Stephen’s Larch Restyle

After getting my own larch sorted out, attention turned to Stephen’s one.

This is it sitting at Stephen’s house. When we worked it out, it hasn’t been wired in 8 years. The last styling was done by Marco Invernizzi back in 2004.

Photos from then can be viewed here.

It’s a big tree and we wanted to try and complete the wiring in one day. Phil collected the tree in his van and we transported it to my garage for a little space to work in. Stephen’s bonsai studio was only build for hobbits and I’m definitely not that size 🙂 This it is photographed before we started.

About now you are probably having a close look at the base of the tree. Yes, it’s a strange one, it’s hard to see but there is a strong root that runs directly under the trunk lying parallel to the ground. This will be exposed to help show stability. There is another option, but that’s for another day!

The three of us got to work and managed to get the wiring completed.

One area that was a problem was the apex. It had been created from a single branch curled around to make it look fuller at the time. 8 years on this has become a problem. It could have been hidden by placing branches over the offending bits but could not be removed totally and make a convincing apex. We discussed it and Phil was keen to make a change rather that it becoming progressively worse with time. He came up with an option and Stephen decided to go for it.

This is the offending apex.

Branch being reduced.

Keep an eye on him Stephen 🙂

A typical Stephen Coffee break.

Birds eye view.

Final tweaks

The final image. Stephen is considering a change to the top jin, what do you think? Remove, leave, shorten?

The new apex looks a great improvement.

A closer look at the base.

Side view


Before and after side by side.

The 3 amigos for scale, and just for fun.

We did this work without looking back to Marco’s styling in 2004. It was interesting to compare now having looked for the original photo.

28 comments on “Stephen’s Larch Restyle

  1. I agree that the apex looks better. Good job!

    Just a thought: The trunk lacks much visible taper. Do you know if Stephen has ever considered a bunjin look?

    And since you asked: I say keep the jin. It adds interest to the overall composition, and it’s in good proportion.


  2. Another great styling, I went and picked up a collected larch yesterday because your last post inspired me. I actually think the Jin could be shortened to a small stub but I would leave and study before the decision is made.


  3. Very very nice tree, I personally find the jin distracting.

    Though I’m more concerned about your mate; this is the first photo sequence that he’s not sticking his fingers up. Is he under the weather? Perhaps he was on Santa’s naughty list? Hung-over? I hope he feels better soon 😉


  4. Very cool tree!
    Were it mine to do, I’d remove the jin and that extra root. The apex would then be quite elegant. The tension/instability at the base is a large part of the character of the tree – just like a tree that grew at the base of a snowy slope.


    • Hi Jim, It’s due a repot this Spring I think. If those roots as minor, they may be reemoved. Another option was to find the right stone to fit underneath trunk as if it’s resting there. Would have to be perfect though.


      • That’s the way it’s potted in the pot as seen in the first two photos, problem with that is you can see the back branch emerging from the trunk and then being bent to the left, not pretty and it catches the eye. It does look slightly more balanced from that angle but when we styled it, we contantly found ourselves opting for the final front to aviod this distraction.


  5. I like the before and after photographs. A good bit of work, but the jin now seems too dominant. I would shorten it and then work on what remains to make it lighter.


  6. Nice tree. I prefer without the jin at the top. It’s a bit distracting for me (bit like Phil doing the fingers! lol incidentally that was one of the first things I noticed missing when looking at the photo sequence!) Happy New Year Bonsai Eejit. Hope you continue to spoil us with your posts.


  7. Ian and co., Great job but I think the jin has got to go. i suspect you think that too. Removing it should keep Phil happy as he likes cutting off. I would also remove those bottom roots if at all possible.


  8. Reblogged this on Willowbog Chat and commented:
    Nice to see this long term development of a Willowbog bit of raw material that I collected myself , it is looking good though the trunk base still raises issues !


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