Making My Water-and-Land Penjing (Part 2)

Jul 19th, 2010 | By | Category: Bonsai How To

Indeed, the land of a water-and-land penjing is very much similar to a forest bonsai (here is a post about My First Forest Bonsai).   It is the extra shorefront and water area that make a water-and-land penjing has a more complex composition.  The overall structural unity of a water-and-land penjing is critical.  Design elements such as trees, rocks, moss, water, figurines all need to be in harmony with each other and contribute to the design in a natural and meaningful fashion.  Hence, we have to be very careful when selecting our materials.  Besides the tree species and the number of trees to be used, we also have to think about the height and trunk angles of the trees, the type of rocks to be used, the size, shape, color, surface details of the rocks, the relative size and the compatibility of the figurines with the penjing, etc, etc…  In the end, each and every element in the water-and-land penjing should relate to each other so that the entire bonsai appears as one all-embracing, strongly bonded entity.

Continue from Making My Water-and-Land Penjing (Part 1), let me show you how to make the land of my water-and-land penjing in this post.

water-land-penjingFirst of all, make sure the land part of the water-and-land penjing has a drainage hole.  (Sorry, I should have mentioned this earlier in Making My Water-and-Land Penjing (Part 1) for we would need this to be ready before creating our rocky shorefront 😛 )  Properly cover the drainage hole with a drainage mesh  so to prevent soil from falling through the hole.

water-land-penjingWe usually use odd number of trees in water-and-land penjing as well as forest bonsai.  When we pick the trees for our bonsai, make sure we pick trees with a variety of heights.  In the nature, there are trees of different heights.  There are some tall, old trees, while there are some short, young ones.  Plus, our penjing will look so boring if all the trees have the same height.   In addition, make sure we pick 1-2 trees that are especially tall.  They will be the “main trees” in our water-and-land penjing.

water-land-penjing water-land-penjing

Trim off the root ball of our trees, or else our trees wouldn’t be able to fit into the shallow container of our water-and-land penjing.  Here, I trimmed off as much as 60-70% of the root balls.

water-land-penjingNext, we need to design the tree placement to get the most natural looking arrangement. In general, we put the main tree(s) in the center area so to let it grab most of the attention.


Once we have confirmed on the placement of our trees, we add soil.  A chopstick will be very helpful here.  Poke around with your chopstick and make sure there is no gap in between trees that is not filled with soil.  And since we have cut off much of the roots, we need to trim off some foliage of the trees as well, so to make it easier for our trees to adapt and grow in their new home.

water-land-penjingThis is my water-and-land penjing.  Because the sun has been very strong in Hong Kong lately, I have already had my penjing in a shady area for 3 weeks, and probably will keep it in the shade for another week before bringing it out to the full sun.  Later, I will also trim and train the branches so to arrange the density of the foliage and make the penjing look better 🙂

One Comment to “Making My Water-and-Land Penjing (Part 2)”

  1. nineja says:

    you should write a book about penjing or perhaps publish the articles you have here

Leave a Comment