I have dreamed about this. Making a large bonsai forest with mixed specimens. For a long time. Sometimes it takes a while before everything is in order, and you can progress and finally do what you dream about.
I fancy the forest style and have made a few small Shohin sized pieces, as well as some in the middle size. Now it was time to go big.
It is important to think carefully about what specimens to put together. So some thought was put into what types of trees it should be. How they would look at different times of the year, so they will complement each other and not be messy or unnatural to look at.
The horticultural aspect is as important as the aesthetic. So it is not about just putting some nice trees together. They have to be able to grow in the same type of soil and also demanding the same light and watering frequency. Else it will not succeed in either the long or the short run.
The choice was to use semi-styled Yews and field maples. The needles and leaf colour goes well together, as do the sizes when trained. I added some filed maples (Acer campestre) with different trunk sizes so they could be build up around the main group of Yews (Taxus baccata).
The full project took a good day to complete, arranging these on a slap recently build for the purpose. The first raw set up is always interesting to do, followed by the coming years of careful training towards a natural forest view, showing a landscape as I experience around Europe at a flat piece of land.
All these thoughts are put into the piece, and then the next exciting period is ahead. Hopefully showing a mature piece of a forest within the next 5 -8 years. It takes time. But that’s just part of the fun and excitement. Waiting to see how it matures and training it towards the image I have in my head. Seeing if the result will be close to what I have in mind, or if changes will have to be made over time.
One of the Kisetsu-en members have been so kind to suggest different topics to take up, and one of them is about making forests. So in this episode, we also take a tour around different styles and aesthetics, and in future episodes, I will come back again to other aspects of this interesting subject.
Answering Q&A for Lars in Germany is part of this. Other subjects in the upcoming episode are Q&A about Air Layering, Specimen of the month, and Seasonal caretaking.
The full process is shown in videos at the April Kisetsu-en Online Bonsai Magazine, released on April 1st.