Author Topic: Creating a Boxwood Forest  (Read 5575 times)

johng

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Creating a Boxwood Forest
« on: July 20, 2009, 06:50 AM »
Got a wild hair yesterday and decided to get busy on a forest that I have been planning for a couple of years.  The pot is too large but the trees will be comfortable for now.  Here are the results... 

Boxwood Forest


As usual I would be interested in your comments.
John
 

johng

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Re: Creating a Boxwood Forest
« Reply #1 on: July 20, 2009, 06:58 AM »
A couple of pics..
 

AlexV

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Re: Creating a Boxwood Forest
« Reply #2 on: July 20, 2009, 01:41 PM »
John,

Great looking forest!  It really shows that you took your time and prepped your material.

My only real comment is that all the trunks are roughly the same size.  I was thinking it would be cool if you could root some cuttings that could grow a bit while you are working on those still sizable root-balls, and then add them in when you reduce the size of the pot (which I am assuming is the goal over the next few years).  It could add some variety that might be nice.

Thanks for sharing, I have enjoyed the commentary along with the pictures.
 

Larry Gockley

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Re: Creating a Boxwood Forest
« Reply #3 on: July 20, 2009, 01:56 PM »
Thanks for the post John.  I like it. This post caught my eye because I'm thinking my next project might be a forrest. Just haven't decided about a pot or a slab yet. I'm leaning towards a slab, but may have to make it myself. Thanks again. Larry
 

Dano

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Re: Creating a Boxwood Forest
« Reply #4 on: July 20, 2009, 02:58 PM »
John,
As always, a great video. I just got back from the Amazon and getting back into the swing of things. It was 117 degrees.

My parent's home in Anderson, SC has some very old boxwoods around the foundation. The home is 135 years old. The boxwoods were the same size over 50 years ago. My dad died a few months back and I trimmed the boxwoods really hard but left them in the ground to bud back and recover.  It may be appx 25 plants that are 75 -100 years old. I will be digging them this coming spring. I hope to refer back to this video for help. Keep up the good work.

Dan
 

johng

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Re: Creating a Boxwood Forest
« Reply #5 on: July 20, 2009, 05:30 PM »
John,
As always, a great video. I just got back from the Amazon and getting back into the swing of things. It was 117 degrees.

My parent's home in Anderson, SC has some very old boxwoods around the foundation. The home is 135 years old. The boxwoods were the same size over 50 years ago. My dad died a few months back and I trimmed the boxwoods really hard but left them in the ground to bud back and recover.  It may be appx 25 plants that are 75 -100 years old. I will be digging them this coming spring. I hope to refer back to this video for help. Keep up the good work.

Dan

mmmm....117!! that is hot...I am sure the humidity was about 200% as well.    Those boxwoods sound like a lot of work but could have great potential.
John
 

Jay Wilson

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Re: Creating a Boxwood Forest
« Reply #6 on: July 20, 2009, 06:19 PM »
John,
I really like this grouping. The trunks are very impressive! They bring to mind the way willow oaks grow around here with the almost fluted trunks.
I was fooled by the size... thought it was lots smaller 'till the pic of the trees lined up next to the pot.

Thanks for the inspiration,

Jay
 

johng

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Re: Creating a Boxwood Forest
« Reply #7 on: July 20, 2009, 07:07 PM »
Thanks Jay!  Thanks to Alex as well.
J
 

shimsuki

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Re: Creating a Boxwood Forest
« Reply #8 on: July 22, 2009, 07:31 PM »
Very nice, looks like your hard work paid off. I like the stones, maybe you could keep an eye out for better ones if you don't care for the ones you have, but I think it gives it a more natural feeling. I haven't seen many boxwood forests, aside from mike page's kingsville creations. If you come across a smaller one or two, I would consider adding them as well. Thanks for sharing it with us.
 

somegeek

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Re: Creating a Boxwood Forest
« Reply #9 on: September 15, 2009, 02:09 AM »
That's awesome... inspirational even.  :)
 

Jeff Lahr

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Re: Creating a Boxwood Forest
« Reply #10 on: September 15, 2009, 05:48 AM »
You had some great material to work with. Have you had these trees long?
 

johng

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Re: Creating a Boxwood Forest
« Reply #11 on: September 15, 2009, 07:47 AM »
Thanks again guys...  Jeff...I found these trees in a nursery 2 summers ago...I suspect they were in the same containers for 10 years or more prior to that.

John
 

AJ

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Re: Creating a Boxwood Forest
« Reply #12 on: September 30, 2009, 10:51 PM »
Hey John,

Thanks for posting these pictures and video. I like this planting. The upper third of it looks stiff and coarse right now, but I understand that this area is where the most growing and refinement is yet to come. The lower two thirds, the more developed part of the plant material, is very appealing to me. The trunks look old and strong, but I particularly like the upward growth habit of the branching, which is true to the way I see trees growing in the forest. I like the arrangement, too. The photos give a great example of why it is desirable to have an established viewing "front" in bonsai. The compositional superiority of the front view as compared to the back is easy to see in this case. That's a compliment to your work as the designer. Now all it needs is about 5 years of refinement work with the canopy, and a decent pot, and you're good to go!

I'm really looking forward to our upcoming demonstration at the Expo. See you soon.

AJ
 

johng

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Re: Creating a Boxwood Forest
« Reply #13 on: October 01, 2009, 12:14 PM »
Thanks Arthur:)  I appreciate that you took the time to look and reply to my post.  I should take and post a current picture...the top 1/3, still has a long way to go, but the new growth spurred by the repotting of these trees has helped fill it in already. 

Admittedly I am one of those that fell into the trap of styling everything with descending branches.  When I saw these tree originally I was excited about the opportunity to create something that breaks that mold.  I spent some time recently looking hard at the current branch structure trying to determine how to continue their development in an aesthetically pleasing manner.  As more ramification occurs I will be thinning some the branches to remove crossing branches and some that sprout from the awkwardly.

I am also very much looking forward to the whole EXPO weekend!

John
 

AJ

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Re: Creating a Boxwood Forest
« Reply #14 on: October 01, 2009, 11:01 PM »
John,

I'd like to see how the development of the canopy is doing, if you get a chance to post a picture or two. My personal experience with boxwoods is that they're strong growers but it seems to take awhile to overcome their somewhat coarse and stiff growth habit. But that's just how it goes for me; other people seem to like working with them.

On the subject of training branches to grow downward - you used the term "trap", and I know where you're coming from. When you think about it, most all of us who grow bonsai learned the same stuff when we were starting out. Training the branches to grow downward is a standard part of that conventional teaching. The usual justification for it, that the descending branches give the impression of an old tree, is only partially true, at best. Anyone who has the opportunity to observe mature trees in nature, and takes the time to actually study them, will find that very few trees conform to that idea. Perhaps some of the lower branches descend (more often they're horizontal), but moving upwards toward the apex the branches typically have an ascending habit. And in a forest or grove environment, where the trees grow in close proximity to one another, the great majority of branches ascend and lower branching is often absent. There are exceptions, of course, and different species will have their own distinct traits. Tuliptrees grow differently than Live Oaks, and neither of them looks at all like a Red Spruce. I'm not certain what percentage of bonsai growers ever get to the point where they start actively studying the way trees in nature grow and trying to incorporate some of that knowledge into shaping their bonsai. It is not such an easy thing to do well! It seems that for most, it is satisfying enough to stay with the conventional approach of training their tree to look the way a bonsai is "supposed" to look.

AJ