I feel a bit guilty about not showing more of the deciduous trees I’m working on, as they form about 45% of my collection. It is a sad default to be primarily blogging about the junipers and other conifers, but the reason is that conifers can sometimes be designed in a day, whereas the deciduous I have are either very young, or poorly balanced and very old—both of which need 10 or 15 years of work. This Winter Hazel is one of the poorly balanced older trees.
The Winter Hazel came into my yard last year, and is the oldest I’ve seen over here. In fact I’ve never seen an older one in Japan. Neither had Matt Reel when he visited my yard a few weeks ago. The problems of the tree were obvious. The larger trunks were to the outside of the base, and there was no center trunk. The center trunk had died, but, curiously, a shoot had developed right in the center of the old rotted hole. That shoot is now about 8 years old, but will take another 15 before it is the dominant trunk. A lot of foliage balancing by cutting leaves in half every year, and restraining some shoot areas and letting other areas run wild, is ahead in the reworking of this one. This photo is just after flowering, and the young leaves and shoots are just beginning to grow.
The progression of my studio is apparent in this photo... mudding and taping is done, paint to follow...
The base. It looks more impressive in person. Bad photography!
New main trunk, and secondary trunk, growing out of old rotted hole.
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This Mountain hemlock has been one of those intriguing trees that is so big at 65″ it is almost more of a conversation piece than a bonsai. And yet thinner trunked trees can be considerably taller and still ‘work’ as bonsai. I collected it about 1 1/2 years ago, and put it in pumice in a cedar box that was sort of cobbled together in an effort to have it appear to be on a slope of a hill.
Having dreamed about that hill for a while, at the March 2010 Seasonal we put it on a temporary plywood slab (having not yet made or found a nice final slab) and erected a muck dam and at least got the footings of this unstyled tree underway. The chopsticks drilled into the plywood was a spur of the moment idea. When I woke up that morning I had no idea how to keep that muck wall overhang from falling over.
It may be ready for styling this fall, although I’ve always felt it would be a very light styling. There is already so much of a natural and wild and windy feeling about this group that I won’t be doing much.
Here’s a bit of a photo essay:
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