This little pine is from my 2009 batch of seedlings. It was one that my friend and traveling companion for my 2008 visit to Kokufu-ten has been caring for for quite some time. While I was in Japan I bought a couple bags of seeds from a guy at the Green Club who sold mostly handmade namban pots and pine trees. His stall at the Green club was perhaps not as impressive as some, but his pottery is among my favorite of modern Japanese pottery that I have seen.
The seeds on the other hand, were supposed to be red pine, but in the end turned out to be black pine. At first I was quite disappointed by this but in retrospect I have no problem with it since black pine are so much fun to work with.
A small exposed-root black pine like this one is not the same thing as a larger one where the roots have all fused together, but it is still a pleasing composition. The delicate nature of the roots is interesting in itself.
During this session I reduced the top of the tree and wired a few branches to put them into better position. Last year’s needles were pulled and the tree was balanced as much as possible by leaving more new needles on the lower section and fewer needles on the top section. The tree is about 6 inches tall and 8 inches across after the work is completed.
This tree was not candle cut this year because my friend was being quite stingy with the water and fertilizer. I did a lot of fall fertilizing on this tree so it will grow strongly in the spring. It will be candle cut next year and the needles will end up more in scale with the rest of the tree.