The Japanese larch or Larix kaempferi, has long been one of our favourite bonsai species here at the nursery.
Although of course not a native species it has long been grown in the UK having been introduced as essentially a forestry tree back in 1861. It is a very hardy species with good bonsai characteristics. Grows very well in our climate and is quick to develop as bonsai responding well to all bonsai techniques. We have sold this species over a more than 20 year span in the form of complete raw material through to specimen quality bonsai. It is always a good tree to start beginners with as it is so easy to look after. It is a type of tree where some deadwood is often appropriate to a design, it responds great to hard pruning and is quite straightforward to wire especially when done in the dormant period when needles are absent because it is one of the few deciduous conifers.
We have sold an awful lot of larch raw material over the years but I honestly believe that this is one of the best, particularly in the smaller chuhin size class as this one is. It is clearly a tree collected from the wild somewhere. If one of our aims in bonsai is to create the image of old trees no matter the actual age of the bonsai, and I think that is a prime aim, then this larch fulfils that wish even before it is made into a bonsai with a styling exercise. The bark character of the trunk is remarkable. The trunk movement and taper is good throughout it’s length with plenty of branching available to form a nice image immediately. I think little or any shaping work has been carried out on the tree. There are a few deadwood feature branches that could do with cleaning up. There is a mass of fine branching with which to form and nice canopy, it is a great project tree. It is 38cm. in height with branches spreading to 55cm. The surface rootage is 16cm. across and above that the trunk diam. is 6cm. The Mica plastic trainer measures 33x25x7cm.