Tuesday, 17 January 2017

Post 228 Tree structure - UK Visit #1 - High divided trunks

In "Bonsai Foundations" I discussed at length the matter of authentic structural design of non conifer bonsai, in particular the 'architecture' of branches and trunk. I looked at a variety of models existing in the natural world that should be embraced in bonsai design.

 The first point to note is the 'fan' branch configuration from downwards around the lower margin to more upwardly inclined in the canopy, which prevails regardless of the trunk structure. This is also a pattern which is very prevalent with conifers.
The second is the nature of the trunk, from dominant single trunk through to divided and where divided, the different levels of division.

In looking at trees these are the things to look for, to carefully observe.

In the book I created three sketches to illustrate the point. Here they are again.

I've recently been to the UK, in the middle of the northern hemisphere winter. The days may have been short and the weather cold and damp, but the trees were magnificent in their leafless state. 

 To start with a picture of a tree which follow the high divided trunk model of the sketch on the left.

But it is much more common in mature trees which are close to their maximum height to see the trunk divide further down the tree as in the second sketch.
This first  one is a great study of a deciduous tree's canopy. Its hard to see the rest of the tree but you get a sense of the fan branch configuration, with the lower branches closer to the horizontal plane. In the canopy the dominance of any one primary trunkline is diluted by the mass of fine branches with an upward inclination. As a model for bonsai this means that the canopy is shared and supported by many branches and because of their number none gains in disproportionate weight.
 Here is another one with the upper division and a similar fan branch configuration. Note the three dimensional nature of the branch structure - there are no flat 'pads' anywhere. Also the number of branches from further down in the tree that go out and upwards each looking for a place in the canopy.

 This is a nice study of a close pair of trees, one a beech, still holding on to its old leaves, and the other an oak. There are many aspects of design here useful to building authenticity into your bonsai, divided trunks, shared canopies, upward and outward branches etc.

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