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 🙂

Janet Juniper Adjustments

I had just started pinching this Juniper, [Full History Here] when I decided I should be taking a few photos for blogging. One handed pinching is rather difficult but my shoulder has improved. It took a while with quite a few breaks but I got there in the end.

This was it at the start, well almost.

I even remembered to use the towel technique for keeping the needles off the soil surface.

This was it after pinching

I decided that it was time to thin down the live vein a little more. This section looks a little thick I wanted to add more continuity between the areas of white wood.

This was it after removing a slice.

A little Lime Sulphur added.

Garage Workshop Tree #1

A few mates came over last night to play with trees. There was plenty of variation, from raw material to Forests, and fine tweeking.

Michael, as promised brought this Juniper that I discussed HERE on the blog. It isn’t a Common Juniper as we thought, but a Squamata variety with a short needle. We all had a good chat about the options for potting angle etc. A few things worried me. Michael said that it has suffered a bit this year and some of the foliage on the lower branch was weak. I also wanted to confirm the limits of the live vein before we went any further. A few places looked like it could have retreated since the carving work. I wanted to confirm if this was a cause of the weakness shown during the year.

 Here you can see an area that I felt may be no longer alive.

 On a brighter note, I felt there was a better front on the tree by adjusting the angle. The foliage also looked to be making a come back with new strong buds appearing.

We used a makita with a wire brush to define the limits of the live vein and it soon became apparent that there was one live vein which started at the back of the tree and extended to the apex. To ensure that we could see where the vein starts from the bottom we had to consider the back being the new front. This actually turns out to be a far better option for the tree.

The area marked in yellow below is still alive but I think this will also die back this year leaving one narrow vein from base to apex.

This is the proposed new front.

As you can see above and here, the shari now extended to the top jin. In this pic you can also see the split in the trunk created by Michael to get the initial bend in the trunk.

Michael has done his own comprehensive post about this tree on his own blog. This is the virtual that he has come up with. I feel that the top jin needs shortened and there’s plenty more refinement required on the dedwood

I feel that with the proper after care, this tree should continue to improve in health and has the potential to be a very nice juniper indeed.

Shohin Cotoneaster

Ben brought this little Cotoneaster along to the workshop last weekend. While Peter was busy doing the deadwood on several Larch, Ben and I had a look at this little fellow. I could have sworn I took a before photo but I can’t one one of it now! Anyway, this is it after we gave the few pruning scars a little bit of refinement with the dremel to make them more natural looking. Some fine wire was added to get the young branches positioned in the right areas. Next year this will fill out rapidly and create a lovely little tree.

Taken for Granted…

This Cotoneaster was one of my first trees. Previous Post

As stated previously, I’m not happy with the look of this tree. I have been over looking it on purpose for a while but yesterday I tweaked it a little to try and hide a few faults.

This was it yesterday morning.

Three faults that I tried to tackle where:

1. This long straight branch showing under the main pad of foliage.

2. This ugly curving branch.

3. These 2 visible branches that catch the eye.

I was able to hide number 1 by adjusting the foliage of the pad with wire dropping it to break the line of the branch. Straight lines in an image catch the eye.

Again, number 2 was concealed by dropping the foliage from another branch down in front of it. Further growth will be needed to complete this.

Fault 3 was solved by a little wiring in the apex to move the foliage to create a nicer apex but also stop the eye being drawn ring through the image to the straight back branch.

I then decided to play about with the position of the primary branch by using a guy line to pull it backwards.This is hard to see in a 2D image. I may decide to change this again.

It is amazing how different a tree looks in a photo. Some new growth will be needed to complete what I started.

As this is one of the first trees I ever carved, I should really pay more attention to how it looks. The longer a tree sits on your bench, the more you take it for granted. It’s hard to always look at a tree with fresh eyes. A lesson I’m trying to learn.