Chamaecyparis pisifera/Sawara Cypress Bonsai Progression Series

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A year later and the tree had responded very strongly; the mass of fine root collected with the tree had obviously helped it through any transplanting shock.

chamae bonsai

Initial styling of the tree began in March 2002

chamae cypress bonsai

The branches were then wired into preliminary positions before I began shaping the top of the trunk.

The trunk was very straight and taper needed to be carved into the deadwood as well as some movement. There was also some reverse taper near the top that needed removing.


September 2002, the foliage had filled out well. The top of the trunk had movement and taper carved into it; the beginnings of a shari down the right hand side of the trunk had also been started. Carving had been carried out by pulling away the fibres of wood with jin pliers and with the use of various carving bits. After carving, the the deadwood was treated with lime sulphur and a coat of wood hardener.

Despite the tree still growing vigorously, I left it to rest and regain any strength lost before the onset of Winter and repotting in the Spring.

cypress bonsai

The Chamaecyparis in September 2003, 3 growing seasons after collection and a year after the picture above was taken.

In early 2003 the tree was repotted into a tokoname pot. The right hand branch was removed; the remaining foliage growing from just 3 primary branches. The shari had been extended to the base of the trunk and will be widened in future years as the live portions of the trunk strengthen and thicken. Finally, the long jin at the top of the trunk was removed. Chamaecyparis are a very thirsty species compared to most other coniferous species, and this tree benefits from frequent misting and requires regular watering.

false cypress bonsai

I wasn't entirely happy with the look of the bonsai by the Winter of 2004, the foliage had become too heavy for the design and white of the deadwood was too bright.

In the early Spring of 2005 the tree was heavily pruned back and then allowed to recover for the rest of the year.

This last image shows the tree in June of 2006 prior to it being sold, the deadwood having mellowed and the foliage mass considerably lightened.

deadwood jin

Detail of the carved-jin at the top of the bonsai

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