Mountian Hemlock - Ballerina

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Mountian Hemlock - Ballerina

Post  gman on Mon Jan 21, 2013 5:28 pm

Hi Folks,
Here is the first styling of a mountain hemlock (Tsuga mertensiana) “ballerina” in her full metal jacket (lots of 1mm wire). Collected in the fall of 2010 and went straight into the grow box. Checking the roots showed that it’s exploring the pumice, lava, decomposed granite and fir bark nicely so I’ll feed it well this year and hopefully pot it up in the spring of 2014. Sorry I dont have any before pictures…I’ve left many branches on to help maintain the vigor of the tree and for future design options/choices. Not sure what to do about the deadwood feature but it appears to be the original tree that died some time ago.
Cheers Graham



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Re: Mountian Hemlock - Ballerina

Post  YukiShiro on Tue Feb 12, 2013 2:35 pm

Greetings
The tree is beautiful, but personally, I do not like the jin at the bottom left that much, is there a specific reason you have it there? Or is it just your own preference?

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Deadwood Feature

Post  gman on Tue Feb 12, 2013 7:58 pm

YukiShiro,
Thanks for your kind words as I also love the movement of the tree.
The deadwood feature is a part of this trees history but to be honest I haven't figured out what to do with it yet Sad ....reduce it or eliminate it completely?
Being a newly collected yamadori I haven't explored the base of the tree to see what is going on in that part of the tree, so for now I'll leave it and then explore what options are available when I repot it in a couple of years (spring 2015).
Cheers

gman
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Re: Mountian Hemlock - Ballerina

Post  YukiShiro on Fri Feb 15, 2013 1:44 pm

If it is part of the tree's history, why not accentuate it more? Carve slightly and paint it with lime sulphur.. Just a suggestion.. On the other hand, if you should choose to eliminate it, it wouldn't matter, as the tree itself is really beautiful Smile

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Re: Mountian Hemlock - Ballerina

Post  gman on Fri Feb 15, 2013 3:26 pm

YukiShiro,
That would be one option but like I said in the previous post that decision will be made in the winter of 2014/2015 in preparation for a repot in the spring of 2015. I'm also not sure if it should go in a pot or maybe a slab?
One thing I do know about Hemlock is that the wood is soft and rots easily, so I may have to add some preservative to it sooner than later.
Cheers Graham

gman
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Re: Mountian Hemlock - Ballerina

Post  dick benbow on Fri Feb 15, 2013 10:08 pm

nice tree Graham. Of all the trees from that island of yours, it's a toss-up to what i like better....shore pine or
hemlock.

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Let it Grow

Post  gman on Wed Jun 05, 2013 9:51 pm

Hi Folks,
Here is an updte, I'm letting it "go wild" so that I know that the roots are growing well. Later this summer I'll remove the wire, do some more styling by trim'n the branches back to one of the buds or small branches as you can see in the last photo. Wiring will happen again next winter and I'll put it into a pot next spring.




Cheers Graham

gman
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Re: Mountian Hemlock - Ballerina

Post  gman on Tue Oct 01, 2013 10:04 pm

Hi Folks,
An update after a fall wiring and trimming,a lot of material came off each branch as she had a great growing year.


Cheers Graham

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Re: Mountian Hemlock - Ballerina

Post  dick benbow on Tue Oct 01, 2013 11:13 pm

Nice update,thanks. looks like I got similar growth on mine.

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hemlock

Post  abcd on Wed Oct 02, 2013 5:37 am

A fine and high trunk , with feminity ,for me the bunjin  style will be better
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Thanks

Post  gman on Wed Oct 02, 2013 4:17 pm

Thanks ABCD,
I understand and appreciate your comments on the bunjin concept and that is one of the reasons I have kept many of the branches. Keeping the branches also helps out with the vigor of the tree and I want it fully healthy when I move it from the grow box into a pot.
Cheers

gman
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Re: Mountian Hemlock - Ballerina

Post  dick benbow on Wed Oct 02, 2013 4:24 pm

have you picked out the pot yet?

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Re: Mountian Hemlock - Ballerina

Post  abcd on Wed Oct 02, 2013 5:43 pm

i agree, first,the vigor of the tree,, the botanic , then, the esthetic.

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Update

Post  gman on Thu Jul 17, 2014 9:58 pm

Hi folks,
Here is an update, it was re-potted this spring and hasn't missed a beat.  I added some main wiring for shape but have let it grow for the summer.
Cheers
Graham

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Re: Mountian Hemlock - Ballerina

Post  MrFancyPlants on Fri Jul 18, 2014 4:22 am

That looks nice and healthy. I must say that I prefer the look of the foliage when it was going "wild." I think it could be even more of a show stopper if you kept all of the branches and let the foliage cascade down to the forest floor.
I will admit that I am biased as that is my future plan for my Tsuga canadensis. Although mine appears to have a more horizontal habit and certainly less movement.
Thanks for posting and nice execution with the new pot.

David

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Re: Mountian Hemlock - Ballerina

Post  Vance Wood on Fri Jul 18, 2014 3:10 pm

gman wrote:Hi Folks,
Here is the first styling of a mountain hemlock (Tsuga mertensiana) “ballerina” in her full metal jacket (lots of 1mm wire).  Collected in the fall of 2010 and went straight into the grow box.  Checking the roots showed that it’s exploring the pumice, lava, decomposed granite and fir bark nicely so I’ll feed it well this year and hopefully pot it up in the spring of 2014.  Sorry I dont have any before pictures…I’ve left many branches on to help maintain the vigor of the tree and for future design options/choices.  Not sure what to do about the deadwood feature but it appears to be the original tree that died some time ago.
Cheers Graham



When I first started my response to your tree the entire thread had not loaded as yet I did not realize there was all of that work in progress material and your final image.  Rather than go through and change things that really do not need to be changed I let my response stand from first to last.  I think it is a great tree that would be made better with less. Read the rest of my reply and you will understand.

I love your tree and I would not suppose myself in a position to tell you what to do with it.  It is collected and you have kept it alive and healthy and prospering.  

I do have a problem with the styling and I am sure I wont be the only one to point it out.  The top of the tree does not tell the story of what got it there in the first place.  In other words, it is conflicted and almost over-grown in comparison with the rest of the tree.   The top is so vigorous and healthy but it  is growing in two different direction with such strength it has left the rest of tree sitting there at a cross-road and not knowing where to go.  

You have reached one of those places in time and design where you have some drastic and difficult decisions to make about the tree's future.  I believe that there is a world class bonsai in there.  If you leave the tree alone you will have a nice bonsai but a nice bonsai and one that makes everyone stand up and take notice are two different concepts.

Your update is better in that the bottom growth has filled in to the point that the top of the tree is no longer so dominant that it overwhelms the rest of the tree.  Let me reiterate the tree is beautiful and you have done a magnificent job in making it a growing machine that wont stop.  So now we have a different problem.  If you return to the original image there is one thing really strong and powerful that comes out and that is the naturalness of the tree.  You can now no longer see the trunk so well as anything more than something to support the growth on the ends of the branches.  You are right about the botanic first but now you have to decide what need to be done with the esthetic.  

Personally I think the pads need to be reduced drastically so that you can see the secondary branching, and the remaining growth wired with the ends up to make it look like an old mature tree.  We already know the super structure is good and sound, all you really need to work on are the details in the branching. If you have ever worked direct sales you are probably aware that you can have the greatest pitch in the world but if you can't close, the whole deal goes down. You are trying to sell the idea of this tree. You have chosen the correct name for this tree; Ballerina. I really like that name, remember it. There is the image of the lithe and graceful Ballerian from Swan Lake or the Hippo Ballerina from Disney's animated feature; Fantasi. You need to choose which and work to maintain that image. I have great hope for this tree.

Vance Wood
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Re: Mountian Hemlock - Ballerina

Post  gman on Sat Jul 19, 2014 12:13 am

David and Vance, thank you so much for your comments/critique,  I agree and will try to respond to both of your comments.

David we both have examples of Hemlock to admire and thus draw inspiration from.  The dilemma I find myself in with them (on the west coast) is that I love the look of the wild, distorted, untamed growth habitat of them in the wild (yes even the lichen)……but how do I duplicate it in my Bonsai.  
Most of the time the reviews/comments I get is that they need to be more refined, with the foliage on top of each branch with a view of the branch on the bottom – much like a classic Japanese Bonsai (Black Pine for example).  I’ve seen many local Mountain Hemlock Bonsai (other club members) that look like that and they are beautiful, stunning even……..I’ve also seen examples of them in the wild which confirms that it can be duplicated in a bonsai form.
So I think I’ll have to try and find a balance….of course I also understand that each tree will or can tell a different story.

Vance,
I appreciate your comments very much and the fact that you can envision the image I had in mind (a “slim” ballerina – the name actually came from my daughter-in-law – a metaphor she told me).  
I have also had other comments in regards to thinning out the top and branches which I have always intended to do.  I like to do it in the fall as the trees get ready for dormancy, the sap it still running but not enough to swell and dig into the wire but its late enough that the branches hold the shape as its left on until the spring.  However, sometimes (as with this tree) I have kept the heavier main wire (on main branches) on for two years.
 
As I mentioned above, I’ll try and find a balance between wild and thinned versus tamed and cultured (lol).
In regards to showing secondary branching – I’ve posted a couple of photos of Mountain Hemlock examples from the wild, to convey the natural structure and dynamic growth habits that this tree has.
Maybe I can’t have it both ways but I’ll keep on playing around with these beauties as they do respond well if they make the transition from the mountain tops to a pot.

Thanks again,
Cheers
Graham  


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Re: Mountian Hemlock - Ballerina

Post  Vance Wood on Sat Jul 19, 2014 2:10 am

First of all don't let anyone tell you how this tree should be, have it in your mind that you have this one image and though you are willing to listen to other opinions the end results are your thoughts.  

I did not realize how dense the normal growth on this tree attained in the wild.  However that growth still looks wild like the hair on a 14 year old, somewhat unruly just like they are.  However I think you should keep the profile of your foliage pads a little wild looking and avoid the standard pads seen in many conifers where the growth seems to piled on top of itself  like a serving of mashed potatos.  I would tend to arrange the growth in more of a fan arrangement like a Hinoki Cypress or Spruce.  

Remember; the Hemlock is not a Pine tree or a Juniper and should take on more the character of the natural tree  as much  as possible without looking stupid and messy  while still looking like a bonsai.  This is my major complaint concerning the ubiquitous and legendary, and as yet, Non-existant American  Style Bonsai,---- the application of sophistry instead of artistry.  I have said it before and I really hate saying it again but Mr. Miyagi had it right:  Think tree Daniel San, think tree.  Don't sticky your head down the pigeon hole chuck-a-luck select a style bonsai approach where in, many really nice collected trees tend to achieve mediocrity and become indistinguishable from nursery cultivated conifers bought at Lowes or Home Depot.  This tree will give you a master piece if you treat it like you see it in your heart.  Dance with the Ballerina and don't feed her too much or she will bust  her slippers.  Think airy, graceful, and a little sexy,  the tree has to be compelling and maybe a little seductive.  Don't let her become bloated with bon-bons, Pizza and beer.

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Re: Mountian Hemlock - Ballerina

Post  MrFancyPlants on Sun Jul 20, 2014 2:56 am

Thanks for posting the hemlocks from your part of the country for reference. I see exactly what you are going for. Vance is right about listening to yourself on this one.
Appalachian hemlocks are tough to imagine in a bonsai pot. In their fully grown form, visiting a stand of hemlocks is like entering a cave. Perspective is complicated by "not seeing the trees for the forest".
http://ibonsaiclub.forumotion.com/t15510-tsuga-canadensis#160129 link so as no to interrupt your thread, but I would appreciate any input you might have as a fellow cultivator of a Tsuga.

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Re: Mountian Hemlock - Ballerina

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