Cupressus Sempervirens “Peroni”
It all begins with this cypress entering into my garden in 2017, after purchasing it from my dear friend Stefano. Although it does not have a thick, dark bark, like other Tuscan cypresses I was intrigued by its well-sized trunk and healthy vegetation.   The scale is of a lovely shade of green and there are no traces of disease.   The branches are properly sized. Too often, unfortunately, you see plants with newborn branches on very old trunks. Having properly-sized primary branches will enhance the cypress’s appeal.    Some of them have a common malformation of the branch attachment: this branch inclusion malformation at the junction weakens the connection of the branch to the tree causing the reduction of the stability in case of bending. The area with this malformation is definitely more brittle, so I always recommend to secure it thoroughly and never force the bend there.   In the high section of the trunk we can see the huge pruning scar which has already resulted in a small Shari. We will obviously have to let the cut disappear and widen the Shari as a result of the natural withdrawal of sap.   I had the chance to […]
Juniperus Chinensis
This Juniper is with me since 2009, the very same year I joined the team Franchi Bonsai in Pescia (Pt). The photo shows the juniper a few years before my arrival.   From the beginning, it was my duty to take care of the trees in the Museum and soon I was mesmerized by this specimen of Juniperus Chinensis. The massive growth of the last few years had narrowed down the possibility for the light to penetrate the inner vegetation, resulting in a weakening.  Here is the tree, in 2009, before being worked on.   The first thing to be done is a good cleaning and thinning of the vegetation, using the wire only to open up the branches and let air and light enter the canopy. Once the work was done, the bonsai highlighted a beautiful trunk with two swollen lymphatic veins that, going up along the trunk, come together in the highest part only. The colour of the vegetation is a deep green, a clear indicator of a strong and healthy foliage.  The first branch only is unfortunately weaker due to a previous parasite attack that has already been eradicated. With the thinning and the opening of the […]
Cupressus Sempervirens Arcobonsai
A cypress for Arcobonsai. I don’t think I’ve ever bought a tree in all these years simply by choosing from a picture. I just can’t do it!  I need to see it, touch it, walk around it to fall in love and decide whether to welcome it into my collection. Then, in 2019, a dear friend put this cypress up for sale on a social media and instantly I was so curious to get to know it properly.     After a little while I was standing in front of the cypress tree, which immediately won me over with some lovely details: a beautifully sized nebari and the dark bark on the trunk, enhanced by the already old dry wood. The lack of movement was counterbalanced by some features that would ensure a composition with a significant sensation of old age. The straight trunk, distinguished by an old shari, ends in a manageable way.  The strong and vigorous vegetation attests the excellent health of the cypress. In two seconds flat, the tree was at home! I never make hasty decisions and all newly arrived trees are simply cultivated for a year, at least. This cypress is no exception, so it […]
the Massive Cypress
I adore cypresses! Besides being the typical tree of my beloved Tuscany, I see in this essence the perfect combination of strength and grace. Its unmistakable scent, its dark green colour and its grey, wrinkled bark are the elements able to make it my favourite tree. I bought this cypress in 2007 from a very dear friend. It was definitely not the container in which it had been placed that draw my attention, but rather the large, old trunk with its beautiful dry wood. The vegetation, allowed to grow freely, testified the excellent health of the tree.     From the large, compact trunk, there were two generously sized branches which, however, created an unsightly fork. The upper right branch was particularly long and cylindrical and the vegetation was very distant. The lower left branch was a different matter, with rich vegetation even close to the trunk. I began by shortening this last branch with a hacksaw. Then I move on to the upper branch, shortening it with a splitter, to highlight the wood fibres and create a natural effect; I leave only a little Jin.   This is a fairly drastic pruning as most of the vegetation is removed. […]
I get back here with an update of the boxwood project already described in a previous article, (you can find it here: )  In 2017 the work had been up to this point:   In 2019 I decide to rearrange the foliage of this bonsai.  In the last two years the vegetation has grown and thickened. The two canopies are sparsely spaced and so we decide to lower the canopy of the smaller tree in order to create a more defined spacing between the two trees. For this task we use a metal bar that acts as an anchor for a guy wire. Boxwood does not have elastic branches, so moving large branches is usually laborious and time-consuming. I always recommend working in stages, making small periodic moves, tightening the guy wire several times a year. An interestingly remarkable aspect I recently realized is the pleasure of having my students (but above all my friends) work on my trees. I have always been jealous of my bonsai, but I must say that over time I have become more and more enthusiastic in sharing my work with friends and sometimes even entrusting it to them. This is the case of […]
Juniperus Chinensis var. Itoigawa
The juniper in this article is a Juniperus Chinensis var. Itoigawa which I saw for the first time in 2003 in my friend Roberto Raspanti’s garden. After a few years in the collection of another dear friend, Marcelo Michelotti (who did the first shaping), it made its way into my garden in 2007. The vegetation of Itoigawa is distinguished by its bright green colour and small, strong scales. It is a variety that can provide a definition and detail of the pads other varieties cannot.   In 2008, after a year of preparation, the first shaping took place. In particular, a large part of the vegetation on the right side was eliminated, thus obtaining two results: the freeing of some trunk movements that were hidden and the formation of a bonsai with a leftward movement. From a balanced foliage we pass to a foliage that is clearly shifted to the left side, The first branch is pushed further towards the front using a metal rod. Before working After working Back, right and left side respectively The bark of the juniper is normally cleaned with brushes in order to highlight the red/orange colour of the living parts in clear contrast to […]
Juniperus Chinensis ‘Muscolino’.
The ‘Muscolino’ juniper. Story of a Juniperus formosana grafted with Juniperus chinensis var.Itoigawa. The story of this formosana juniper, commonly known as “Taiwanese”, begins in 2006 when it became part of my collection.   The plant has excellent vegetation, green and vigorous. However, the feature that caught my attention right from the very beginning was the dead part and in particular the long woody appendage on the right which spirals out. Unfortunately the wood shows clear signs of decay. Many of the wood fibres are spongy and without consistency. Even with the use of resins to consolidate it, it would have remained a wood with a porous appearance that would have given the feeling of a temporary, non-durable wood. The only thing left to do is to be patient and clean it. As always, I prefer to use hand tools, avoiding cutters and power tools. Using gouges and chisels, all the weak wood is removed until the wood fibre is firm and compact. It is important to always work moving the tools in the same direction as the fibres in order to respect and highlight the natural movement of the wood. When working with dry wood we must always aim […]
CUPRESSUS SEMPERVIRENS “Cypress’s new twist”
This cypress became part of my collection in early 2014. It was the thick black bark, typical of the Tuscan cypress tree, that drew my attention. Needless to say, these elements of ageing are fundamental. If we imagined the same tree without this bark it would be immediately obvious the minor evocative power this tree could transmit. So, with the same style, when we have such obvious elements of ageing we are in front of a tree with a much more potential. Unfortunately the cypress also had two important con elements: the very distant vegetation and a Nebari consisting basically of a cylindrical and large root. A solution to these problems had to be found. All at the right time. One step at a time! Here is the plant as it was in 2014.     A few months later, I decided to immediately face the first problem: the distant vegetation. I don’t like very much trees with artificial and excessively forced bends made to place near the trunk the vegetation. The latter is definitely not my style, so in this case I opt to make a narrow bend downwards to bring the branching closer to the trunk. From here […]
Cupressus Sempervirens
Salvatore Mameli, a very good friend of mine entrusted me with the styling of this cypress . The tree had already had previous shaping and the necessary branches and pads had already been selected. After an proper preparation of the vegetation, Salvatore asked me for the style giving me complete confidence…or carte blanche! The main feature of this cypress tree is undoubtedly the bark: dark, old and cracked….it looks like an oak! The vegetation is strong and vigorous and, apart from the flowering, the scale has a good colour and texture. The sore points though: the trunk is quite straight and the main branch grows horizontally within a curve. To overcome this problem I decide to change the inclination of the plant and proceed to lower the first branch. Once this is done I rearrange the vegetation trying to use as little wire as possible, using small guy wire but especially the use of pruning. In order to highlight the accuracy of the lines lines and of the black spaces, each pad is finished with a careful cleaning of the silhouette . Finally the softness of the foliage is obtained mainly with scissors, leaving the natural vertical growth of the […]
DECEMBER 2018.           AFTER PRUNING     FRONT     DECEMBER 2019          FRONT     RIGHT SIDE   BACK   LEFT SIDE          
Styling the Taxus Cuspidata
Here are the pics showing the styling of the Taxus Cuspidata. The tree joined a friend’s collection last year. After careful evaluation we decided to change the front to give more depth to the tree. The first branch was lowered and brought forward while on the left side it was necessary to remove a part of dry wood to lower the branch.  These two technical steps aside, we simply had to wire and set every single branch. I am pretty pleased with the outcome as it corresponds exactly to what was my original project.               LEFT SIDE   BACK   RIGHT SIDE   FRONT
TAIKAN TEN 2019 – Kyoto
Some photos of the trees exhibited at the TAIKAN TEN BONSAI EXHIBITION 2019 in Kyoto.