Gnarly. Needs work, it’s not ideal, but sometimes we just gotta work on what we have or are given.
There’s no such thing as perfection in this world.
The Japanese understand this and I find it ironic that in an art form of Japanese origin, so many people think that there are rules.
The only rule, in the words of Mr. Miyagi, is to “…make it look like tree…”
But that’s not the lesson today. It’ll be a bit more of a harsh and abrupt a lesson than those simple words from a 1980’s classic movie.
First, though, is the tree prepared and healthy enough for what I’m going to do?
Ilex vomitoria “Schillings”. A dwarf yaupon holly.
It is healthy, the leaves are a good size (I don’t like them to be too big or too small. Both of which means the tree is about to run out of energy, or carbohydrate).
This little guy is jussst right.
As I ponder my life’s decisions, I’ll cut off some dead ends.
I got the tree from a box store, maybe Walmart or The Home Depot.
I think it may have been in a one gallon pot and I up potted it into this three gallon pot to let it grow out a few years ago.
The spring growth hasn’t started on this tree yet, or it’s already hardened off. This means I can work on it. The energy hasn’t been wasted pushing out new growth I’m just gonna chop or, if it’s hardened off, it’s generated, through photosynthesis,enough to replace all its used in that first push of foliage.
So any work I do here now is safe. Relatively.
We have a trunk. It has scars but it’s strong. Good roots. But, in allowing it to grow unrestricted and unchecked, I’ve lost taper and movement in the branches. I’ve lost perspective. That’s important when looking at things.
This branch, below,though cool and strong, is just not going in the direction I need it to go in. So it must be pruned off.
This is taperless, straight and unbending.
There will be more growth. Don’t worry.
Now this next part will seem excessive. The tree has put forward so much time and energy growing all this. It just wouldn’t be right…..Chunk!
That thinking is a trap.
Thinking that allowing a thing to grow, get big and strong, and then cutting it off, is a waste. The tree expended energy growing it, indeed, but it also created and has stored new energy in that growing. If it didn’t, it would not be alive. There’d be no progress, no development.
Look at it this way. All that the tree has gone through and encountered: the sun, the water, the drought, the fertilizers, the bugs and disease, is in preparation for what comes after.
What it could possible become.
In this case, a bonsai.
I’m not sure where the end is for this tree.
Being the artist I am, I can guess at maybe a few possibilities
But we shall see. The future is wide open, it’s so bright, I gotta wear shades. The lesson? Sometimes you gotta cut out parts that, though they may be growing and thriving, may not be going in the right direction for the tree.
Maybe I can finally make some yaupon tea out of the pruned branches. Make some use out of them.
Hmmmmmmnnnn…… I haven’t sprayed any chemicals in about a year…..I’ll let you know if I do….