Hemlock On Rock : Revisit
This hemlock composition is from 2016. The design challenge was to imitate a tree not dangling off a cliff, as we tend to do with semi-cascade, but rather rising from a ravine slope, low on a cliff. We used a lace rock cavity which stabilized well in an upright position, suggesting the cliff wall.
Starting with a rock and the rough-styled tree. The Hemlock was collected with Anton Nijhuis, I think in 2014. When I peeled it off the T. Rex-sized boulder and lofted it in Anton’s direction, he squinted at it and said ‘You know, I think that’s a Mountain / Western Hemlock hybrid.’
The rock had a hole through the center, greatly easing the attachment question.
Prepping the tree for the rock.
This was where we ended up on assembly day, March 2016. Notice the narrow crown.
In February, 2021. After five years of ramification, a sneaky borer attack, a slight change of front, and even some convincing moss and lichen, it looks a shade more like a bonsai. The crown is now broader—we didn’t do a thing to enable that, crowns become rounder just naturally over time. It’s about right, now. In the next five years this crown will get too broad, though, and the top shoots will need shortening.
Students here at Crataegus Bonsai remember this tree as a trial-by-fire wiring exercise. Lots of shoots, little space for wires, many mild and strong expletives. It has history. Soon the roots will need need revisiting, and I wonder if some students wouldn’t want to come back as a sort of payback to a tree that inflicted hours of trauma. Let’s hope not. That’s an awful thought. In any event, hope you enjoyed this trip down memory lane and are not one of those who wired it long ago.
Here’s the original post with more photos: ‘Cliff Bonsai’ : Western Hemlock Styling