Colorado Blue Spruce

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Colorado Blue Spruce

Post  bonsaistud on Fri Mar 26, 2010 9:35 am

G’day All…Heaven’s to Mergatroid! Pat has posted a photo! Is the world coming to an end?

I certainly hope not…particularly since I just recently “discovered SHOHIN! All it took was the Great Southern Arizona Bonsai Disaster of 2007 (lost 80% of my collection), and then the departure of my wife…my Super Trouper, my Bonsai Budd…2½ years later, to get me to open my and see what was right there all those years. The fascinating world of SHOHIN. A whole new adventure.

Well…on to the purpose of this post…

I have this wonderful little Picea pungens, Colorado Blue Spruce (see photo)…it’s 21” X 14”, the trunk is 2½” in diameter, at 2½” above the soil. Estimated age is 110 years. It was collected in 2004, and I acquired it last year.

Two questions…first, how does a collected Picea respond to air layering…and does it back bud well? I suppose that is almost two questions…?

Second…for a Shohin, can I fudge a bit with a section of lightning struck dead wood above the 10” limit? No foliage above 10”.

Now for a possible plan…
•Air layer at about 14” above the soil.
•Bring the left front #1 branch down, very carefully, to less than 10”.
•Bring the left rear #2 branch, down to less than 10”.
•Create a lightning struck spike up to 13-14”.

Comments? Questions? Suggestions? Have at it Gals and Guys…

Pat…mounted on my trusty stead, riding off wildly in all directions…



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Re: Colorado Blue Spruce

Post  fiona on Fri Mar 26, 2010 11:10 am

Dear Mergatroid,

First, don't get too caught up in measurements - the height divisions are not written anywhere far less in a tablet of stone. I have seen Shohin that are more than 14".

For me the essence of Shohin is to create a tree whose "power" lies in its lower sections. We create the appearance of age by having a good height to girth ratio (apply that to humans and I'm at least 400 years old ) and curiously for Shohin this this seems to happen more easily. The obvious exception of Literati applies equally to Shohin as it does larger bonsai.

Thus for your own tree the shorter you can get it the better. When you said create a lightning strike effect jin up to 14" I thought it'd be too high. It's difficult to gauge from the pic, but perhaps you're not that far off the mark - I'd make it a bit lower to try to maintain a good height:girth ratio.

I have attempted to follow in the wake of your glorious success with picture posting with a virtual - firm in the knowledge that I too may be bringing the planet nearer its escatological conclusion. Sadly I have reached the limit of my expertise in doing what I've done, so for the purposes of answering the request, just take what I've attempted and add in the bit you mentioned about teasing down the lower branches - but only slightly. You might also consider leaning the tree slightly.

Anyway, here are the virts. No doubt someone else will com on board with ones that are done properly and I shall slink away into a corner with my tail between my legs and clutching my copy of Photoshop for Dummies.

Think of it as a starter for ten, chaps.





Hope this a. makes some sense and b. might be of some use.

Yours,

EvanstoBetsy


PS So, since the world has not come to an end...

...Can I take my tin hat off and come out from under this table now?


Last edited by fiona on Fri Mar 26, 2010 11:11 am; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : posted the same pic twice. See, Pat - it's not just you.)

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Re: Colorado Blue Spruce

Post  JimLewis on Fri Mar 26, 2010 12:34 pm

by fiona on Fri Mar 26, 2010 7:10 am
Dear Mergatroid,

First, don't get too caught up in measurements - the height divisions are not written anywhere far less in a tablet of stone.

Well, Fiona, you might want to check page 7 of Morton Albek's book Twisted Evil . But I agree you can put too muc h emphasis on the numbers. It is the feeling of smallness you are looking for. If the pot can balance easily on the palm of my hand, I consider a tree to be a shohin.

I like the idea of a jin on the top of this lovely little tree. I think I'd make it a little longer than Fiona did -- but not 14 inches. Maybe a couple of inches longer than her virtual.

I can't say whether these bud back or layer easily or not, but you don't lose anything but a little time by trying to later that straight upper section (which is what I assume you meant).

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Re: Colorado Blue Spruce

Post  fiona on Fri Mar 26, 2010 1:15 pm

JimLewis wrote: Well, Fiona, you might want to check page 7 of Morton Albek's book .
Even Morten will say that these are merely "guidelines". If there were clear-cut, absolute divisons I think we can rest assured that the Japanese would have written them down somewhere and they'd be rigidly adhered to over there in all exhibitions. But they're not. Over here in the UK such stickiness is the province of the Garden Shows where the judges go round measuring tape in one hand and the pen of doom in the other ready to strike you off the entrants list if your carrot/geranium/shohin is a nanometre longer/taller/wider than the "regulations" allow.


But I think we both agree, Jim that it is the feeling of the smallness of tree that counts most.


JimLewis wrote: I like the idea of a jin on the top of this lovely little tree. I think I'd make it a little longer than Fiona did -- but not 14 inches. Maybe a couple of inches longer than her virtual.
If you take Pat's pic and divvy it into seven-inch sections height-wise, then the jin as I had it is not that far off 14" anyway - maybe about 12 and a bit. My thinking was that if the lower branches are teased down, it would give the jin a longer appearance without it actually being any longer - if you see what I mean. I don't think the tree can be much taller than it is in my (poorly executed) virt without losing the height:girth ratio that gives it its power. But that is merely MHO (I'm not admitting to ancient and feeble yet, Pat, sorry!)

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Re: Colorado Blue Spruce

Post  JimLewis on Fri Mar 26, 2010 3:49 pm


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Re: Colorado Blue Spruce

Post  bonsaistud on Sat Mar 27, 2010 10:34 am

G'day Fiona and Jim...

Here I sit, 24 hours after my original post...very pleased and greatful for the comments from both of you...two of my favorite folks on this forum. I will, shortly, mount a response to your suggestions...which, by the way, support my stated plan...

I am, howsomeever, disappointed at the absense of comments by others...good, bad or ugly...

Would like to add a couple of points...the pot is by Mike Hagedorn...and, the air layer should provide an adsditional small Shohin for my collection.

Have a nice weekend my friends...

Pat

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Re: Colorado Blue Spruce

Post  tom tynan on Sat Mar 27, 2010 11:37 am

Pat...You should have no problem getting this nice Spruce to back bud - on any branch where there are needles; you will have to find the right location in your garden - they can dry out quickly. You will never get them to pop a new bud on the trunk for example. Keep all of the lower branches for now - even ones you are unsure about. Sorry to say these will not layer - huge amounts of resin in these Spruce and you will just get a sticky mess once you peel the bark back.

As for your jin at the top - as you shorten it - you need to carve some twist and movement in the jin - perhaps even try to curve it. The dead-on straight jin is just a give-away that you had a taller tree. You have to make that straight section look like it was the original trunk that died back years ago. It is a cool little tree - and I agree that by changing the planting angle - you will make a more dynamic tree. These collected Blue Spruce do not always have the best rootage at the base. ....Good luck...Tom

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Re: Colorado Blue Spruce

Post  JimLewis on Sat Mar 27, 2010 11:40 am

the pot is by Mike Hagedorn

I have one of those. And don't I wish he was still making pots!!!!!!

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Re: Colorado Blue Spruce

Post  fiona on Sat Mar 27, 2010 3:30 pm

bonsaistud wrote:G'day Fiona and Jim...two of my favorite folks on this forum.
Aw shucks, Pat.

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Re: Colorado Blue Spruce

Post  RKatzin on Mon Apr 05, 2010 8:15 pm

Hi Pat, I'm fond of the tree as it is, enjoying the natural conical shape of the Colorado Blues. I would grow out the small branches in the middle of the tree to fill out that area and then a bit of jin spike down to them. If you're set on layering the tree (and sorry to contradict, Tom) Picea can be layered, but the tourniquet method must be used. A great tree no matter which way you go. I tried doing a virt once, felt a definite shift in the force and had to take a nap afterwards. I haven't ventured to upload a pic yet, but if you feel some grumbling in the core of the earth, it's just me (my wife will leave the building). I'm waiting for my eight year old grand-daughter to come over and show me how, darn kids grew up with these things, I had little blocks and Lincoln Logs. Very Happy

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Re: Colorado Blue Spruce

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