Brief History Of A Ponderosa Pine

The client who owns this pine is a cribbage player, and after noodling trees during the day we retire to the kitchen table where he proceeds to lesson me in cribbage, usually with shocking losses. The styling of this pine dates from the very first visit to his house when we discovered our common interest in cribbage. I don’t remember who won more games that night. And I’ve never had the courage to keep track since.

He’s done very well maintaining this tree, and even in the low-sun area of the Puget Sound the tree is ramifying beautifully. With time and further ramification the needle length will shorten a bit.

The pine in its box, 2007. It was collected by John Muth several years prior to this photo.

After that first morning's work in 2007.

After a bit of prepping in August 2011. The 'tail' that juts from the right of the trunk is optionally removable. The pot is not right, it's a training pot and is a bit heavy. The nebari has yet to be fully exposed, which is fantastic. We're waiting expectantly to fit it into a shallower pot that just arrived. Spring, hasten!

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  1. Al Polito says:

    What a sweet swoosh in the trunk of that tree! It makes me want to alliterate.

  2. Aaron says:

    Stunning tree… just oozing health.

    I think the ‘tail’ should be removed as it leads my eye away from the trunkline.

  3. Scott Tice says:

    Nice work, as always!

  4. I am staying in Pagosa Springs Colorado.I have tried to collect a ponderosa pine since this is a ponderosa forest but did not have it survive the move.
    The tree looks nice in that angular pot. Will the smaller pot be similar?

    • crataegus says:

      The smaller pot will mostly be shallower and a bit more elegant, with cloud feet and a bit more of a lip.

      Good luck on the ponderosa collecting! It helps to collect on bedrock, as the rock will often frame a root system and you get the fine roots right next to the rock face. If we’re out in open ground the roots travel very far and it can be hard to get many fine roots, which are essential to success.

  5. backcountrydan says:

    Do you have any updates on this pine Michael?

  6. endsurg says:

    I’m not sure that I like the styling of the 2011. The amazing movement of the trunk seems to be hidden by the foliage. I don’t know what the solution is but I would rework it so that the upper portion of the trunk is visible and the foliage less dense.

    • crataegus says:

      Excellent comment. In bonsai, in addition to wabi-sabi there is another aesthetic word, yuugen, which is an obscuring quality. It makes us look a bit more curiously, trying to make it out. In person many bonsai have this visual trick of partially hiding, especially near the top of the tree, that leads us to investigate. Most older developed bonsai have this, even to a greater degree than this one.

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