Try Try Again

I saved this cedar from the chop back in 2008. It was growing as a tall tree in the middle of a lawn. The owner wanted it removed as it was ruining the lines created by his lawnmower! There was 4 of them but this was the only survivor from collection. They had strimmer damage and very poor roots.

I wasn’t sure if it would even make a tree and to be honest the jury is still out on that point!! It is very straight and resembles a fence post. I don’t have the photos from the first shaping back in 2009. It was just branch selection and some primary branch wiring done to drop the branches.

A short time later I wanted to practice my carving and decided this would make a good practice piece. I wasn’t too worried about  it and I thought that carving might add interest to the trunk and take away from the straightness.

You can see that I need the practice!! I then wired the tree to replace the branches at the right angles. This all took place over a 4 month period.


I wasn’t overly happy with the result. I considered lowering the height of the tree and perhaps creating a jinned apex like the virtual below. However, I wanted two tall trees that would eventually sit either side of a gate into the bonsai section of my garden. I have another one of a similar size and style and decided to keep it the full height. This meant keeping the cheat of an apex.

This is another virtual done back in2010

Yesterday I brought it into the garage and started to tidy up the weeds in the pot and and remove old needles. Before I knew it the wire was out again!  Lots of growth in the last year with enough extension that I could hopefully improve the image. Branches have sprung up and needed to be brought back down again.

Me for scale.

After four hours this was the best I could come up with. I had to take it slow and steady with my dodgy shoulder but I got there in the end. I was able to use foliage to hide the bad apex.

Still a lot I’m not happy with but perhaps some day it’ll be worth all the effort. I do have a soft spot for that lovely blue foliage 🙂

7 comments on “Try Try Again

  1. Cool tree. It has come a long way in a short time. I’d compact everything above the final jin on the right side and thin the two jins emerging to the left near the middle of the tree. This type of stock doesn’t always produce a good bonsai, but I think this one is a “winner” :).


    • Thanks Owen. You mean for me to compact the apex further?
      There are many things that annoy me with this tree. I want to improve the carving and try and give the illusion of better taper towards the top. I was reluctant to carve any deeper as cedar don’t seem to like the core wood removed. Was going to extend the deadwood to the base as well but was worried about sap flow from the two major roots at the front.

      The two branches left and right at the half way point also catch my eye, mostly due to the seagulls wings effect were they emerge. Can’t hide them at the moment, I was considering removing the branch to the right and using the back branch to add foliage visually to that side.

      I don’t know why I keep trying with this tree, it’s got issues but I just love that blue colour 🙂


    • Thanks Tom. I have plans to get rid of my lawn at some point and extend the display area of the garden. It might take a while to convince the wife but, as both of the trees I want to use are a ways off being ready, I’m in no rush lol


  2. It’s certainly looking healthy now! You’ve accomplished a lot.

    Just food for thought: with the lack of much taper, I would go for a bunjin. Either by reducing the visual mass of the branches, so the trunk contributes most of the overall visual impact; or else by removing the 1st, 2nd, 3d, and 5th branches from the bottom, as seen in the pic. (Clear as mud?)


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