Rob Kempinski wrote:
Moss on the other hand has very fine texture and can simulate the grass of an under story in the woods. So in this case, even though it is traditional, it looks good and contributes to an emotive response.
Yes, but all too often a full covering of moss looks only like moss, without artistic application, forethought, and careful placement, it doesn't say "grass" it only says "moss."
Is moss the only option? Of course not, let?s look below at Walters own Sabina juniper in a Modern Literati style and we can see his use of Sempervivum on the soil surface, not a full covering, but just enough to suggest undergrowth.
Photograph hot-linked from http://www.artofbonsai.org/forum/viewtopic.php?t=1102
We can also look at another Walter?s trees where just a touch of moss was used to suggest some grassy growth under the tree, this time a Scots Pine Literati also in a Modern Literati style.
Photograph hot-linked fromhttp://www.artofbonsai.org/forum/vi ... php?t=1102
Both of the above examples fit well with the thought that a environment that obviously has thrown harsh conditions at the tree would not bypass the ground. I mentioned this oddity common with many bonsai in an article here at AoB ( http://www.artofbonsai.org/forum/viewtopic.php?t=102
) in which I stated the belief that the ground cover (or lack thereof) should reflect the environment that the tree reflects. A lush, healthy tree should have lush healthy ground cover, while a windswept or Literati with scarce foliage should have ground covering that looks like it suffered the same conditions. The same could be said of the deadwood trees that are so common now.
I think too many people spend great amounts of time polishing the tree, cleaning and rubbing the pot after searching for the perfect one, purchasing the exactly right stand, and then they just slap some moss on the soil surface or decide not to without giving the total image consideration. The question that needs to be asked about ground cover is, what must be there in order for the mini-environment (the ground cover) we present our trees in in order for the same story to be told without presenting conflicting images.
Sometimes the answer is full coverings of moss, sometimes, a scarce smattering of it, sometimes no moss at all, sometimes other plants, and sometimes a combination of all. In short, it is the final image that tells if we were successful with our choice or not.