Revisit: Mountain Hemlock Branch

A few years have passed since this hemlock was styled, and it seemed a ripe moment for an update on its progress. It was collected by Anton Nijhuis, and is unusual being a naturally rooted branch off a larger tree.

The first styling was in December 2014 when former apprentice Bobby Curttright was here, and he is featured on the first post about this tree along with a cameo by Matt Reel.

The second post covered the potting in a low rectangle in April 2018, featuring current apprentice Andrew Robson and a few students.

This third post is the latest, and doesn’t feature anyone. I did the trim and detailing in the last photo, and yet there weren’t any cameras around for proof of this.

First styling, 2014

Potting up, 2018

How it looks now, April 2019

In a year’s time the moss has engulfed the akadama-laden muck, and also the foliar pads have been adjusted. One can see adjustment in the foliar pads to show more of the drama of the sharply dropping upper trunk, from the first to the second photo. That area is opened up. Then the last photo shows more complex negative space within the upper foliage group. These are subtle tweaks. And the length of the branches has also increased in this last photo, allowing a more stable feeling for an edgy design. Finally, the lichen on the basal trunk area has moved around in the photos like the peripatetic mole on Marty Feldman in ‘Young Frankenstein’, making one wonder where it will be next year.

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  1. Peter Sobel says:

    Just great … Michael and guys do such nice work!

  2. Dave Crust says:

    ” What hump?” and ” Be careful, the stairs can be very treacherous”. Lovely composition! in a wonderfully proportioned tray.

  3. John many says:


  4. Ray says:

    Very nice Michael. Hemlocks constantly evolving. Beautiful

  5. Ruith Anderson says:

    I remember the 2014 photo–and I wondered then what your plan was for it. Great to see it this year.

  6. Bryan Baillie says:

    wonderful post and history

  7. Todd Morgan says:

    Love the way you include the ground around the roots, the rugged outcropping / point that makes the whole trunk and tree make perfect sense in that setting.

  8. David Wheeler says:

    ……..always fun to read your descriptions

  9. Terri Wall says:

    Beautiful! What is the muck composed of?

  10. hansvanmeer says:

    A Realy stunning natural image Michael! So much to see in just one image…really impressive!
    Hans van Meer.

  11. Jesse Strong says:

    Agh! Incredible! What a great tree. Seeing this made up my mind. A day trip to the island to see Anthon again is a must! Unavoidable now..hah! You’re mountain hemlocks are easily some of my favourite bonsai in North America.

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