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General Category => Evergreen Bonsai Discussion => Topic started by: Chrisl on August 22, 2011, 12:45 PM

Title: My new acquisitions from the Midwest Show
Post by: Chrisl on August 22, 2011, 12:45 PM
I wanted to share with everyone my newest additions to my 'collection'...a term I use lightly ;)

Pics 1,2 are a Shimpaku I did with Ryan Oneil in a workshop.  I got the Shimpaku at the show.  I forgot wire so it still needs to be wired.  All I did was thin it out and create the jins, which also need to be wired asap before they harden up.  The plan is to bring the large branch forward to complement the movement in the trunk.  The remaining branches will be new pads.  I'll shoot some pics after I get it wired up.

Pics 3-5 are pics from a finished Sawara Boulevard Cypress I bought from Warren Hill.  (I had only one 'finished' tree which I lost this spring do to my own fault).  So I wanted another that I can appreciate now, and that I can change the styling if I ever want too.  The pot is hideously ugly, way too deep (6") and inappropriate for this tree.   So I splurged on a Sara Raynor pot.  The color picks up nicely the color of the bark, and the ever so slight blue tone along the dots on the pot, picks up the blue from the cypress.  I'll repot in the spring.

The last two are pics of a 150 y/o Ponderosa Pine I got from Andy Smith.  It needs to establish itself for two years before any work, and repot in 3.  I love the knarly knot and it will be the focus point.  Ryan also gave me some future styling ideas that I thought were great.

The show was great.  Ryan is a really good teacher:  patient, funny, a great eye, and an outstanding fund of knowledge.  And to top it off, very generous with his time.

Chris
Title: Re: My new acquisitions from the Midwest Show
Post by: Chrisl on August 22, 2011, 12:47 PM
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Title: Re: My new acquisitions from the Midwest Show
Post by: Chrisl on August 22, 2011, 12:48 PM
When I do repot the pine, I'm going to plant it more sideways for a fluid curve starting at ground level so it's not coming straight out of the pot.  Also lean it forward to bring the knarly not downward.  It'll also make it easier to get the final styling I want.

Title: Re: My new acquisitions from the Midwest Show
Post by: Treebeard55 on August 22, 2011, 11:58 PM
Nice trees! I particularly like the ponderosa, but then I'm a confirmed pine-o-phile!  :D

I agree that Ryan Neill is an excellent teacher: knows a HECKuva lot, and how to communicate effectively too. (Like leaning one way and throwing one arm back the other way to illustrate tension between a tree's primary and secondary lines.) The Critique on Friday evening was the most worthwhile bonsai-related two hours I've spent in a long time!

Friday afternoon at the show I wore a little paper nametag saying "Treebeard55." Maybe we should all wear nametags next year with our usernames! ;)
Title: Re: My new acquisitions from the Midwest Show
Post by: Chrisl on August 23, 2011, 11:03 AM
Thanks Steve.  I too just absol. love pines too.  Prob. favorite species for me, why?  I don't know, it's hard to verbalize.

And I agree, the fri pm critique was fantastic.  I too learned a ton.  The time went way too fast ;)

Nametags...perhaps.  Though I'm not a huge fan of wearing them lol

What do you all think of the pot.  Did I make a good selection for that tree??  I must admit, picking out a pot was more labor intensive than what I would've thought lol
Title: Re: My new acquisitions from the Midwest Show
Post by: Treebeard55 on August 23, 2011, 12:18 PM
...What do you all think of the pot.  Did I make a good selection for that tree??  ...

I think the color will work very well; Sara should call that finish "ponderosa!" The oval with corded rim reflects the combination of grace and strength in the tree's movement and its appearance (bark, needles.)

I can't tell from the pics whether the pot size will be appropriate, so no comment on that. Otherwise, yes, I think it's a good choice.  :)
Title: Re: My new acquisitions from the Midwest Show
Post by: Chrisl on August 23, 2011, 01:07 PM
Thanks Steve!  It's nice to hear feedback on things like this as it's an area I'm just starting to get to learn about.  The new oval is just an inch wider than the pot it's in now.  I think, the size is perfect.
Title: Re: My new acquisitions from the Midwest Show
Post by: tanlu on August 23, 2011, 01:40 PM
Looks like I've stumbled into the right thread. Pine is my favorite subject for bonsai as well. I think it's the contrast of ruggedness and grace that they naturally possess. I also dig that ponderosa. The needle color and bark detail is wonderful. They're hard to find in my area, and I've only seen them in bonsai collections. Seems like you're going in the right direction with the tree. I'm looking forward to seeing where it goes, but that'll have to wait until 2013.. ;)
Title: Re: My new acquisitions from the Midwest Show
Post by: bonsaiTom on August 24, 2011, 06:01 AM
Love that pot. Sara's you say? I was going to guess Dale Cochoy. Very nice either way. Looks massive, but only because of the low angle.

Great new materials for your collection. I, too, love the pines and I'm trying to love shimpaku (and other juni's) but have more trouble with them. It's an area I am working on. That's why our club programs and workshops are so beneficial.
Title: Re: My new acquisitions from the Midwest Show
Post by: coh on August 24, 2011, 10:00 AM
That's a neat old ponderosa! Looking forward to seeing that one evolve. Same with the junipers.

I'm curious about the cypress - other than repotting, what are your plans for that tree? Do you consider it "finished" in a styling sense, or is it "trunk finished" and still in need of significant styling/wiring? Hard to tell from the photos.

Chris
Title: Re: My new acquisitions from the Midwest Show
Post by: Chrisl on August 24, 2011, 10:44 AM
tanlu, I know, 2013 is a long way off lol  I can either repot then and style the following year or vice versa.  I could get away with restyling next year accord. to Andy, but the curator of the Chicago Botanic Bonsai collection told me to wait two years as it was only collected this year.  So I decided to go with the more conservative timing.  A true test of my patience LOL

bonsaiTom, the pot fits this feminine looking tree well.  Both Sara and I thought it was a well fitting pot, style wise and sizing.

Coh, the ponderosa was the most expensive bonsai I've ever bought.  But I just couldn't get my eye away from it no matter how many times I left...I always kept coming back hehe  So I HAD to buy it ;)
I'm so glad Ryan was there and willing to give me a direction to take this pine for the initial styling. 

Regarding the cypress, for right now, I'm just going to repot in the spring and keep this style till it outgrows it or I get tired of it.  But for now, yes, I consider this a 'finished' tree.  I will put some wire on some areas, and work on getting better ramification.  But nothing significant in terms of wire and styling. 

I got off work yesterday, and worked on the juniper for 5 hrs.  I've gotten the main leader wired forward and down.  Put raffia on it first, my first time ever working with raffia (Ryan showed us how to properly use and put on raffia.  I did a 'just ok' job, but not horrendous considering it was my first try.  I used 2 tension wires, as well as 8 gauge copper wire...another first working with large copper wiring.  I wired two branches with one wire, and came up just a bit short on the leader branch.  I underestimated the amt. of wire needed to go around the trunk to get to the second branch.  But it was so much wire and work I'm leaving it.  Lesson learned.  But the bones of the style is coming to fruition.  Now it's all finer wiring work for placement of smaller branches and pads.  This is going to turn out really nicely if I can style the tree to what vision of the tree I have in my head. lol

I'll post some pic updates later.  I need to shoot a pic now, and then again after the initial styling is complete.
Title: Re: My new acquisitions from the Midwest Show
Post by: John Kirby on August 24, 2011, 12:38 PM
I like the Sarah Raynor pot, I think she has a good eye and incredible talent. For my tastes, it seems too large for the cypress, but that is just my preference, I am sure that you will enjoy it tremendously. A couple of things about the Cypress, they don't bud back particularly strongly. What this means is that you will want to be sure to keep the branches in scale, that is keep them as short as you can by pruning and don't let it become a complete bush.  By allowing the interior to remain somewhat lit, you will keep the interior foliage (and buds) alive. You wiringto frm fan shaped pads with foliage in depth also help with this.

Good luck,
John
Title: Re: My new acquisitions from the Midwest Show
Post by: Chrisl on August 24, 2011, 01:41 PM
John, Thanks for chiming in here.  I too wasn't sure about the size/width in particular.  But Sara and two other vendors I hit up for thoughts liked the size.  This is what you're talking about right, and not the depth of the pot?  It was a close call either way.  I appreciate your honesty!  And I'm sure you're right too, I will enjoy it nevertheless.

May I ask about the Cypress?  Two things I've wondered about since getting it home.  One is the pruning part,  do I pinch or cut to keep it in style?  And two, (you're right, it needs some wiring) does this species branch out going up first, then wire downward and then upward at the branch end to form the pads?  Or should I wire it going downward straight from the trunk?  I don't know the normal plant growth patterns of Cypress'.  (I want to do it right from the start as, from what I learned being a judges assistant to Ryan, was that the angle of the branching needs to be consistent with the plants normal growth patterns)
Title: Re: My new acquisitions from the Midwest Show
Post by: John Kirby on August 24, 2011, 08:28 PM
It will grow upward. I think the key thing is to understand that you will need to get it on a cycle of foliage reduction, pruning, wiring and then growth. I think Boon posted a sawara here somewhere, the key is that you want it to be dense enough to give the feel of ramification, yet open enough to allow light, air, etc in to the core of the tree.

The key point is to wire it completely, develop the pads and then pinch and prune as appropriate to form the density and silhouette. If you don't get in to the rhythm of wiring, pinching, pruning, repeat, you won't get the tree that you expect to.

John

Title: Re: My new acquisitions from the Midwest Show
Post by: Chrisl on August 25, 2011, 09:10 AM
Thanks John!  I appreciate the guidance as I've never worked on a Cypress before.

Any comment about the size of the pot while I have you here?  Too wide, long or too deep in your opinion?  I'm just trying to learn more about pot selection as this was my first investment in a quality pot.

Thanks again John!
Title: Re: My new acquisitions from the Midwest Show
Post by: John Kirby on August 25, 2011, 02:27 PM
Well, the pot thing is always tough. I would put a finished tree in a much smaller pot, at least shallower because of the elegant and slender trunk line. The refinement of the pot that you have selected is great, curved with soft corners and edges- and a good color, it works well. I think the concept that the pot and the tree should harmonize is critical, Ryan's comment that the pot should never detract from the tree, that is by standing out or overpowering the tree is key. An example, look at some of the pots that Mr. Kimura puts his trees in, the Antique Chinese pots are worth many thousands (and in some cases much more) of dollars,  most trees would be made inconsequential by the pot, but the right superb quality trees can use the pot and by enhanced by it.

The tree and the pot should harmonize, there is a huge component of esthetic and a good deal of proportional requirement here, you have made a very nice choice that will allow you to enjoy the tree great deal over the next several years. One thing that I have found (this is strongly influence by Boon)  is that it is often fun to change pot and tree combinations at repotting, frequently you can get a whole new perspective on your tree.

Good Luck,
John

PS- the little Trident that was the tree of the Month for AUgust (at the top of the page for a few more days) is planted in a very nice Erin pot, however, when the tree is shown it will be shown in a much smaller pot that won't make it feel so much like it is swimming in a big pool.....
Title: Re: My new acquisitions from the Midwest Show
Post by: Chrisl on August 26, 2011, 11:10 AM
Sorry John for the late reply, I worked late last night.  But I wanted to Thank You very much for elaborating on this issue and in such great detail.  I've got a lot to learn about the whole pot selection process.  I knew the pot might be a bit large based on the "rules":  W=2/3 ht, L= 1/2 ht and D= Diam. of trunk.  But thought it would work (and I was concerned about going to small, too fast, considering the 6" depth of the pot.)  

I broke out "The Magician" to see Mr. Kimura's pots...didn't pay attention my first read thru to be honest.  I now see what you mean.  The pots do harmonize very well with his bonsais.  And now that I think about it more deliberately, I think I chose the pot more for the 'harmony' to the tree and less thought about the sizing.  It looked good to me at the time despite the "rules".  I'm at least glad that the pot will work for me and the Cypress for now.  And what a good idea to change the pot over time for a new look...interesting to learn it came from Boon ;)

I looked at the your little Trident.  First off, really nice bonsai John!  Secondly, the Erin pot is very nice! But I see what you mean considering it's only 6" tall.  Shohin bonsai with large fat trunks must be a bit difficult choosing pots, esp. if you go by the "rules".  

And I also wanted to let you know I appreciate your long term styling tips for a Cypress:   I think Boon posted a sawara here somewhere, the key is that you want it to be dense enough to give the feel of ramification, yet open enough to allow light, air, etc in to the core of the tree.

The key point is to wire it completely, develop the pads and then pinch and prune as appropriate to form the density and silhouette. If you don't get in to the rhythm of wiring, pinching, pruning, repeat, you won't get the tree that you expect to.


This bonsai DOES need wiring and some pinching and pruning right now.  The pads are weak, as well as the ramification.  It's not what I envision as 'finished' right now.  Good branch structure, but needs working.  Do you think it's a good time to wire it up and leave it on over winter, or wait till late winter?  And start the pinching and pruning next spring?

(I'm going to track down Boons Cyress thread now.  Thanks for the info, I'd love some examples of well done Cypress')

Title: Re: My new acquisitions from the Midwest Show
Post by: Chrisl on August 26, 2011, 11:29 AM
Wow, what a beauty that Cypress of Boon's is!  And totally different plant morphology too.  I did a google search on 'Sawara Cypress', and came up with all these diff. varietals:

Chamaecyparis pisifera 'Baby Blue'   Baby Blue Sawara Cypress
Chamaecyparis pisifera 'Boulevard'   Blue Moss Cypress
Chamaecyparis pisifera 'Golden Mops'   Golden Mops Threadleaf Falsecypress
Chamaecyparis pisifera 'Plumosa Juniperoides'   Sawara False Cypress
Chamaecyparis pisifera 'Squarrosa Minima'   Miniature Moss False Cypress
Chamaecyparis pisifera 'True Blue'   True Blue Sawara Cypress

Now I have no idea exactly which one I have LOL  Could be the Baby Blue, Boulevard, or True Blue.  They all looked the same to me from what I could tell.

But anyway, I'm amazed at the full, well developed pads and density Boon was able to achieve.  Amazing!
Title: Re: My new acquisitions from the Midwest Show
Post by: coh on August 26, 2011, 11:54 AM
I assume this is the thread you're talking about?

http://bonsaistudygroup.com/conifer-bonsai-discussion/sawara-cypress/ (http://bonsaistudygroup.com/conifer-bonsai-discussion/sawara-cypress/)

Very nice tree. I have seen a couple of really nice boulevard cypress bonsai around here (Rochester area), including one formal upright that was spectacular. That tree prompted me to buy one last fall from a local nursery (not a bonsai nursery) in the hopes of creating such a specimen. Unfortunately it did not have the branch structure so I've had to go a different route entirely. I've read many places that they are not easy to work with due to the tendency of foliage/branches to die back if they don't get enough sun, and the lack of backbudding. We'll see...

Chris

Title: Re: My new acquisitions from the Midwest Show
Post by: Chrisl on August 26, 2011, 12:34 PM
Yes Chris, that's it.  I've seen recently two Boulevards on display at the Chicago Botanic Garden's bonsai display.  I may have some pics, if so I'll post them as they were awesome trees!

I'm glad John mentioned the lack of back budding as the seller didn't tell me that very important info.  

Note, I was going to post the work I've done on the Shimpaku but thought I'd start a new thread.  But I will post the pics of the Boulevards if I can find them.
Title: Re: My new acquisitions from the Midwest Show
Post by: Chrisl on August 26, 2011, 01:41 PM
Here they are.  The first was 3-4' tall.  The second, 2-3'.
Title: Re: My new acquisitions from the Midwest Show
Post by: Chrisl on September 10, 2011, 11:30 AM
Can I wire and style the Boulevard Cypress now that fall is here?  I've cut back foliage on too large of branches, and left untouched, branches that need to thicken the branches as the branch size isn't great, I have larger branches above lower branches.  And it needs wiring.   
Title: Re: My new acquisitions from the Midwest Show
Post by: Kajukid on September 10, 2011, 07:18 PM
i really like the thoes tree's Chrisl, but i really like the second pic...i like the way the trees lean...really nice work..how long have you had them for?
Title: Re: My new acquisitions from the Midwest Show
Post by: Chrisl on September 11, 2011, 01:38 AM
I wish I could say they were mine, those two B. Cypress' are from the Bonsai Collection from the Chicago Botanic Garden.  But I agree, they are great trees!
Title: Re: My new acquisitions from the Midwest Show
Post by: Chrisl on September 11, 2011, 11:23 AM
Can I wire and style the Boulevard Cypress now that fall is here?  I've cut back foliage on too large of branches, and left untouched, branches that need to thicken the branches as the branch size isn't great, I have larger branches above lower branches.  And it needs wiring.   

Anyone?
Title: Re: My new acquisitions from the Midwest Show
Post by: MatsuBonsai on September 11, 2011, 08:49 PM
Is it strong and healthy?  Is it growing well?  NOw is a fine time to wire. Be sure to take (and post) before and after pictures.
Title: Re: My new acquisitions from the Midwest Show
Post by: Chrisl on September 12, 2011, 12:41 PM
Great!!  Thank You John!  It is very strong and healthy.  I'll def. take some pics as I go along.  Plus, it's just been fantastic weather for working outside and not sweating my fanny off!  Which makes working with the trees even more fun.
Again, Thanks for the info!
Title: Re: My new acquisitions from the Midwest Show
Post by: Chrisl on September 15, 2011, 11:22 AM
Ok,  Here's how far I've gotten so far.  I'm slow so this part took about 3 hrs lol  The first pic is the same as the beginning of this thread, with nothing done to it.  The second shows the partial wiring job.  I'm getting off work early so I'll have another 3-4 hrs to work on it today. 
Title: Re: My new acquisitions from the Midwest Show
Post by: Chrisl on September 16, 2011, 11:24 AM
I'll post some more pics of more of the wiring today.  Hope you like it Matsu! 
Title: Re: My new acquisitions from the Midwest Show
Post by: Judy on September 16, 2011, 04:24 PM
Chris, I read this thread with interest, as I don't know of many good boulivard cypress personally.  I'm sure there are plenty out there. I do like yours, I have one that was a nursery stock plant that I've been working for 4 years now.  I've found that if you keep on pinching throughout the season, that they do backbud if it's healthy and growing well.  I've had good luck with that on my tree.  I've pinched by twisting the new growth, that gives a clean break and it's pretty easy.  I do mine about every 2-3 weeks, as it seems to put out new growth pretty fast.  And that's given me some new budding inside, which I need.  I have also found that micro climate seems to matter a lot to these trees, they do so love cool humid air.  And BTW I LOVE the pot.  Mine is in a round green glaze drum, but I really dig the pot you've chosen.  Cheers!
Title: Re: My new acquisitions from the Midwest Show
Post by: Chrisl on September 16, 2011, 07:09 PM
Thanks Judy!  That's real good news that the BCypress has the potential to backbud.  I could use it as some of my branches are a little leggy.  I'm about halfway done with wiring and now have to finish wiring so the bottom (where it's wired downward and then upward at the tips to develop pads) looks like a real tree as typically the top third have the branches going upward.  I'm fighting a bit at this point, as the way it is looking, there will be a gap...not good.  I'll probably wire it up as good as I can and then try your method next growing season to see if I can some more backbuds for further branch development and branch ramification.

I need to take a photo of the tree; tomorrow as the light is too low right now.
Title: Re: My new acquisitions from the Midwest Show
Post by: Chrisl on September 17, 2011, 08:50 PM
Here is a pic halfway thru, I got quite a bit more done later today so will take a pic tom am before I continue.  It's really opening up and adding more character imo ;)
Title: Re: My new acquisitions from the Midwest Show
Post by: Judy on September 18, 2011, 09:14 AM
Looks good so far, I have the same issues with trying to wire without creating gaps on mine.  It's sort of a conundrum with the backbudding.  I need to beef up the branches, as some are thinner than I'd like, but if you let it just grow, then you loose the inner buds.  So I've tried it this year, to pinch all the time, except for late season, and let those ones grow.  We will see how that turns out for me.  I see you're about the same zone as I am, are you planning any winter protection?
Title: Re: My new acquisitions from the Midwest Show
Post by: MatsuBonsai on September 18, 2011, 09:33 AM
Judy, where are you located?

Chris, there are some good YouTube videos by Bjorn on Cypress, and Boon has a great DVD on wiring.
Title: Re: My new acquisitions from the Midwest Show
Post by: Chrisl on September 18, 2011, 11:13 AM
Judy I'm hoping by opening it up to more sunshine, and pinching, I'll get some back budding.  If so great, if not, then I'll just work on making this look the best I can.

John,  I'll see if I can find Bjorns videos.  And that wiring was done after me watching that wiring dvd 15-20X LOL
I had a hard time with the thick g. copper as it's store bought copper wiring from Home Depot.  So getting it tight was challenging to say the least.  (As such, I'm ordering some copper wire from Mr. Adams this next week)
But at least, what do you think of the styling job John?  Do you like??
Title: Re: My new acquisitions from the Midwest Show
Post by: coh on September 18, 2011, 11:17 AM
Chris, the background on that photo is too distracting/busy, can't really see what the tree looks like!

One piece of advice regarding the cypress - watch those wires! I wired one up in early August and had wires cutting into the bark in less than a month! May not be such a problem now that the growing season is winding down, but mine still seems to be growing pretty well. I had cleared out a lot of foliage and haven't yet seen evidence of backbudding...but planning more clean out in the spring. We'll see!

Chris
Title: Re: My new acquisitions from the Midwest Show
Post by: Judy on September 18, 2011, 12:08 PM
Matsu,
I'm about an hour south and east of Columbus OH.  I've been storing mine in a cold greenhouse over the winter.  I just really took note that during the last couple of weeks, when it was cool and wet, that it really took off, and is super bushy now.  Of course I don't want to do any pruning now that would make it want to put out new growth, so I'll leave it for this year.  Going to try to find a spot for it that mimics that as much as possible from now on. 

Chris, sorry, I'm not trying to hijack your thread....
Title: Re: My new acquisitions from the Midwest Show
Post by: Chrisl on September 18, 2011, 12:17 PM
No worries Judy.  The more the welcome!

And Chris, I know!  I haven't made it to the hobby store to pickup a white background yet...it's on my list to do though ;)...just dawned on me, I have some old white blackout cloth that i can put up.  I'll try that today if it stops raining.

Good to hear about the wiring, it seems like such a slow grower that I wouldn't have a problem with the wire cutting in.  I'll keep a close eye on as i know, some of my wiring is a bit too loose and others a bit too tight.  Though my wiring has gotten much better, it's still needs work.  

John, I found Bjorns videos.  Not sure if you wanted me to notice his wiring techniques, or that he bends branches to hide leggy branches?  Or something else I missed?
Title: Re: My new acquisitions from the Midwest Show
Post by: MatsuBonsai on September 19, 2011, 08:34 AM
Keep practicing with annealed copper wire and you'll get better.  Good wiring should be pretty and effective.  Continue to look at good trees in person, online, and in good books and magazines and your eye will improve towards styling.  Several of Bjorn's videos cover care and maintenance of cypress, as well as a number of other species.  Boon's latest juniper DVD also covers some styling.
Title: Re: My new acquisitions from the Midwest Show
Post by: Chrisl on September 19, 2011, 09:18 AM
Thanks John!  I did get frustrated working with cheap HD copper wire. And the alum wire is black and ugly too.  So I placed an order from J. Adams for some good annealed copper wire yesterday.  So hopefully that'll help.  I also signed up for a class starting in Oct-Nov on sat am's at the Chicago Botanic Bonsai greenhouse.  But as you noted,  I need to improve my styling technique and seeing other well done trees helps a lot too.
Thanks for the suggestions John!
Title: Re: My new acquisitions from the Midwest Show
Post by: MatsuBonsai on September 19, 2011, 10:32 AM
Flipping through quality show books (BIB, Kokufu, etc.) will help improve your eye.  They also seem to help Winter go by quicker.
Title: Re: My new acquisitions from the Midwest Show
Post by: Chrisl on September 19, 2011, 07:49 PM
LOL!  I sure hope it will John!  I have several I bought this summer that I'm saving for winter.  But I didn't know they made show books.  I'll check into them, Thanks for the idea.  I agree, looking at quality bonsais do help, both with ideas and styling. 
Title: Re: My new acquisitions from the Midwest Show
Post by: Elliott on September 20, 2011, 01:14 AM
Hi
 Beautiful tree and Beautiful Rayner pot. Can I be nosy and ask aprox what the tree cost and what the pot cost? Just an idea maybe? I want to get a similar tree and a similar pot. Ive been to sara's website, so I can probaly guess what that pot was.
 I live In the Los Angeles area and Ponderosa's need some freezing cold in the winter or they will eventualy die, however according to Ryan Neal, if you graft black pine onto it, the tree will take on the needs of a black pine and they do excellent here. Those wonderfull, contorted trunks have more character than almost all other pines I think.
Title: Re: My new acquisitions from the Midwest Show
Post by: Chrisl on September 20, 2011, 10:14 AM
Hi Elliot,

I don't mind at all, the tree was $120 and the pot I believe was about $160.  The pots just about perfect, but slightly too large as noted by John in earlier posts.  But it'll work for now and I still really like it too ;)

Good Luck with the grafting project, sounds like a lot of work.  But it'd be gratifying in the end to have a PP.  I agree, their distorted trunks and great bark really gives each one it's own unique look.
Title: Re: My new acquisitions from the Midwest Show
Post by: Chrisl on September 24, 2011, 12:46 PM
John,  my copper wire order got delivered yesterday, and have spent last 2 hrs using annealed copper wire for the first time....I LOVE it!  I see why now so many people prefer copper.  Yes it's harder to put on, but using finer gauged wire, and the holding power is fantastic!  I really like the look too.  Thanks Julian Adams!

May I ask a couple of questions that have come up? 

1.  Can I cut off foliage off the tips of branches that are too thick towards the top of the tree now?  I did some cutback in Aug, but boy, on a few branches, the foliage is real thick and vigorous and the branch is also too thick to be up that high.  And I have several branches at the bottom and middle that look puny in comparison.  Should I cutback further now, or wait till next spring? (but remember, I want to repot into my new pot next spring too)

2.  Being that the density of the foliage in general is sparse, there's quite a few with secondary branches coming out on top of the primary branches.  I'd normally cut them off along with ones coming off the bottom, but am not sure I should cut the ones on top to preserve the foliage I have, and hope I'll get some back budding next year?

Thanks!
Title: Re: My new acquisitions from the Midwest Show
Post by: Chrisl on September 25, 2011, 10:59 AM
Anyone??  I'm probably going to finish getting it wired today and would love to know anyone's thoughts on the two questions.
Thanks!
Title: Re: My new acquisitions from the Midwest Show
Post by: MatsuBonsai on September 25, 2011, 03:13 PM
Any more pictures after the wiring?
Title: Re: My new acquisitions from the Midwest Show
Post by: Chrisl on September 25, 2011, 04:44 PM
Took this yesterday.  Thought it looked good till I uploaded it lol.  I got more done yesterday after this pic, and about to continue in awhile here.  I'll take a picture using flash this time if I have too.  So sorry for the crappy pic John.  I'll post some better ones tonight or tomorrow.
Title: Re: My new acquisitions from the Midwest Show
Post by: mcpesq817 on September 26, 2011, 09:25 AM
Looks like a pretty good start.  I'd leave it alone the rest of the year and let it recover, during which you can take more time to study the tree and figure out what direction you'd like to take with it.
Title: Re: My new acquisitions from the Midwest Show
Post by: Chrisl on September 26, 2011, 08:40 PM
I've got the majority of the tree wired now.  Only two apex need to be wired.  I' need to take some pics of the present work, and when I'm finally finished.  Then I'll leave it as suggested mcpesq817.   I agree.  And then I can look forward toward spring and potting this tree in a proper Sara Rayner's pot.  And I have all winter to think of the planting angle.... ;)

John, I bought the BIB 2000-2004 book as I could afford this one lol  But it is great to see so many great bonsai, photographed so nicely, in one book.  Some great Hinoki Cypress' I've seen so far, just a 1/4 through the book.  Gives me inspiration, design ideas, and hope that I'll eventually have some beautiful trees myself!  I'll get one of those Kokufu Exhibition books eventually.  They look very nice too!  I see one could spend a small fortune on these books  ;)
Title: Re: My new acquisitions from the Midwest Show
Post by: MatsuBonsai on September 26, 2011, 09:13 PM
A nice plain background will do wonders. I usually find that I see more in photos than I do in person. Well, different maybe. Peter suggested closing one eye and trying to view it in 2d. I'm still trying to figure out the secret.

You can usually find a good used Kokufu book on eBay for around $50 still a little pricey, but a little more manageable than full price. I find the more recent ones show highly refined trees.

Title: Re: My new acquisitions from the Midwest Show
Post by: Chrisl on September 27, 2011, 01:17 PM
I'll get them shot in front of a white piece of cloth this time John.  Getting just the right background, lighting and perspective isn't as easy as it seems lol  (More rain today...ugh!)

And Thanks for the thought of Ebay for used Kokufu books....$50 a lot more affordable.  Great to know!

Let me ask, is it ok to bring a tree inside to work on it when it's cold out, or raining out?  And then back outside... Just not sure it's good for the tree to go from 58 to 72 for say 4 hrs, and then back out to the 58F.  Anyone do this?
Title: Re: My new acquisitions from the Midwest Show
Post by: Chrisl on September 28, 2011, 12:14 PM
Ok, the rain let up enough for me to try my attempts at better photography.  The first is the front, second the side, and the third the back.  Still haven't had time to finish wiring apex's.
Title: Re: My new acquisitions from the Midwest Show
Post by: Chrisl on October 02, 2011, 01:50 PM
Any thoughts?  I played around with different planting angles but didn't come to any conclusions.  It already has good trunk movement from the soil line so I'll prob. just leave it as is when I repot next year.  How about the photography?  Suggestions for improvement?
Title: Re: My new acquisitions from the Midwest Show
Post by: coh on October 03, 2011, 03:53 PM
I'll take a stab. Keep in mind that I'm very new to bonsai and also to using photoshop, so these modified images/virts won't be very high quality.

First - the pictures with the simple white background are a big improvement. The issue I have with the photos is that it's hard to see the nebari/surface root structure. Maybe that is still buried in the soil? If not, a couple of pictures of that from different angles might help. The images seem a little dark, which may also be hiding some detail. I've tried to brighten them a little, and have posted one image below (attached image 2a)...seems to help a little. Also, you might want to get down a little lower when taking the photos, these seem to really be looking down at the tree and that can distort things. The general recommendation I've seen is to take the photo from about the level halfway between the surface and the first branch. Maybe others with more experience can offer more suggestions.

Second - I may have missed this earlier in the discussion, but which view do you anticipate to be the front? I'm assuming photo 1 or 2, most likely. If so...I'm wondering how you intend to handle the area where the trunk splits into 2 roughly equal sections? I'm guessing, based on the thickness, that those trunks probably are not really bendable. I find it somewhat distracting and think you might be fighting that as you design the tree. So maybe one of the other angles (something like 3, or its opposite view which isn't shown) would make that look better?

One option might be some major surgery to remove one of those trunks. I've taken photo 3 and removed first the left trunk to make a single trunk informal upright (image 2c), then removed the right trunk to make more of a literati style (image 2d). Again, keep in mind my inexperience here...and without seeing the tree in person it's tough to know if the branch structure would support something like either of these. Also I don't know if this species would do well as a literati.

Anyway, I don't know if this is any use, but it helps me to think about it.

Chris
Title: Re: My new acquisitions from the Midwest Show
Post by: Chrisl on October 04, 2011, 09:34 PM
Thanks Chris for any stab!  ;D  I appreciate any feedback. 

I thought the exposure was really good, but I think you're right, it could be a bit lighter.  Thanks for pointing that out. (though then you can see more of my crappy wiring job lol  I'm starting an intermediate bonsai class in two weeks, where I hope to learn how to apply it nicer, and without having to cross.)  However, working with annealed copper for the first time recently, I found myself doing it better strangely. This tree has alum, h. depot wire, and then I got the annealed copper and finished it out with that.  Much better!  ;D

There's not much nebari to speak of.  It's just badly in need of repotting with fine roots shooting out the surface.  Maybe there's something there deeper I'll find when I repot.

And yes, pic 1 is the anticipated front.  And actually, the trunks are quite flexible for the size.  Some 10g copper would prob. work, and I've/I'm considering it.  Do you not like the fact the two trunks split at the same level? (just trying to understand your critique). 
The second trunk spits into the trio which I like, but, if I guessed right about the trunk split, I tend to agree it's not a good feature of this tree.  I'll have to give it thought and play around a bit with different angles, and a white pillow case to cover up the L. branch against my 'new' white background.  lol   But anyway, as I looked at your virts, Thank You btw for doing those!, I'm not too keen on the literati style on this tree.  But the single trunk looks interesting.  I think I could pull that off by turning that L. branch into a jin, bend it to the left, and have the remaining R. trunk be the single trunk informal upright like in pic #1.  That might be interesting too. 
And Chris, I found your feedback very helpful, so again Thanks.

Chris
Title: Re: My new acquisitions from the Midwest Show
Post by: coh on October 04, 2011, 10:00 PM
Hi Chris,

You know, it's hard to say exactly what it is about that trunk fork that bothers me. Maybe it's because it's been drummed into me that the "slingshot" or "Y" is not a good bonsai feature, so now I can't not see them! It's tough to be sure from a 2-d photo, you'll be in a much better position to judge since you've got the tree in front of you. But it looks like the 2 trunks are very similar in size/shape and kind of mirror each other most of the way up, which seems very static to me. I'm hoping someone more experienced might offer some thoughts. Have you tried posting the tree on any other forums? Best of course would be to get someone locally with more experience to look at the tree in person. Maybe I'm just off base...just doesn't seem like a natural tree shape that I'd see in nature (which I know isn't necessarily an issue in bonsai).

Definitely take your time with any major decisions like this...the pillowcase (or paper towel) trick is great. If you think you've figured it out, wait till Spring before cutting anything, just to be sure.

By the way, on the wiring...I haven't wired too many trees yet, but generally it seems that it's pretty much impossible to completely avoid any wire crossing on most trees (I base this on my own efforts plus looking at wiring done by more advanced artists around here). You certainly want to take your time and plan the wiring to keep it to a minimum, though...when I wired my first trees I wasn't really thinking and planning ahead and as a result wound up with a real mess. I'm getting better each time...

Chris
Title: Re: My new acquisitions from the Midwest Show
Post by: Chrisl on October 06, 2011, 02:16 PM
Chris, no I haven't posted this on any other forum.  I maybe should as I'd prob. get more feedback.  But I really like this forum, is quiet, sane, and has some very knowledgable people.  Maybe I've burnt them out on this topic though ;D

Regarding the "Y", I had to spend sometime with the tree looking it over after reading this.  I have to admit, you're right.  The two trunks are pretty close together in girth.  The problem is, if I wanted to change it to an informal upright, the entire left side of the R. main trunk has nothing...same as the entire right side of the L. trunk has nothing.  And given this trees backbudding issues, I wonder if anything would grow back on the old wood.  I'll get some better pics and look it over this winter and go from there in the spring.  No rush as I'm sure the tree's had enough stress this year with my wiring.  (I too am getting better but still have the over tendency to wrap the wire too tight.  Working with the copper wire has helped though)

Thanks again Chris for sharing your thoughts!
Chris
Title: Re: My new acquisitions from the Midwest Show
Post by: MatsuBonsai on October 06, 2011, 02:21 PM
The Y is a little high, but you might be able to work with it, if you shorten one of the trunks dramatically.  I like the virts.  I'm not sure how the bunjin would work, as the base looks a little heavy, in the virtual at least. 

You could wire branches to one side or another if you went with a single trunk.  Then there's always grafting.  I'm not sure you should count on buds on the trunk at this point.
Title: Re: My new acquisitions from the Midwest Show
Post by: Chrisl on October 06, 2011, 03:03 PM
Thanks Matsu for your opinion!  I too like the single trunk virt, no so much the bunjin.   Thanks for concurring on the lack of backbudding on the older wood.  I could do several approach grafts from the sacrificial trunk, I think it's a good idea.  Also the consideration of jinning out the sacrificial trunk afterwards to avoid a huge scar. 

Either way, I have to completely reconsider where I'm going with this one.  Obviously I didn't buy the best tree with this Y.  Something I knew, but didn't think of when buying this.  Lesson learned.   On the other hand, it's perhaps giving me the opportunity to try some different techniques I haven't tried yet....like the graft. 
Title: Re: My new acquisitions from the Midwest Show
Post by: coh on October 06, 2011, 08:16 PM
I don't know about the backbudding...I think I mentioned that I picked up a chamaecyparis pisifera last fall, it was very dense but had a lot of small, young growth on the trunk. Some of it yellowed and died due to lack of light. Not sure if I'll get anymore, we'll see, but I've read many places that you can't rely on it.

Obviously you saw something in this tree when you purchased it, so figure out what that was. Maybe turning the tree a little will give a better view...I suppose you could even turn it 90 deg or so and line up one trunk behind the other...not sure what that would look like. You might be able to bend the trunk(s) enough to remove the symmetry. Maybe you can put a foliage pad in front of the trunk split , or several pads in front of one trunk to make the "Y" structure less obvious. Look at it from every angle, move branches, cover branches, do some virts...take your time, I'm sure you'll come up with a plan you like. You've got the whole winter!

Chris

P.S. Sent you a pm...
Title: Re: My new acquisitions from the Midwest Show
Post by: MatsuBonsai on October 06, 2011, 08:41 PM
Definitely lots of options and chances for any number of techniques.  Should be fun.  Keep us posted.
Title: Re: My new acquisitions from the Midwest Show
Post by: Chrisl on October 07, 2011, 01:28 PM
Chris, I played around yesterday on different fronts, backs and sides...there's no getting around the Y split.  I did love this tree when i bought it.  I liked the trunks movement, and the feminine design.  I need to keep these attributes and somehow eliminate or mitigate the Y.

I like the idea someone said of taking a bunch of photos, and having them to look at over the winter.  I plan on doing that to most of my trees this fall.  And specifically for this tree, take pics using the pillowcase and at least I'll know what I'm up against.

Matsu, I agree.  This bonsai will probably be for me, the most challenging tree I'll have to work on next year.  (In 2-3 yrs, it'll be my Ponderosa Pine....which btw is looking great.   Got rid of the needlecast, fertilizing the heck out of it and keep it watered more.)  It'll also give me the opportunity to try some techniques I've never tried before.  I'm excited and it will be fun! 

I'll start a new thread just for this tree when I know what I want to do and hopefully a progression series.

Thanks guys for the encouragement to think outside the box and to consider other designs.  At first I didn't think I'd change much on this tree, now, it's a different ballgame.  ;)
Title: Re: My new acquisitions from the Midwest Show
Post by: Adair M on February 08, 2012, 09:05 PM
Any decisions on the cypress?

If the trunk is flexible, and you decide to go "single trunk", you may be able to twist it to give you some branches on the "bald" side.

By the way, annealing copper wire is easy.  You can do it in your barbeque grill.  Just lay it on the grill, and "cook" it for an hour on high.  It turns black, but it will be soft after it cools.  I've also done it in a "self cleaning" oven.  The wire should be glowing pink when it's annealing.

That said, I just got a shipment from Adams, too.  My old supply from 20 years ago had run out.
Title: Re: My new acquisitions from the Midwest Show
Post by: Chrisl on February 09, 2012, 11:50 AM
Hi Adair.  First off, Thanks so much about how to anneal copper wire.  I've got the grill and the gas and some lg. gauge copper from HD.  I'll def. give it a try!

On my cypress, I've given it a lot of thought this winter.  I think I'm going to go with a single trunk, (bend the other out of the way but close enough to do an approach graft if needed.  I think? it was Matsu who suggested twisting the trunk...that'll work pretty good exc. for an empty space nearer the bottom.  Hence why I think I'll need a graft there.  I came to this decision b/c the second trunk is too straight, has another Y above it, and is too big for a mother/daughter twin trunk.  I think it'll look pretty good. 

I was just out looking at my plants yesterday, and noticed a couple of inner small branches have died.   Prob. due to my off season repotting that was so necessary.  But it's only 2-3.  Could've been worse.  I need to repot again this spring into the S. Rayner's pot so I won't be doing anything else this year.  I just want to get it out of this 10" deep pot and get it healthy to do the work I want.  I will though do what I mentioned above and move the second trunk out of the way, and twist the first trunk to get the branches better located.  I don't think this is too much...I hope ;)

Chris