on this tree with some tips that I will post later cause im outta time I have to go pick up some lava rock at durastone bonsai and there closed today so I have to meet the owner at a certain time

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Re: Pierneef (flat top) rain tree discouragement

Post  -Brent- on Thu Sep 01, 2011 1:36 pm

I tend to agree with Billy.

In terms of the style of Eric's tree, with all due respect I personally feel it is more a Pierneef (open umbrella) style, than a conventional "flat-top" style where the foliage at the top really is almost as flat as a ruler, replicating certain Acacia's growing in the African wilderness.

Regards
Brent

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Re: Pierneef (flat top) rain tree discouragement

Post  Sam Ogranaja on Thu Sep 01, 2011 2:11 pm

carlos wrote:If you look ate Erik's tree, branches have been grown outward and forced to ramify. They were not grown periodically as to induce gradual taper. From a distance, the tree looks ok. Upon closer inspection, there are several flaws....(i am sure that now we will have a hemmorage of replies stating that the high quality and craftsmanship opf the ower, so on and so forth) Carlos

Hey Carlos, I'm wondering what flaws you see in this tree. I've seen this tree many times over the past few years and it's extremely impressive how far this tree has come in the past few years.

I would really appreciate it if you can point some of the flaws out because I have a tree I'm training in this style and one that actually Erik has that he is training in this style and your comments might really help me out to avoid some mistakes. My tree is nowhere near this far.

I'll post a couple of pictures to see what you guys think. Keep in mind, this is not MY work. I say this only to give credit where it is due, and it is due with Erik, whom I consider one of the best bonsai artists I've ever met.

June 2010

July 2011

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Re: Pierneef (flat top) rain tree discouragement

Post  Sam Ogranaja on Thu Sep 01, 2011 2:12 pm

And Erik always refers to his tree as a Pierneef style, not flat top.

Have a great weekend everyone!!!!
Sam

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Re: Pierneef (flat top) rain tree discouragement

Post  carlos on Thu Sep 01, 2011 2:30 pm

Sam Ogranaja wrote:
carlos wrote:If you look ate Erik's tree, branches have been grown outward and forced to ramify. They were not grown periodically as to induce gradual taper. From a distance, the tree looks ok. Upon closer inspection, there are several flaws....(i am sure that now we will have a hemmorage of replies stating that the high quality and craftsmanship opf the ower, so on and so forth) Carlos

Hey Carlos, I'm wondering what flaws you see in this tree. I've seen this tree many times over the past few years and it's extremely impressive how far this tree has come in the past few years.

I would really appreciate it if you can point some of the flaws out because I have a tree I'm training in this style and one that actually Erik has that he is training in this style and your comments might really help me out to avoid some mistakes. My tree is nowhere near this far.

I'll post a couple of pictures to see what you guys think. Keep in mind, this is not MY work. I say this only to give credit where it is due, and it is due with Erik, whom I consider one of the best bonsai artists I've ever met.

June 2010

July 2011

Mr. Ogranaja,

Please look at the pictures of the branch structure. The main stem ofthe trunk is probably 3 to four times thicker that the main branches. The transition between the main trink and the main branches is not gradual: it goes from fat to thin immediately. This is often a problem with trees that have been forced to ramify quickly or what some people like to call quick bonsai. Also, the domed structure of the tree presents no three dimensional quality. It is basically a T shape. If some of the main branches were to bee seen and the canopy were to be sibdivided, the composition will be more mature and the entire tree will be more credible. Right now, the maintenance has been not much different that a hedge. Because of this, the canopy is one big block.

Take a look at the canopy profile of your tree. It goes up, inward-down, back up, so on and so forth. This 3-D effect is waht one sees in mature trees, Savanah Acasias included. Aslo, the "y" shape of the main branches is also one of the features of this particular growing condition or "style". Erik's tree has a good trunk, but it has a lot of room for improovement.

If you like his style it is perfectly acceptable. Remember, there are more experienced people out there. Take in as much information as you can. Evaluate it and then forge your own opinion. What causes an impression on you today, might not be as impressive tommorrow. I am sure that most will agree. When you start the Bonsai Journey, almost everything impresses you. Later on and when your eye sharpens up, you become very picky. Remember, at the end of the day, it is your tree....do what makes you happy....

Carlos

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Re: Pierneef (flat top) rain tree discouragement

Post  carlos on Thu Sep 01, 2011 2:37 pm

Sam Ogranaja wrote:And Erik always refers to his tree as a Pierneef style, not flat top.

Have a great weekend everyone!!!!
Sam

If the name of the style refers to Jacobus Hendrik Pierneef, i belive it is a little stupid...

carlos
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Re: Pierneef (flat top) rain tree discouragement

Post  Tom Simonyi on Thu Sep 01, 2011 5:30 pm

Knowing this is not a traditional species for bonsai, I have been training it in the flat-top style.
Tom

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Re: Pierneef (flat top) rain tree discouragement

Post  Sam Ogranaja on Thu Sep 01, 2011 9:35 pm

Thanks for your quick response Carlos, That's what I was looking for. I'm not sure if you thought I was attacking you, but I wasn't. I'm genuinely trying to learn as much as possible and your comment was contrary to what I thought and I was curious what you saw that I wasn't. Your answer explained your view very well.

I'm a beginner and you're absolutely right, in that when you first start out everything impresses you. That's why I was asking your opinion, to train my eye. Some trees attack your senses with their strong aura or character, so much so that the untrained eye doesn't see the flaws in it. Of course, I'm not sure that there are any flawless trees. One of my other favorite flat-top, Pierneef, whatever style trees is the one by the late Luis Nel.


I'm not sure where I found this picture but hopefully it's OK to post here.

Have a great Labor Day weekend everyone!!!!
Sam

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Re: Pierneef (flat top) rain tree discouragement

Post  Rob Kempinski on Thu Sep 01, 2011 9:46 pm

Sam Ogranaja wrote:Thanks for your quick response Carlos, That's what I was looking for. I'm not sure if you thought I was attacking you, but I wasn't One of my other favorite flat-top, Pierneef, whatever style trees is the one by the late Luis Nel.


I'm not sure where I found this picture but hopefully it's OK to post here.
Sam

I'm sure Luis Nels would love to have him and his tree remembered.
His passing was a very sad loss to the bonsai community.
But do note the excellent branch structure holding up the canopy in Luis' tree. It won a BCI award a few years ago and as a result Luis got to visit our BCI China convention. In fact, that was the last time I saw him alive too, darn.....

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Re: Pierneef (flat top) rain tree discouragement

Post  Justin Hervey on Fri Sep 02, 2011 7:49 am

Interesting discussion, I have to say I'm with Carlos on this one.
'Flat top style' is essentially 'Umbrella thorn style' (google umbrella thorn images and it is clear what artists (bonsai & landscape) are shooting for).
I'm almost waiting for someone to introduce 'juniper style' or 'pine style'.

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Re: Pierneef (flat top) rain tree discouragement

Post  -Brent- on Fri Sep 02, 2011 10:43 am

Agreed Justin - it's a very fine line between the flat-top and Pierneef/ Umbrella styles, but, they are nevertheless two distinct styles, as described by Charles Ceronio in his book Bonsai Styles of the World. It has recently been reprinted and is again available for sale, or was a month ago when I met Charles at the Gauteng regional bonsai meeting in Pretoria.

Quoted from the South African Bonsai Association website:
"Charles Ceronio is one of the leading bonsai growers in Southern Africa. He started bonsai as a young man in 1968 and was the co-founder of the Pretoria Bonsai Kai in 1969 and acted as President for most of the existence of the Kai.
...
Way back in 1980, Charles introduced the South African bonsai enthusiasts to six new African styles at a local South African Convention where he introduced the Baobab style, the Pierneef or Umbrella shaped style, which represent the Thorn trees of Africa, the Flat Top Acacia style, the Wild Fig style, the Bush veldt style and the Elbow style. These styles became very popular in Southern Africa and even in countries with similar plant shapes and species like Brazil and Pakistan. "

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Re: Pierneef (flat top) rain tree discouragement

Post  carlos on Fri Sep 02, 2011 11:47 am

Rob Kempinski wrote:
Sam Ogranaja wrote:Thanks for your quick response Carlos, That's what I was looking for. I'm not sure if you thought I was attacking you, but I wasn't One of my other favorite flat-top, Pierneef, whatever style trees is the one by the late Luis Nel.


I'm not sure where I found this picture but hopefully it's OK to post here.
Sam

I'm sure Luis Nels would love to have him and his tree remembered.
His passing was a very sad loss to the bonsai community.
But do note the excellent branch structure holding up the canopy in Luis' tree. It won a BCI award a few years ago and as a result Luis got to visit our BCI China convention. In fact, that was the last time I saw him alive too, darn.....

Now, this tree is well done!

carlos
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Re: Pierneef (flat top) rain tree discouragement

Post  carlos on Fri Sep 02, 2011 11:56 am

Stickman,

So, publishing makes it legit?

There is no difference between umbrella and pierneef. This is just another gimmick to exotizice something preexisitng. I am sure that Mr. Wigert and others who market this "style" and who are in the business of selling trees use it as a quirk and marketing tool. On another note, precisely this has made the price of Pithecellobium trees go ridiculously up in the past few months (at least in Florida).

Carlos

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Re: Pierneef (flat top) rain tree discouragement

Post  -Brent- on Fri Sep 02, 2011 12:22 pm

Carlos,

It's a matter of opinion my friend. Do we really want to get into what makes ANYTHING "legit" or not? I don't think so.

I was merely providing supporting information from one particular, well known and respected source. The other source is precisely what I see with my very own two eyes, in the wild/ bushveld/ highveld, whatever you want to call these area's in my backyard. Simply put, certain acacia's grow a true flat top, there is no way you or anybody else can debate that.

So lets just put it down to a difference of opinion which everyone is entitled to, and get over it. It's not worth the effort to continue debating this.



-Brent-
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Re: Pierneef (flat top) rain tree discouragement

Post  Sam Ogranaja on Fri Sep 02, 2011 12:52 pm

Stickman wrote:Carlos,

It's a matter of opinion my friend. Do we really want to get into what the make ANYTHING "legit" or not? I don't think so.

I was merely providing supporting information from one particular, well known and respected source. The other source is precisely what I see with my very own two eyes, in the wild/ bushveld/ highveld, whatever you want to call these area's in my backyard. Simply put, certain acacia's grow a true flat top, there is no way you or anybody else can debate that.

So lets just put it down to a difference of opinion which everyone is entitled to, and get over it. It's not worth the effort to continue debating this.

I agree with Stickman's comment. Charles Ceronio is a well respected source in the community. If this discussion takes a turn toward style legitimacy, I'm getting out of this conversation.

While I can't account on Erik's conversations or marketing ploys or gimmicks with other people, I can account for my own conversations with him, and Erik has NEVER marketed any particular tree or style to me. Everything I've ever bought from him was my own choice and he wasn't even a part of the selection process. I can also further attest that the reason the price of raintrees has gone up is because of the economic principle of "supply and demand". Brussels Bonsai and Bonsai West has cleaned Erik out. Last time I was there he must have had 50 - 100 Raintrees set aside for shipping and only had 8 or 9 to sell for himself. I saw much better specimens on the ones that were reserved, but they were already sold. The two times prior to this last time I went, he didn't even have any raintrees to sell. This has been happening to him for the past three years. Demand goes up, price goes up. My friends that don't know anything about plants love my Raintrees. They love the idea of the open leaves during the day and closed at night. They say it reminds them of a prayer plant and have asked me where to get them.

Stickman and Carlos are both right. I'm learning this bonsai thing is a matter of opinion.

Can anyone give guidance to myself and Red-i as to how this style should be built? The main difference I see between Erik's and Luis's tree is you can see more of the branch structure in Luis's tree. There's also some separation in Luis's canopy and more branches are used to build it. Does Charles's book explain this?

Have a great weekend everyone!!!!
Sam

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Re: Pierneef (flat top) rain tree discouragement

Post  carlos on Fri Sep 02, 2011 1:13 pm

Stickman wrote:Carlos,

It's a matter of opinion my friend. Do we really want to get into what makes ANYTHING "legit" or not? I don't think so.

I was merely providing supporting information from one particular, well known and respected source. The other source is precisely what I see with my very own two eyes, in the wild/ bushveld/ highveld, whatever you want to call these area's in my backyard. Simply put, certain acacia's grow a true flat top, there is no way you or anybody else can debate that.

So lets just put it down to a difference of opinion which everyone is entitled to, and get over it. It's not worth the effort to continue debating this.



As a matter of fact, the do not grow that way by themselves. These trees are grazed upon periodically. Over the years and as they get taller, they continue to be grazed upon by larger herbivorous animals. In you case, giraffes and elephants. As a result, the trees are devoid of branches up to the top third. My point is, that this does not happen by chance. In the Caribbean region, there are acasias present and of the same species as in Africa. The main difference resides in the fact that their trunks bifurcate from the main stem and much lower. Their canopy is also umbrella shaped.

Do you see any similarity between the so called 'pierneef' style and a broom shape? Perhaps removind the bottom third of the upward branches?

Carlos

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Re: Pierneef (flat top) rain tree discouragement

Post  carlos on Fri Sep 02, 2011 1:19 pm

Sam Ogranaja wrote:
Stickman wrote:Carlos,

It's a matter of opinion my friend. Do we really want to get into what the make ANYTHING "legit" or not? I don't think so.

I was merely providing supporting information from one particular, well known and respected source. The other source is precisely what I see with my very own two eyes, in the wild/ bushveld/ highveld, whatever you want to call these area's in my backyard. Simply put, certain acacia's grow a true flat top, there is no way you or anybody else can debate that.

So lets just put it down to a difference of opinion which everyone is entitled to, and get over it. It's not worth the effort to continue debating this.

I agree with Stickman's comment. Charles Ceronio is a well respected source in the community. If this discussion takes a turn toward style legitimacy, I'm getting out of this conversation.

While I can't account on Erik's conversations or marketing ploys or gimmicks with other people, I can account for my own conversations with him, and Erik has NEVER marketed any particular tree or style to me. Everything I've ever bought from him was my own choice and he wasn't even a part of the selection process. I can also further attest that the reason the price of raintrees has gone up is because of the economic principle of "supply and demand". Brussels Bonsai and Bonsai West has cleaned Erik out. Last time I was there he must have had 50 - 100 Raintrees set aside for shipping and only had 8 or 9 to sell for himself. I saw much better specimens on the ones that were reserved, but they were already sold. The two times prior to this last time I went, he didn't even have any raintrees to sell. This has been happening to him for the past three years. Demand goes up, price goes up. My friends that don't know anything about plants love my Raintrees. They love the idea of the open leaves during the day and closed at night. They say it reminds them of a prayer plant and have asked me where to get them.

Stickman and Carlos are both right. I'm learning this bonsai thing is a matter of opinion.

Can anyone give guidance to myself and Red-i as to how this style should be built? The main difference I see between Erik's and Luis's tree is you can see more of the branch structure in Luis's tree. There's also some separation in Luis's canopy and more branches are used to build it. Does Charles's book explain this?

Have a great weekend everyone!!!!
Sam

Sam,

I am afraid that you are wrong. One hundred percent of Mr. Wigert's Youtube videos are a marketing tool to sell trees. He is a self promoter, period. Is there a problem with that? No or maybe (if you are trying hard to protray yourself as an artist). If it brings him business it is perfectly understandable, but don't tell me it is not about the business.

Carlos

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