Jabba the Gingko Design

I have somewhat recently come into the possession of a 40+ year old gingko that the center tree/trees has died in over the years- the base of which looks a bit like a rock or Jabba the Hutt. I’m at a bit of a loss with what to do with it style-wise but see my options as:

  1. Leave the stump as is, call it Jabba the Gingko, continue developing the style of the upper “trees”
  2. Carve the stump- I’ve never seen a Gingko with a significant amount of deadwood at the base so I’m not really sure what this might look like.
  3. Eliminate as much of the stump as I can, possibly dividing the clump into two clumps- not my favorite option as it takes away the thickness of the base and the years it took to get there.

Any other ideas very welcome. Please see photo.


Do you have any pictures of the back? I am curious what that would look like

My first impression is a raft style Ikadabuki forest. Can you tell if all the trunks come off the one? Japanese raft style represents a fallen tree that had survived and branches have become individual tree forms. I believe you should embrace the unique nature of this old Gingko. I have never seen another like it! Carving is a technique that can wreck the natural look of old material. If this is a recent acquire, I recommend getting the tree to optimal health and vigor over a season or more and then decide. The foliage and the bark are the value in Gingkos. Carving may draw your eye to one area. :thinking: I would either put gentle movement into the small shoots on the end or remove them to put energy into the main trunks.

Good call @Steven . Should have posted before. Please see back and a couple close ups- rock for directional reference.

Good call on all of the above @Bonsai_bob - I know the tree has been in great care in the hands of a fellow club member the last few (35) years (aside from the center trunks dying off) but I remember from a Ryan video that this can be an issue for Gingko as bonsai (although maybe not to this extent). Might be hard for that mound not to draw the eye no matter what is done with it. Will post photos again when it’s in leaf.

I was also thinking if I were to leave the mound that maybe I should drill a hole or two in it for water/air penetration to the center.

I really like the back of it. Has a very nice turtleback vibe coming from it or an ancient hilltop that has old trees surrounding it at the base. Going with that image one could consider accenting it maybe with another kind of pot in the future?

Just my two cents. Hope you find a solution or inspiration that clicks with you

I was thinking it was not as ‘inviting’ that way but also it would do a lot more to disguise the large lump. Good to consider, more, thanks for that. I have one or two more shallow but larger, colorful pots that this will probably be transplanted into but wanted to make the larger decision on the Jabba in the middle first. Thanks again @Steven