Thursday, January 1, 2015

31 December 2014 New Years Eve at Longwood Gardens

We used to have a family tradition to go to dinner near Kennett Square, Pennsylvania, then stroll thru Longwood Gardens with the family. When my girls were small, there were few people there, so we basically had the place to ourselves.

In the past 10 years, it seems Longwood has been rediscovered, so much so that now tickets are purchased on the half-hour (and that is when you enter!). This is done so as to smooth out the crowd flow. However, it means we need to compete with 10,000 other people to walk the grounds, and thru the Conservatory. Oh well...so much for progress....

Still, it was a lovely walk. The grounds were in their best festive  Christmas lights, and there were carolers both on the grounds and inside the Conservatory.

A highlight for me is always seeing the bonsai there, so here are a few shots I can share.
Happy New Year to All!

Flex



A nice Chinese Elm which started training in 1969. Nice ramification!


An old Japanese Zelkova (Graybark Elm), whose training began in 1909. A very nice tree!


An old Ginkgo, whose training also began in 1909. These seem to always want to grow their branches upwards...

And a nice HornBeam Forest. Training began in 1991.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Winter Study with Walter & Jim Dec 2K14

Walter Pall visited Natures Way for Winter Study this weekend (5-7 Dec 2K14).
This group consisted about (18) folks, many of whom have attended the Walter Pall series for a number of years.
A large number of trees were brought in this past Spring, so there were many very nice trees still left, on which to practice bonsai skills.
The weather was horrible (rain Friday and Saturday), so most of the work was done in the hoop-house.






The basic house-keeping rules for the weekend were explained by Walter & Jim


...while the group listened...








...and off to begin the work on trees!

Here Walter had everyone form small groups, and gave each group a tree, and 10 minutes to figure out what to do with the tree.

Here he is examining a nice Ponderosa...


...and has several thoughts on the initial work suggested by the group...




...a nice Engelmann Spruce that Jim is commenting on...


...and a killer European larch...





...which was reviewed for some major work by the group who had it...


...and another very nice Larch which was reviewed for some carving and branch removal...



...Walter provides an opinion on where the front should be, and why...



...This Engelmann Spruce was worked by Ryan Neil, and is very healthy.

The tree is several hundred years old, and shows many signs of age.

It has grown out nicely since last styling, but the branch positions need to be refreshed, and small bits cleaned out.





...One of the group wound up very interested in the tree, so it went home with a very happy new owner!


...This twin-trunk Ponderosa was brought in by another attendee, and needed some branch placement adjustment, and small bits cleaned out.


Walter had some more discussion on various aspects of the tree, as it had been previously worked by another well-known artist.





...Walter suggested the specific things which needed to be done now, and some further work to be done in the Spring...


... a nice small Pine...


...and a HUGE Maple which a group discussed for Winter Work...


...as can be seen this tree has a wonderful base, and very nice movement in the trunk, with great taper. This will some day make a killer bonsai!


...and Walter also believes this can be pushed along to a very refined state in perhaps as little as 3 to 5 years...


...a small Ponderosa with a severe trunk bend inflicted by Nature. It shows some wonderful deadwood, and is very healthy.

Walter suggested further compacting of the foliage, and of course clean-out of un-necessary bits.  


...One group did some major work on a nice Spruce, bringing the branches down further.

This tree looks like it was just taken from a snow-covered slope high in the Rockies!

Very nice tree!!!!

Sunday, November 2, 2014

BSSJ November Demo w/ Jim Doyle

Yesterday's weather was conducive to indoor activities, so BSSJ members obliged! Jim Doyle from Natures Way Nursery visited South Jersey, to demo initial styling on a nice Larch.
In spite of nasty November wind and rain, (18) Members turned out, listened, watched, and learned!
Here are some of the photos, showing the work progression, and the final result.

The tree was raffled off and the lucky winner was John Grisafi!

Jim then provided critical styling commentary on Members' trees...see photos.

Jim discussed some basics before beginning styling on this nice Larch. This tree is from Randy Knight's nursery, out in Oregon. It has been field-grown, and was brought into Natures Way Nursery in Spring of 2014...


The Larch is very healthy, so a lot can be done in this initial styling...


...finding a good 'front"...


"What if we take off this branch, which really does nothing for the style, and use the branches closer in?"
Jim puts a cover over the branch so all can visualize the tree with the branch removed...


...Yup...it came off! Another needs to come off as well, but can be used as a nice jin...


....doing some refinement on the remaining jin...

The foliage was trimmed up, and the whole tree wired. Jim then positioned branches in a way that shows off what the tree has to offer...




..this branch was positioned and held in place with a small guy wire. This will take a few years to take a set...


...sketching idea for the future of the tree, as it grows into it's new style...


...comparing the first styling to future development so everyone can visualize the tree's future look...





The Larch was then raffled off...and we have a winner!


John Grisafi is all smiles!


Jim then began critique of members' trees.

Tom DeSimone brought an Azalea root over rock. Jim suggested some minor changes with the branching, and opened the possibility of another "front"...


Jay Burton has a nice tropical with good movement.

Some judicious carving can improve this tree nicely!



Flex brought an Amur Maple with nice Nebari, and powerful trunk.

Jim suggested that the top half be removed, and new apex branching be developed at the cut.

This can happen any time the saw is sharp!


Doc Stone brought a nice Chinese Elm with beginnings of wonderful trunk features. This tree is beginning to bark up with a more mature Chinese Elm look.

Jim suggested improving the holes already started in the trunk, and making a number of new ones.

These holes should go deep into the trunk, creating shadow and mystery!


As can be seen, one can still find great buys in nurseries. 
Mike Dewoski brought this Boxwood from a nursery on the Black Horse Pike in south Jersey.

This tree has what looks like a nice twist to the trunk, and many developed branches. It should be thinned out, and some of the internal multi-branch "whorls" can then be addressed. The bark can be cleaned with a mild brass wire brush.


Andrew DuBrul brought this Pine. It has a nice base, lots of jin possibilities, but foliage which is far out on branches, away from the trunk.

Jim suggested several ways to mount it, including a cascade style, which can make good use of foliage way out at the end of branches...


...and here is the cascade....


Karen Smith brought a Trident Maple with nice nebari...



This Mugo pine from Joe Giangrasso seems to be a good starter tree to practice on, but has been in the nursery pot too long. The roots have started circling the inside of the pot, so will have to be removed in the Spring to preserve the tree's health.

This one can provide lots of technique practice!


Tom DeSimone brought this Pine. Jim suggested that it can benefit from removal of the lower left branch, and jinning it.

Additional deeper carving is needed on the shari running up the right side of the trunk, and the foliage pads can be compacted into nice pads....


Ton Kruegl brought an older semi-tropical...

Some of the foliage can be chased back to compact the tree more, but the basic style is set and needs little change!


Karen Smith brought this little Hinoki can benefit from a few more years' growth, to thicken up the trunk.

The straight left trunk can then be killed off, and jinned, while the right trunk, which has more movement, is then styled nicely..


Tom DeSomone had a Spruce, which can benefit from judicious wiring, to create more movement in the pads.

When next repotted, the mounting angle could be changed more to the left to improve the look of the tree.


John Grisafi had a Willow-Leaf Ficus, with a dead section at the trunk base, and very straight trunk...

Jim suggested splitting the trunk so it could be bent. Here the splitting has begun...


...and a "spirit" in the tree which had not previously been noticed....

Jim added some thin slices of cork to keep the trunk split.
The trunk was then bent, and a heavy guy wire was used to hold the new bend in the trunk.

This placed the branches in a nice way, so they can now be wired to create a nice small tree...
The owner will now have to wire out the branches, and do a little styling.

Most of the work falls to the tree, to grow out and fill on branches!