How to Choose Rocks for Landscape BonsaiAug 17th, 2010 | By Sandy | Category: Bonsai How To, Bonsai Tools & Accessories
Generally, Chinese penjing (penjing is bonsai in Chinese) can be categorized into three types: tree penjing, landscape penjing (Shanshui Penjing, 山水盆景 in Chinese), and water-and-land penjing (shuihan penjing, 水旱盆景 in Chinese). Unlike tree penjing, which has dwarfed trees be the core and only element in the pot, landscape penjing and water-and-land penjing have rocks playing a big role as well. Indeed, in landscape penjing, the rock rather than the tree is the central focus of the scene.
Hence, rock plays a big part in Chinese penjing. While we have different sets of criteria when selecting suitable rocks for different penjing, some general rules always (or almost always) apply. And here are some general guidelines for choosing rocks particularly for landscape penjing with mountain or cliff scene.
Many kinds of rocks are suitable for penjing, as long as the rocks are strong and won’t break apart easily. In Guangdong province, landscapes made from Ying Rock are common. Rock pieces are piled in an ingenious manner to create an appearance of both grandeur and elegance, or to effect rock formations which either thrust into the sky or lie across the container and stretch toward the horizon.
When we are looking for a nice piece of rock for our landscape penjing, we always try to find one that is in the shape of an inverted (or upside down) triangle. This is especially important for landscape penjing of cliff scene. This is because it is easier to create a steep, dangerous-looking cliff with rock that is in the shape of an inverted triangle than one in a boring, broad, flat shape.
left: A young tree with long roots has been attached to a crack of the rock. The roots will need to be tied up and surrounded by potting mix for a period of time in order to attach stably on the rock.
Cracks on Rocks
Rocks with vertical lines and cracks are preferred over rocks with horizontal lines and cracks. This is because the branches and roots of our bonsai trees can develop and grow better within the vertical cracks, and grip the rock along the vertical cracks more securely.
Usually we use white, cream, black, gray, brownish red, or a mix of these colors. Just remember don’t use green rock for it may cover up the beautiful foliage of our bonsai tree.