Is it really necessary to do that? 

Yes, it is. 

Let me show you.  

 
It’s a podocarpus. 

It’s tall. 

It’s full. 

It’s boring. It was styled in a time when bonsai trees were taller. The vaunted 6:1 ratio that the bonsai elite quote as canon was not, just a short 20-30 years ago, the paradigm. Instead of quick taper and the fat, grotesque trunks in style today, bonsai artists grew tall, thin, elegant trees. Has the bonsai aesthetic changed so much? No, not really. 

Here, Let me introduce you to the blog of Michael Hagedorn  crataegus.com. He has the requisite short trees but, if you watch the video shot by Bonsaiempire.com you’ll be very surprised by the height of some of his works. And what’s funny, is that I wrote the part about tall elegant trees before I watched the video. I do, after all,  read Michael’s blog and am familiar with his trees. 

Another artist, Peter Warren, is developing an aesthetic along the same ideas. His website is saruyama.co.uk but his Blog,  and all its random, stream of consciousness prose, is his real achievement. He’s a Brit, and that makes a difference. 

What does this all have to do with our ugly podocarpus? 

I’m keeping it tall.  

 

But why did I call it boring if I wasn’t going to trunk chop it? 

And what’s with the title? What’s gonna happen to this poor tree? Well, I first need to find the front, cuz the one we have now just ain’t gonna work. And then to the operation. 

This front is kinda dynamic. It breaks a few rules. 

 
The root on the right is crossing over the front. It could work but the top of the tree doesn’t support the design if I use it.  A tree should lean towards the viewer when viewed from the front and I’d have to bury most of those roots if it was the front. 

This side is just awkward.

 

It looks a bit like a Pokemon.  

 Yeah, these thoughts go through my head as I work on trees. “Podotree! I choose you!”
I’m thinking a front around here somewhere.    
The branching works with this as the front.  Mostly. 

 
There are some dead roots, but I’d have gotten rid of them anyway. Yay for me! 

 Now to prune.  

   
Regular readers may have noticed the change of venue and background for the pics. I’m at Reggie Purdue’s house for his first Saturday Studygroup meeting of the Brevard bonsai club.  

   They were doing some serious bonsai. Here’s Reggie bending a buttonwood cascade.  
   There’s some serious force being applied there, he’s a chiropractor by trade. 
I only got this far at Reggie’s place, I was talking too much.  

 Basically, I trimmed back the foliage in the same way as the last podocarpus post, Podocarpus? Podo-crazy! And I jinned all the branches on the left side. Let’s retire to my nursery, I’ve had enough company.  

 And I can carve with impunity in my own space without worrying about making a mess.This was a serious trunch chop back in the day. 

 
Let’s see what I can do.  

  

  

 Just a regular drill and a drill bit. 

A roto-saw on my die grinder.  

    
 Basically, I reamed it out from the top and opened it up on the bottom, and created a hollow. 

   

Now to put some wire on it.  
 I need to do some thing with the roots. It’s not sitting in a round pot, even though from this angle it looks like it does. 

See?  

 I need some courage…..

 ……. I think I need to move it in the pot. I think it’ll work, why? Cuz I’m a wizard……
a demon in disguise…
I know I’m a little early working the roots but the last three podos I’ve made pot adjustments to are thriving. I’m beginning to think that you can mess with their roots just like a tropical; by that I mean just as long as they are growing.  

 That wasn’t so bad, I didn’t have to remove much at all. 

Here’s the before pic: 

 
and the after: 

 

The tree looks precarious and damaged. Old. My goal, when showing it, is to have small, tight but sparse foliage to keep the tree looking like its teetering on the precipice of life and death. 

I’ll apply some lime sulfur in a month or so (for that one guy who will ask about it). I like the carved edge of the cambium/bark to begin healing before I paint the lime sulfur on. And, truth be told, I couldn’t finish the beer. Pumpkin and stout and a big bottle like that does not make for easy drinking. 

About adamaskwhy

Visual artist specializing in bonsai, mostly.
This entry was posted in carving, redesign, wiring and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Is it really necessary to do that? 

  1. Joe caldwell says:

    I noticed that you mentioned rules when you were deciding on which is the front.

    What’s your thoughts on the handlebar branches as being a “bad” rule?

    Love your blog and read every post. Finally got the nads to post a comment.

    • adamaskwhy says:

      Bar branches or handlebar branches are not good for the horticultural reason that, as the branches thicken, you’ll develop a thickening called reverse or inverse taper.
      Stylistically, having two branches at the same spot tends to be boring and stops the eye from moving up the tree. It’s literally a visual stop. That’s why I killed off the several branches that were bars. When the dead branch is bleached white it’ll contrast with the living branch (hopefully, if not I’ll have to shorten them more)

  2. Teschio63 says:

    Questa pianta l’hai strapazzata per bene, ma ne aveva bisogno dopo una lunga siesta!! Mi piace il lavoro di jin sui rami e shari sul tronco che magicamente ha ripreso vita ed interesse. Io non sono ancora arrivato a queste lavorazioni di rami e tronco, più avanti ti chiederó delle cose su questa tecnica. By 💀💪🏾💀💪🏾

  3. Heather says:

    Your posts are so helpful! Thank you very much! I learn something new every time I read one.

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