European Larch

The owner has had this tree a long time and it only needs a nudge in the right direction now and again.

Before work

The tree needed a good clean before work to clear the last hold out needles and remove the algae starting to clog up the branches.

Using the softest setting on my jet washer. As you can see the full power would carve wood
After clean up.

As many branches had risen a rewiring of most of the primary structure was needed. I find larch need this every 3-4 years even when established. Other work included the removal of branches that had over thickened and replacing them with younger finer ones. Probably the biggest issues with larches is their ability to fatten fast if over fed or left to run too long during the year. Building up a good structure to allow these to be replaced on a cycle over the years by younger finer branches is so important on larch, more so that other species.

After wiring above. Not every fine detail is wired just what was out of shape or needed to be moved to fill space crated by branch removal.

This tree back in the 90’s had the trunk split down the middle to allow more flexibility and had the movement you see now created by heavy wiring. Over 30 years later you’d be hard pushed to see it amongst the flaky bark. Here’s a few other older photos of the same tree dating back to 2012-13.

Larch Goes For Gold

Great colour on Larch this Autumn.

100 Days in Lockdown

For those who follow me on Instagram you’ll know that back on day 1 of lockdown in Northern Ireland I decided that it might be fun to do a daily post there and, thanks to Facebook global domination, share it their as well.

Here we are 100 days later and I’ve decided it’s a nice round number to stop at. I’ve enjoyed doing the posts but time to resume my more chaotic posting system. As you can plainly see I’m also trying to breath life into this blog. As usual I’ll get carried away and no doubt I’ll slow it down to a drip 💧

As I posted precious little here during lockdown I thought I’d add a gallery as well of some of the trees etc that I posted over the last 100 days.

One to One with Derek

A few snaps from today’s one to one with Derek in Dublin.

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Day With Derek

Monday saw me with Derek sorting a few trees out. Repotting and a little wiring on the agenda.

First up was a maple that had been recovering for a ew years in a box. Now we’ll on the up again we transferred it into a pot. Derek had a few options but most were too small.

We opted to use a round Gordon Duffet pot he had lying around😂 I only wish it were mine. The other gives the tree a little space in which to continue its development

This was the tree back in the late 80s

Next up was a pine, species unknown. He collected the seed from the Botanical Gardens in Dublin many years ago. The tree got a reworking having had some initial work done by myself a few years ago at a club workshop.

The tree was repotted into a Magic Ceramic pot that Derek picked up last year. We even found a nice widening buttress buried in the box. It’s got a longer needle but back buds well and seems to reduce well.

Another repot was this larch which had been a taller tree last year before being reduced to the bottom branch. Pushing hard for a shohin image but it’s on the larger side. It went into another Magic Ceramics pot.

A Chinese Juniper landscape was next. I doubt this tree had been repotted properly in the last 20 years but now under Derek’s care it was time for a freshen up.

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A busy day with Derek but productive and great craic as usual.

Japanese Larch -First Steps

I collected this Larch about 3 years ago. I was drawn to the natural shari created by wild goats, Sadly some of the branches didn’t open that Spring after collection, the goats really know how to strip bark! I let it sit and establish for a few years and in 2015 put it on my sales bench with a view to moving it on as raw material suitable for a workshop. It obviously didn’t inspire anyone and so I decided to give it a basic shaping a few weeks ago.

This is the before shot.

After a quick look I opted to remove the one live branch at the apex. This had been a twig 3 years ago and had grown strongly but was to far removed from the interesting bits elsewhere on the tree. With the help of my mate Jeff we did some basic stripping of the deadwood and got some wire onto the heavy lower branch. We played with keeping the other branch to the back, but it just didn’t fit with the image.

This is it afterwards. Still cleaning up to be done at this point and a few adjustments but the basic shape is there with some extra branches left as options.

After checking the roots out I decided to go ahead and repot. In the 3 years since collection the tree and filled the box with roots. I put all collected Larch into pure Sphagnum moss and they love it. The problem comes when the moss breaks down and holds too much water, usually after 2-3 years. At this point I repot into a more traditional mix. I was able to jin a heavy surface root as part of the process making a nice new feature and also with the added benefit of raising the deadwood up above the soil surface which will help stop the wood rotting away to quickly.

This is the tree now, cleaned up and lime sulphured, with some more refinement of the deadwood and a year or two’s ramification I think it will make a nice albeit unusual image. A fun piece of material to play about with and for now, it goes back on the sales bench once it opens in the Spring.

Thank You

Has it been a week since the workshop!!

A big thank you to the guys who took part in the workshop last Saturday here at my home. Phil and I hope that everyone got the results they wanted on the day. It was a great day with good craic.

Here’s a few General shots from the day.


Shohin Larch Autumn Colours

Tall Larch

I had planned to rewire my taller Larch this Spring but I missed my window of opportunity, and as a result it’s springing out of shape. Still looks pretty good but prefer it in the second photo after wiring a few years ago.






Shohin Larch

Little Japanese Larch in a John Pitt Pot.