Author Topic: Blue Atlas Cedar  (Read 14077 times)

Steven

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Re: Blue Atlas Cedar
« Reply #15 on: July 13, 2009, 09:45 PM »
Thank you much for your experience and tips. I will keep these in mind as I develop this tree another way. I left the roots alone as it doesn't have many. The pot I have it in now is shallow, only 1 1/2" deep but big enough that the root should be able to roam a little. Also hoping that it will start to stand up on its own as it was a true Shakan. Not wired or trained to grow that way. I have a couple of "whips", 1 blue and 1 aureum, that lean some from the base to about 12" and then lay over horizontally. That is just how they have grown. I try to place them according to the sun in hopes they pull themselves towards the light but no luck. I thank you for your time and advice Alex.  8)
 

weeijk

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Re: Blue Atlas Cedar
« Reply #16 on: July 15, 2009, 05:16 AM »
Hi Steven,

When I look at y'r tree now, the 4 new pictures, I can't get arround the feeling that it has a lack of taper.
I would chop it down to about 3 branches, or chop down to just under the top. When I would do the second chop I would wire some curves in the trunk. From there out, I would do as Alex suggested, let it grow wild for 2 or 3 seasons, speccially in the toppart, reducing the growth on the branches you want to use later (getting or leaving growth next to the trunk)
Keep allready in mind that you need a second chop to gain even more taper.

Hope you understand a little what I mean,

Keep us posted, Wessel
 

Steven

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Re: Blue Atlas Cedar
« Reply #17 on: July 15, 2009, 06:35 AM »
I understand Wessel. I won't begin the chop process til next yr. In trying to place this tree upright I have put alot of stress on the roots. I had to wire down the side that was under the slant of the tree then prop the tree with the notched tongue depresser. I'll let everyone know how it goes. Thanks!
 

rockm

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Re: Blue Atlas Cedar
« Reply #18 on: July 15, 2009, 08:41 AM »
"I understand the conveying a message with the tree. My message was simple: A lone Atlas Cedar reaches out for sunlight amongst a cliffs ledge(pots low side is the cliff while the tall back represented the mountain wall)."

I agree with the redesign choice to a more upright position. This tree ain't cascade material.

The above quote made me think of how some folks can get trapped thinking more in terms of a "story," which can cloud the realities of their material. This is a pet peeve of mine, so I beg indulgence here as this isn't aimed specifically at the poster.

"Stories" for trees ARE NOT NECESSARY. Making them up can lead to awkward and forced compositions. Problems can arise when a designer has a specific idea of the composition he wanted, not in the immediate demands of the actual tree he has.

Design always starts with the tree, not with a story about the tree. Fictional stories can lead to all kinds of rationalizations that compromise design choices--"Oh, yeah that bar branch is there because it was protected from the winter winds blowing up from the rock face." You don't use the tree to tell a story. The tree tells its own story through its existing characteristics. Listening to the tree, not to the narrative in your head, usually will show the best path design to take.

Specifically, this tree has no descending branching that could be used as the dropped cascade branch. A cascade trunk has to descend drastically and immediately to be convincing in design. A gradual, arched or bowed cascade looks odd and forced.  There is also no opposing branch  that could serve as a crown for a cascade--the drastically dropped branches in most good cascades have a branch that moves upward at almost a right angle to visually counterbalance them.

This tree has typical opposite branching and a straightish trunk that translates into informal upright--not formal upright (a style that is quite demanding in starting material).
 

AlexV

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Re: Blue Atlas Cedar
« Reply #19 on: July 15, 2009, 11:46 AM »
Ya know, I went back and read my post and realized it implied I was advocating making Steven's cedar into a cascade.  I actually was thinking informal upright for Steven's.  I was only using the example of my little cedar to show that you can put some big wire on it and really put on some curves.  The steps you go through for most styles in this beginning stage is similar, but I agree, cascade isn't right for this tree.

I also highly support your plan to give the tree a rest.  I think Boon has finally broken me of the habit of working on material that isn't healthy/ready, and my trees are much happier for it.

Alex
 

bonsaikc

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Re: Blue Atlas Cedar
« Reply #20 on: July 15, 2009, 02:19 PM »
Thank you much for your experience and tips. I will keep these in mind as I develop this tree another way. I left the roots alone as it doesn't have many. The pot I have it in now is shallow, only 1 1/2" deep but big enough that the root should be able to roam a little. Also hoping that it will start to stand up on its own as it was a true Shakan. Not wired or trained to grow that way. I have a couple of "whips", 1 blue and 1 aureum, that lean some from the base to about 12" and then lay over horizontally. That is just how they have grown. I try to place them according to the sun in hopes they pull themselves towards the light but no luck. I thank you for your time and advice Alex.  8)

Steven,
You've received some good advice so far in this thread both on the horticultural and artistic fronts.

These trees are much like pines in that, when you cut a branch or the trunk, leaving a longish stub will prevent you from losing branches below the cut. Let it dry for a year and then carve it back.

I think you are hoping for too much in waiting for heliotropism (the capacity for a plant to seek the sun) with most bonsai material. It takes many years for environmental influences to affect trees in this way in the wild, and they may never do so in a bonsai pot or in your microclimate. This is why we take matters into our own hands with wire and clippers. If your bonsai looks as if it were reaching for the light, this is a win, even if you have done it with artificial means.

Good luck!

Chris
 

johng

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Re: Blue Atlas Cedar
« Reply #21 on: July 15, 2009, 04:40 PM »
"I understand the conveying a message with the tree. My message was simple: A lone Atlas Cedar reaches out for sunlight amongst a cliffs ledge(pots low side is the cliff while the tall back represented the mountain wall)."

I agree with the redesign choice to a more upright position. This tree ain't cascade material.

The above quote made me think of how some folks can get trapped thinking more in terms of a "story," which can cloud the realities of their material. This is a pet peeve of mine, so I beg indulgence here as this isn't aimed specifically at the poster.

"Stories" for trees ARE NOT NECESSARY. Making them up can lead to awkward and forced compositions. Problems can arise when a designer has a specific idea of the composition he wanted, not in the immediate demands of the actual tree he has.

Design always starts with the tree, not with a story about the tree. Fictional stories can lead to all kinds of rationalizations that compromise design choices--"Oh, yeah that bar branch is there because it was protected from the winter winds blowing up from the rock face." You don't use the tree to tell a story. The tree tells its own story through its existing characteristics. Listening to the tree, not to the narrative in your head, usually will show the best path design to take.

Specifically, this tree has no descending branching that could be used as the dropped cascade branch. A cascade trunk has to descend drastically and immediately to be convincing in design. A gradual, arched or bowed cascade looks odd and forced.  There is also no opposing branch  that could serve as a crown for a cascade--the drastically dropped branches in most good cascades have a branch that moves upward at almost a right angle to visually counterbalance them.

This tree has typical opposite branching and a straightish trunk that translates into informal upright--not formal upright (a style that is quite demanding in starting material).

I think I kind of agree and disagree with what you are saying Rock.  I think the most important thing you said was, "The tree tells its own story through its existing characteristics."  Regardless of what narrative the artist may have had in their head during the training or creation of the tree...the bottom line for me is the "story" the tree shows me as a viewer...although the "story" may be similar for different viewers ultimately it is unique to each individual.  The trees that move me the most are the ones which make a connection with my experiences.  This is also true in my own trees...I have many that are reasonable trees but its the one which make that connection to my experience that have the most appeal.

John
 

Steven

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Re: Blue Atlas Cedar
« Reply #22 on: July 15, 2009, 09:11 PM »
These may help some I don't know. Found the very first pictures I took of this tree when I removed it from the package it arrived in. These were taken 2 years ago. Like I said I did buy this through Ebay and looking back on my purchasing records the seller is from GA. Please be gentle  ;)
 

rockm

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Re: Blue Atlas Cedar
« Reply #23 on: July 16, 2009, 09:48 AM »
John,

I understand where you're coming from. I think good bonsai do "tell a story" but that story is largely in the viewer's head and, as you said, that story varies from viewer to viewer according to their life experiences.

The point I was aiming at (and probably missed  ;))  is that sometimes bonsaists get stuck on constructing elaborate tales to back up design decisions. While there can be some merit in that approach--"a prevailing wind forced branches in one direction", there can also be alot of justification and rationalization about bad design decisions.
 

Herman

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Re: Blue Atlas Cedar
« Reply #24 on: October 17, 2012, 02:14 PM »
Lol, I liked the tree at a slant...there are many ways to skin a cat...

Pinch and lil needlepluckin in the top regions, less so in the middle regions, and leaving the bottom to grow out. High nitrogen fertilizer in spring and first half of summer, wire and patience. You guys confused him to formal upright then to informal upright then cascade, then started arguing about the story a tree conveys, LOL!

 

Steven

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Re: Blue Atlas Cedar
« Reply #25 on: December 12, 2012, 08:04 PM »
I miss this little guy.
 

nathanbs

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Re: Blue Atlas Cedar
« Reply #26 on: December 13, 2012, 12:23 AM »
Do you mean the tree or Herman? ;)
 

Steven

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Re: Blue Atlas Cedar
« Reply #27 on: December 14, 2012, 09:09 PM »
The tree. Never met Herman so don't know his stature.
 

Herman

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Re: Blue Atlas Cedar
« Reply #28 on: December 14, 2012, 09:28 PM »
Do you mean the tree or Herman? ;)

You really are an idiot, aren't you...

@ steven, my condolences

why did it end up on the firewood pile?
 

Don Dunn

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Re: Blue Atlas Cedar
« Reply #29 on: December 18, 2012, 12:43 AM »
I'm new to Bonsai,  at least in a serious way. I have a large Weeping Blue Atlas Cedar in my Japanese landscaped back yard. You have inspired me a bit to try and doing an air layer on mine. I have not  seen any Weeping Blue Atlas's used as Bonsai and I wondered why not. Maybe it's the long cascading branches folks don't like. Well I'm a little twisted and think it might be a good challenge to work on. I just joined a club and will start some lessons this January. I hope I can get a few tips from people on the forum. Be kind to me but also be real and I hope to improve over time.