Flat Top Style

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Re: Flat Top Style

Post  my nellie on Fri Oct 07, 2011 9:07 am

Robert Steven wrote: .... .... But in my opinion, simply resembling the style will not strong enough to depict the nuance of African nature. Ideal ramification, proper potting and ...other touching is neccessary in order to put them the soul, otherwise, they will end up as the "flat top" style ...
Dear Robert,
In this context and taking advantage of your IBC membership, please let me ask your sound opinion on the following questions of a beginner (me) :
  • How far is the species contributing to this African nature soul? Should the native species alone that naturally have this flat top attribute be used for bonsai?

  • Should other species be "forced" to fit into flat top "style"?

  • Could we say that species having the tendency for a flat top are the naturalistic african style and the others are the "flat top style"?


Much obliged for your input.

my nellie
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Re: Flat Top Style

Post  Robert Steven on Fri Oct 07, 2011 10:51 am

Dear Alexandra,

First of all, when I say flat-top style, there is no negative connotation. For me, style is simply a pose and mimic, but in bonsai, the pose and mimic should pass a certain message. So I don't care about whatever the style as long as it looks beautiful as bonsai.
And when I am talking about the African style, I specifically refer to our general image about the African nature of dry, reddish sands and stones, wide open lands with the relatively flatter top trees (especially the acacia and baobab); but there are many other shapes of trees, different colors of soil, stones and grass or flowers...and there are also pines in certain area.

So, to answer your first question, yes, I think in certain extend, the species contribute to the African nuance, especially the acacia. As their acacia also grows in many different shapes, so we can also design other than flat-top style to portray the African soul using certain design elements including the potting; for instance, reddish sands, shalow and wider pot to suggest the wide open lands etc...

Your second question : "Should other species be "forced" to fit into flat top "style"?"
I don't like the word "forced", but I believe we can style other species to resemble the African flat-top character, like the below picture..it's a ficus. By (simulation) changing the pot, soil and some other little accessories, I think it talks more in African (compare to the original setting)...like an old baobab rather than acacia.

But we must be very careful to design pine with flat-top. Ofcourse we can, but maybe not to depict the African nuance, instead we can portray the Chinese nuance because high in the mountain in China, the pines grow with flat top due to the heavy snow balls..I call this as the morphological aspect..and this was how the Yangpai (Yangzhou) penjing school started....

And I think these also answered to your last question.









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Re: Flat Top Style

Post  my nellie on Fri Oct 07, 2011 11:55 am

My humble thanks for such an explanatory response! I know your time is invaluable.
In fact, you have made some things more clear in my mind and view of "styles".




PS: I wish everyone would give such kind of explanations/answers to our wonderings

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Re: Flat Top Style

Post  Rob Kempinski on Fri Oct 07, 2011 1:05 pm

my nellie wrote:My humble thanks for such an explanatory response! I know your time is invaluable.
In fact, you have made some things more clear in my mind and view of "styles".




PS: I wish everyone would give such kind of explanations/answers to our wonderings

I agree, its a great response to explain that a flat top is actually a versatile style that subsumes many different species and geographic locals and entails the morphology of the branches irrespective of the trunk. Thanks for the great viewpont Robert.


Last edited by Rob Kempinski on Fri Oct 07, 2011 1:07 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Re: Flat Top Style

Post  Russell Coker on Fri Oct 07, 2011 1:06 pm



Very nicely said Robert! Thank you.

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Re: Flat Top Style

Post  Robert Steven on Fri Oct 07, 2011 2:23 pm

Thanks guys.

Just to show you another pictures..a non flat-top acacia in Namibia and a flat-top pine in China. Only with the "subjective touch", you can depict the correct nuance and convey a clear message through bonsai design. Simply resemble the style without proper setting can suggest wrong idea.




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Re: Flat Top Style

Post  Rob Kempinski on Fri Oct 14, 2011 5:39 pm

Robert Steven wrote: flat-top pine in China. Only with the "subjective touch", you can depict the correct nuance and convey a clear message through bonsai design. Simply resemble the style without proper setting can suggest wrong idea.


Thanks for the photo of the flat top pine. Put that in a pot and it is similar to Amy Liang's which launched this discussion.


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Re: Flat Top Style

Post  Guest on Sat Oct 15, 2011 1:14 am

Rob Kempinski wrote:
Robert Steven wrote: flat-top pine in China. Only with the "subjective touch", you can depict the correct nuance and convey a clear message through bonsai design. Simply resemble the style without proper setting can suggest wrong idea.


Thanks for the photo of the flat top pine. Put that in a pot and it is similar to Amy Liang's which launched this discussion.


YUP!
like I said in that thread too, The Amy Liang's bonsai was designed in a particular way like that it was inspired by trees growing near or in a cliff, with primary branches moving away from the shadows of the cliff, then it has a natural tendency to form a "flat top" to maximize sun exposure...and it is not a windswept.

Trees are not confined to the basic forms of bonsai that most people tried to desperately follows.

regards,
jun Smile



Hey FERDIE if you managed to see this, this is one of the pointers I am trying to tell you. Try to look back at the discussion in "Brevard Show.." and then this one, You'll get something out of it. Do not limit yourself in the confines of "basic" bonsai principles. Study natural trees first.
..I think somebody said-" study first what makes a good bonsai a good bonsai" ,but forgot to tell what a good bonsai is- Bonsai is a desperate man's attempt to put nature in a pot and to control nature in a way for his own selfish satisfaction Evil or Very Mad . and if by logic, copied things are good if it resembles what or where it was copied from (definitely not from Japan alone, where trees there where copied from trees of Japan).

Wink



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Re: Flat Top Style

Post  Sam Ogranaja on Sat Oct 15, 2011 2:09 am

Thanks for posting those Robert. Two amazing trees.

Have a great weekend!!!
Sam

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Re: Flat Top Style

Post  marcus watts on Sat Oct 15, 2011 8:24 am

i've just been flicking through John Naka's books and there are many sketches of flat topped and umberella style canopies - they are shown on many trunk styles - straight, informal, slanting, clump, group etc etc and I feel they are basically a branch arrangement that can be applied to most existing bonsai styles.

the sketches were published as far back as 1973 so it is surprising we dont see the flat topped bonsai very often - although i dont think they are a seperate style as the trunk defines the initial 'named' style and the branch arrangement is secondary - so you'd have a formal upright tree with flat top etc.

Back in 1998 in my very early years playing with bonsai i wired this scotts pine as a flat-ish umberella and kept it like this for a few years. I expect it was the year i bought the Naka books. (the tree is long since sold on so who knows now)


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Re: Flat Top Style

Post  coh on Sat Oct 15, 2011 3:40 pm

Interesting...is that the only photo you have of your pine? How did it look after a few years development?

Chris

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Re: Flat Top Style

Post  marcus watts on Sat Oct 15, 2011 6:31 pm

coh wrote:Interesting...is that the only photo you have of your pine? How did it look after a few years development?

Chris

yes, the only pic - it was about the 5th or 6th tree i ever owned & styled i think so i was still a total learner, about 23 years ago according to the photo album ! . Over the couple of years i had it it got a lot denser as it produced so many buds when treated like a black pine and i did shorten the width a little. I dont know where it is now as i ended up with too many trees back then and not enough time to look after them, so i sold about 70 in 2003/04 leaving me with just 10 favorite trees - and until recent years i kept just these10

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Re: Flat Top Style

Post  Sam Ogranaja on Thu Feb 28, 2013 5:46 am

I thought I would bring this topic back to life Very Happy

One of my favorite cherries in Raleigh in a natural flat top style. I happened to have my camera with me today. There are a few more there but I'll post those later....maybe Razz


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Re: Flat Top Style

Post  sunip on Thu Feb 28, 2013 8:50 am

Hello,
Real local treasures such trees.
Sunip Wink

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Re: Flat Top Style

Post  my nellie on Thu Feb 28, 2013 9:36 am

Sam Ogranaja wrote:... ... One of my favorite cherries in Raleigh in a natural flat top style.... ...
Hello, Sam! I could never believe that this is really a cherry tree!!!

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Re: Flat Top Style

Post  Andre Beaurain on Thu Feb 28, 2013 2:49 pm

Sam are you sure it is not a Malus. Crab apples can look exactly like cherries. And the ornamental Malus trees grows into these flat forms when coppiced when young.


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Re: Flat Top Style

Post  Andre Beaurain on Thu Feb 28, 2013 3:01 pm

O I wanted to say.......

Marcus's tree resemble a Pierneef style tree more than any other,, well besides Roberts Namibian creation. Which is a variety of the Flat top tree.

For me the first 3 trees that Rob posted are not flat top trees, but merely shrubs pruned into the Cloud formation. 'Cloud pruning' as it is called. I thinks

love and light

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Re: Flat Top Style

Post  Sam Ogranaja on Thu Feb 28, 2013 3:14 pm

my nellie wrote:
Sam Ogranaja wrote:... ... One of my favorite cherries in Raleigh in a natural flat top style.... ...
Hello, Sam! I could never believe that this is really a cherry tree!!!

That's a bold statement Alexandra. Especially since there are quite a few weeping varieties.

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Re: Flat Top Style

Post  Sam Ogranaja on Thu Feb 28, 2013 3:19 pm

Andre Beaurain wrote:Sam are you sure it is not a Malus. Crab apples can look exactly like cherries. And the ornamental Malus trees grows into these flat forms when coppiced when young.


Hey Andre,

Anything is possible. I've seen this tree in flower every year for the past 4 years and been underneath it and looked at it hundreds of times (it's close to a really nice shopping area). There are 3 or 4 in a row and they keep trimming the underside. Flowering season is coming soon, I'll try to remember to get a close up of the flowers. It sure looks like a weeping cherry to me. There is a house in a nearby town that has a REALLY large one that is definitely a weeping cherry (spoke with the owner and it's his pride and joy) and this one looks very similar only his is actually taller and just as broad.

Hopefully the flowers will tell the tale.

Regardless, as Sunip said, it sure is a beauty. I love driving by this thing and looking at it throughout the year.
Sam

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looks like....

Post  I Cut too much on Sun Mar 03, 2013 4:20 am



im sorry i just couldnt resist....

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Re: Flat Top Style

Post  Todd Ellis on Sun Mar 03, 2013 2:13 pm

[quote="Andre Beaurain"]Sam are you sure it is not a Malus. Crab apples can look exactly like cherries. And the ornamental Malus trees grows into these flat forms when coppiced when young.

Its definitely a Cherry Tree with the weeping branches pruned short; probably for landscape-maintenance reasons. I don't know the species, but there are many in Central Virginia and they are stunning trees; especially when in flower.
Todd

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Re: Flat Top Style

Post  Andre Beaurain on Wed Mar 06, 2013 10:54 am

Here is a link were Terry, a SA Bonsai guru mention the Flat Crown; Pierneef Style. For those of you who think that the East invented the Flatcrown..... I'm getting ready to duck! Laughing

Love and light

http://www.bonsaitree.co.za/knowledge/movies/62-terry-erasmus/video/110-Gardening+%3A+Bonsai+%28432013%29.html

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Re: Flat Top Style

Post  Sam Ogranaja on Thu Mar 28, 2013 1:12 am

Here you go kiddies. If it's not a cherry, please identify it.





Have a great week!!!!
Sam

PS - Sorry for the poor photos. It was late and I happened to have my camera with me so I figured why not.

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Re: Flat Top Style

Post  Todd Ellis on Thu Mar 28, 2013 1:54 am

It is a Cherry IMHO.
Pretty tree Sam! Wink

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Re: Flat Top Style

Post  Andre Beaurain on Thu Mar 28, 2013 5:49 am

Yip...that is a Cherry.

Who picks the fruit? I have bottled cherries in Brandy 3 years ago. They now taste like Marzipan with a kick. Wonderfull stuffff. drunken

Love and light.

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Re: Flat Top Style

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