Archive for December, 2013


Season’s Greetings!

The work continues here even though the days are short, gray and cold. The extreme cold is behind us for now, but we’ve got all of January, which is typically our coldest month. I won’t be surprised if the temperatures dip even colder than early December and with that in mind work continues cautiously. I thought I’d continue with another Ponderosa today and it has everything to do with a gift around Christmas time. It all goes back to December 2010 and the Holiday Party for the Bonsai Society of Portland; my buddy from the club, Lee Cheatle, was part of the crew catering the dinner. When I arrived, he motioned me back towards the kitchen and out the back door to the catering van. At this point I was totally confused and thought anything was about to happen. He rolled up the door to the van and inside was this ponderosa pine sitting on the floor. “Merry Christmas!” he bellowed and I didn’t know what to think!

We have to go back a little farther still, lest you think this was just out-of-the-blue. Lee and myself belonged to the same study group at Mike Hagedorn’s and he had brought in a very nice Ponderosa with really nice plated bark that looked just like the giant ones you see out in the wild. I kept commenting on it and the fact I didn’t have any Ponderosas in my collection yet. Lee must have taken that to heart when December rolled around. He explained it was a tree originally collected by Randy Knight and he had so many of them he felt he could part with this one, which had some of that thick, plated bark he knew I liked so well. It was still in its original anderson flat, a black plastic tray a lot of the collectors around here like to use to pot yamadori (collected mountain tree) in. I kept it on my deck the rest of the winter near a window I could look out of from the house to see it and begin thinking about what to do with it.

It was a challenging tree and had a long, straight trunk with little movement except for this little bend about halfway up the trunk. The best feature of the tree is its bark and that little bend. I had a couple of options open to me for the direction I could take this tree but it all hinged on what the roots would be like when it came time to pot it for the first time, which I planned to do in the spring as Lee had told me it was good  and ready for that. I don’t recall exactly when I potted it up to its first pot, which was an oval mica (plastic) pot, but we were well into spring and the year was 2011. The roots were an exact mirror of the trunk, which told me this tree spent most of its life in the crack of a rock. Imagine a ‘U’ shape with the bottom of the ‘U’ as the base of the trunk and either side of the ‘U’ as the root and trunk. It didn’t look like there were going to be any difficulties fitting the tree into the pot before I got started, but something always seems to come up to make life difficult; the roots were way too long for the pot I had planned on using. I thought about it a bit (you don’t want to ponder too long when a tree is out of its pot ;-)) I tried bending the long, thick root just to see if I could bend it around the interior of the oval pot and it seemed like it was totally possible. I got it wedged into the pot so tight, it was hardly necessary to wire the tree in! I wired it in anyway because I knew the top might cause the tree to flop out of the pot with a good gust of wind, which we get here from time to time.

After the potting, I let the tree rest a couple of months, noticing no loss of vigor and strong budding activity. I gave the tree its first styling that summer and discovered this species’ tendency to crack when being bent. Once we apply the wire to the branches, we bend them into position where we want them–this is known as setting the branches. Sometimes we need to make some pretty sharp bends to get the job done and this is when a branch may crack due to the stress placed on the woody tissue by the wire. When I got over my initial alarm and patched the cracks up with cut paste, I let it rest for the remainder of the growing season. Fast forward to winter 2012, I observed wire biting into the bark in several spots, so I removed all wire from the tree and also saw a new direction for the tree. I wish I had some before photos of the tree before I re-potted it in the spring of 2013, so you could see the evolution of the planted angle of the tree over time…I don’t, so let’s just say that I raised the trunk from a more horizontal position and had to have something to keep it there. I had this rock I found from Hood River sitting around and it just happened to fit under the trunk in a spot that made it look like the tree was always there. The new pot for the tree was now much less wide but deeper. When it came time for the re-pot, I went through the same process of folding and stuffing the roots into the new pot. Ponderosas are one of those trees whose roots seem to be as flexible as their branches. This is a real plus when it comes to potting them up because there is no need to do any cutting of the roots to fit in the pot. You will always want to trim out any dead roots to make more room for the live ones and of course, you need to have a generous enough pot to accommodate the tree’s roots. That brings us to an image of where I started last Sunday, when the sun came out for the afternoon before applying wire to the tree for the second time:

Lee tree

 

As you can see, I put the lens cap from my camera in there for scale; this is not a large tree. The needles are about what you’d expect for a Ponderosa–a little long and an olive green color. And one other thing about this tree in particular, which isn’t too apparent from the photo is the fact that the tree itself is only a long extension of the trunk and there are no branches all the way down to the farthest point on the left, where the first branch emerges. A really challenging design restraint I think I resolved by making the tree appear to have branches way up near the base of the trunk. And again, I was moving along pretty steadily and only took one ‘between’ photo:

Lee tree

 

The bottom branches on the left are set into position and all that needs to be done is to bring the ‘apex’ into place:

Lee tree

 

I snapped this shot just as the sun was fading and the air started to chill. I set the ‘apex’ just above that little bend in the trunk, which is also brought to our attention by the rock beneath it. If you click on the photo, you’ll get a larger, more detailed image and you can see some of the nice bark this tree has. My plans for the  future of this tree include a different pot that allows me the ability to remove the rock…or should I? Another shot of the tree on a monkey pole off the deck, pretty close to where it’s spent the last two years:

Lee tree

 

The chickadees are especially obnoxious this winter, hence the need to protect with bird netting 😦 I like this shot looking up at the tree…you can get a better sense of where the branches emerge:

Lee tree

 

And as ever, if there is something in bloom, I like to include it. This is another gift from fellow club member Jan Hettick, and decided to flower now. It’s Hibiscus sinensis, a tropical species that usually blooms in the heat of summer and the flowers are always huge. Not this time! I threw in a shot of my hand for scale so you can see how small the flowers are this time–I love it!

Hibiscus from Jan

 

And the hand:

Hibiscus from Jan

 

I’ll leave you with a close up of the blooms against the weathered fence boards…a study in red and green for the Holidays!

Hibiscus from Jan

 

It’s great to be a part of such a generous bonsai community!

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Let’s ‘Ponder-Us-A-Pine’

The subject of today’s post, as the title implies, is a pine. A Ponderosa pine to be specific, collected by Randy Knight in July of 2012. It was sitting with some other trees of similar size, destined to be ‘yard trees’, or  in Japanese, niwaki (pronounced ne-walk-ee, this according to Mike Hagedorn and Ryan Bell, who weighed in with the correct spelling–thanks Ryan!) in Randy’s growing field. The price was very reasonable and I took it home with every intention of planting it in the yard. I brought it home with the batch of other trees from Randy that were the recent subjects of my blog and I kept looking at the tree wondering what it might look like if styled. It was over five feet in height and most of the tree was better than three feet off the ground. But there was one branch not too far off the ground that looked like it might help make an interesting tree if I brought it down and gave it some movement. It would mean most of the tree would have to go…but what I was eliminating were a lot straight branches with tufts of needles at the end. So, I decided to go ahead with it since I was pretty revved up from styling the Rocky Mountain juniper and the spruce previously.

What follows is a photo of the first stage of the styling before any branches were removed:

pondy

Apologies for not taking an un-worked ‘before’ photo, just imagine that branch over on the right up at the same angle as the other branches toward the top. It’s 1 1/2″ in diameter as it emerges from the trunk and required some four gauge annealed copper wire (that’s approx. 1/4″ in diameter) to bring it into position with the help of a guy wire that’s attached to the dead branch low down on the trunk. Another shot closer in:

big pondy

This was the way I left it after the first session of work and was still contemplating about whether to chop the top off now or wait until spring, when the tree started to wake up. The advantage to leaving the top would  be that if the lower branch died from the bending–and it did crack in several places–I would still have the rest of the tree to work with…then it really would have to be a yard tree. I figured, no guts, no glory, right? So I did the deed and removed the top half of the tree:

big pondy

I also went ahead and wired what was left and set the branches and thought, “better let her rest now”. I like to look at my work from all angles and one side revealed something that had to be addressed at some point…let’s look:

big pondy

This is the view from the left side, or the tree’s right. You can see the big branch that makes up most of the tree is sticking out quite a ways toward the viewer or the ‘front’ of the tree. I wanted to see it closer in toward the trunk to make the tree become a more compact image. Let’s look at the opposite side now:

big pondy

The problem is more apparent from this angle. So, I was looking at the tree and thinking, I’ve cranked it pretty hard, I better let it rest…and the other voice, fix it! You know you want to 😉 I have learned a little something from my teachers through the years and it is that you can sometimes bend branches over a period of days until you get them into the position desired. It’s all up to the tree and seeing what’s going on in the areas most stressed by the process and then pushing it just a little bit more…or not. We also sometimes learn the hard way by breaking branches and I have to say I’ve broken my share!

One thing Ponderosas have going for them is their incredible toughness once established and their flexibility; with that in mind, I went ahead and brought the branch in carefully with no visible problems. Some cracking is always inevitable but in this case there was no splitting. And even if there was, if you have a size-able strip of cambium intact and the wire is supporting it, it’s possible to cover the injury with cut paste and place the tree in an un-heated greenhouse and it should pull through. But in this case, I see no need to worry. Here’s what I came up with for now:

big pondy

And a little closer:

big pondy

O.K. now I WILL let it rest 😉 Some dimensions for now: trunk is 5 1/2″ in diameter at soil level; tree is 29″ tall. I’m looking forward getting this one into a pot and showing you the result!

A Tale of Two Trees

Another very cold day for us–only 25* at 12:32 p.m. Colder than yesterday and the weatherman promised us a warm-up! I hope you’re all staying warm and safe through this cold snap, I shudder to think what real winter is going to be like now. I’ve got two trees today with rather short stories, so I thought I’d lump them into one post. Both are pines, one a ponderosa given to me this summer and the other a lodgepole I collected from the Washington Cascades sometime around 2008. The ponderosa was purchased from Andy Smith and collected somewhere in Colorado, I was told. The first shot up is of the ponderosa pretty much as I received it. I didn’t care for the pot it was in nor the planted angle, plus the soil it was potted in was Turface, an artificially produced product developed for golf courses, I believe. It’s a fired clay particle of very small size–1/8″ and less. And because the particles are so small the amount of water they retain is a lot. So the soil stays wet for a really long time and most pines don’t like that, especially if they are in a container of some kind.

pondy

 

This is a small tree, chuhin size, which is slightly larger than shohin and smaller than medium size. I could just call it a small bonsai, I guess 😉 It has nice bark and small needles for a ponderosa. The previous owner did a great job caring for it in spite of poor soil. He didn’t know any better and there was a time when I was tempted to buy some Turface but  fortunately had a source of pumice instead. He also used bat guano to fertilize it with which may explain the needle length being kept short. Organic fertilizers promote slow, steady growth as opposed to mineral salt based fertilizers like Miracle Grow and Peters, etc. Please don’t get me wrong to think I don’t or never use products like Miracle Grow. They certainly have their place and are good substitutes when you need to give a weak tree a little boost now and then. I find the organics to be easier than the liquids because you just place the organic on the soil sufrace around the pot and a little is released every time you water. I say use whatever works for you and your lifestyle and if you can remember to mix up you liquid every two weeks and apply it, you’ll be golden. I get busy and forget, so I use the organics.

As I mentioned above, I did not care for the pot the tree was in or the angle it was planted, so the scope of the work I did recently was very light. Plus it allowed me to start to exchange that nasty Turface for pumice, which is a much better ‘soil’ to use for pines like ponderosa that like really good drainage. The pot in the photo is tilted at an angle for a reason–that was  what I saw would be best for this little tree. I did not take any pics with the pot level, so just imagine the rim of the pot being level for that. The one nice point about that pot is that you could balance it up on its feet like that 😉 So, early in November I saw a possible replacement for the funky pot I had sitting around that was given to me by a friend. Probably an inexpensive Chinese pot would be my guess…and a pretty, red-violet glaze that seemed a little challenging to pair with anything. Its shape and form  calls for a tree that would be a semi-cascade or a cascade style and the trunk a little on the masculine side. The glaze kind of conflicts with that though and seems to call for something a little more daring and playful. So, I took the plunge and did the deed anyway. It’s a bit unconventional for a pine to be in a glazed pot but the square form seemed almost perfect for it. Here’s the result for now:

pondy

 

I had to tilt the tree quite a bit to get the position right as you can see by the mound to the right. When I got the tree out of the turface, all the feeder roots were at the bottom of the pot, so nothing important is higher up–for now. My plan is to place fertilizer cups with organic fertilizer on that mound. This will encourage the tree to throw out roots closer to the base of the trunk where we want them as well as the rest of the pot. I was also able to carefully remove a fair amount of the turface without disturbing the roots too much. So, this was really just a slip-potting as opposed to a full-on re-pot. There was plenty of room to work in a fairly coarse size pumice particle all the way around the pot and I included a drainage layer of it as well. The improved drainage was immediately noticeable when I watered after potting up.

Next, I’ve got a ‘before’ photo of the lodgepole mentioned earlier. Before is in quotes as there has been a significant amount of work done to this tree prior to the photo. I put the tree in a plastic kitchen colander when I collected it and last spring it went into the pot you see it in now. I wasn’t able to get the tree into the position I wanted but that was where I left it and will adjust it when it’s ready for another re-pot. And most likely I’ll have a better pot for it then also. This tree was also approach grafted during a study group led by Michael Hagedorn. I think that was in June of 2010…kind of fuzzy there. Suffice to say that I cut the ‘mother’ branch to the graft after two years and it was obvious the graft had taken as the branch in the graft area was thickening and beginning to bark up,  just like the trunk. A ‘before’ pic for you:

lodgepole graft

 

The above photo was taken in October and the one below early November after some wire:

grafted lodgepole

 

Great care must be taken when wiring grafted branches so that you don’t rip the branch out with the wire and since I had to use six gauge copper wire on the thickest branches, this was especially true. A  shot from the back:

grafted lodgepole

 

It’s possible to see the graft union area from this  shot–look above and to the left of where the branch emerges from the trunk to become the upper trunk of the tree. You can see where the callous tissue is beginning to ‘bark up’ always a good sign your graft has taken. and below a shot after the tree was ‘roughed in’. I say that because there are some smaller  branchlets that need to be wired and some of the needles could be pulled off to give it a more refined and finished look. Since this is the first work done to the tree, I will let it rest and wait to see how the tree responds. I don’t think there will be any problems given the way it went.

grafted lodgepole

 

And I’ll leave you with a final shot against black velvet and uncluttered:

grafted lodgepole

 

The bird netting is there to keep the birds from rifing through the soil in the pot. They also peck away at the bark looking for insects. A perpetual problem the bird netting  has solved for now.

Fall Reflection…

Twenty two degrees outside just now and the ground is frozen solid…a good time to get caught up here with some trees I worked on in November. No finish styling, just taking them another step along the way to becoming a bonsai in the true sense of the word, tray planting. I’ll start off with a Japanese black pine cultivar of unknown name that originally came from Don Howse here in Portland. Don has a specialty nursery, Porterhowse Farms, selling the type of material featured here. My friend Margie Kinoshita acquired the tree and kept it trying to decide what to do with it. She left it with me early last spring hoping I would see some direction to take it. It was a dense mop of foliage full of dead leaves and needles and in the process of cleaning out all the junk, I got out the saw and removed about 50% of the foliage with one large branch, the cut end of which can be seen in the first photo:

black pine

 

There was still plenty of foliage there and I fed it well throughout the growing season with Portland Rose Society fertilizer, which is a pelletized organic fertilizer; 5-4-4, low numbers as you can see that don’t promote coarse vigorous growth. It is also inoculated with mycorrhizae that can help a tree in a container continue to grow and not weaken until you can get to re-potting it. I have no idea how long the tree has been in the three gallon container, but it is apparent to see it is quite root-bound. I knew the tree could take some pruning as I had the chance to observe its growth throughout the growing season, which was vigorous in spite of its root-bound condition. The other problem with the tree is a slight swelling that starts a couple of inches above the soil line and creates a reverse taper when seen from certain positions around the trunk. The key to finding a good front for the tree was to find one of those positions where the trunk and its line and the branches all worked together to make a decent looking tree with some taper from the soil and a nice line with some movement leading to branches that are thicker at the base of the trunk and gradually get thinner as we go up the trunk. The next photo is of the tree after pruning unnecessary branches:

black pine

 

And the pile of branches:

black pine

 

When all was said and done, I reckon I eliminated close to two thirds of the tree’s branches over the course of a growing season and still had plenty of tree left to work with. I could see that there had been a major trunk chop earlier in the tree’s development, probably done at the nursery before it wound up with Margie and the reason for the fat little trunk you see here. Next I cleaned out any dead twigs and carved any un-natural stubs left by pruning into jins. I also removed any shoots that might be in my way when applying wire to the branches to give them movement downward and every which way to create more interest. Again, I apologize for not including the intermediate steps taken to arrive at the picture below. The important thing for me is that I got anything before work like this took place at all 😉 I need to hire a photographer!

black pine

 

And the tree ‘roughed in’ for now. I didn’t pluck needles thoroughly the way one would doing normal fall work on black pines. I approached this tree as though it had just been collected and prepared for styling for the first time. I have another shot I took the other day without the cluttered background:

black pine

 

The very long first branch on the left will be ‘chased in’ closer to the trunk for an even more compact silhouette. And another possible front and the view I presented before pruning and wiring:

black pine

 

The task at hand now is keeping the tree healthy through the winter and it looks like we’re up for one of the most challenging winters seen in our area for some time and certainly the coldest I’ve seen the short time I’ve lived here. January is typically the coldest month and that’s still a month away…the forecast for the coming week is for a gradual warm up and even some rain, something I’m actually looking forward to! And while I tough it out waiting for spring, I might keep my eye out for the right pot for this tree and if it appears to have survived the fall work, I’ll pot it up in a bonsai for the first time. Shall see. Stay tuned for more trees from November.

What to do, Part two…

Twenty seven degrees outside just now and I know this is nothing compared to what some are experiencing a thousand miles to the east–twenty seven below zero. The cold is relative though, and we don’t usually get this kind of cold until January. All of this to say it’s a good time to get caught up with posts to my blog and stay out of the cold for now. And if you just happened on my blog for the first time today, this post is a follow-up from the last post of trees I styled to make up for some of the cost of a third tree–a Ponderosa pine collected by Randy Knight of Oregon Bonsai. I forgot to mention that the two trees I’m working in exchange for a little break in the cost of the ponderosa are up for sale. Just leave a comment if you are interested and I’ll pass it on to Randy. How about a look at the new tree first?

twisty ponderosa

 

This tree is 25″ tall and the trunk is 3 1/2″ in diameter where it’s secured with wire at the rim of the pot. A very nice medium size bonsai! And the deadwood spiral starts down at the base and goes continuously around that sharp bend. I spied it when we took the first Portland Bonsai Village Tour to Randy’s field in July. It really held its own against other larger, more  complex and equally interesting yamadori in his field. It ‘talked’ to me 😉 We were allowed to tag trees we were interested in that day but it was up to us to get hold of Randy because he was busy moving at the time. As summer progressed, I thought about the tree from time to time, all the while thinking I’d just be bothering Randy asking about it. But fall arrived and I figured I’d better see if the tree was even still available. It took several attempts as I had an old phone number and two e-mail addresses to pick from. When I finally got through, Randy was off collecting and said he’d be back sometime November and that the tree was still available. And there you have it. Not all the trees that were tagged that day in July were available and I was told I was one of the few that called to ask about their tree.

So, the second tree and the subject of this post is a Rocky Mountain juniper that was collected in October of last year according to its dog tag. It did very well over the growing season and was crowned with a dense mop of weepy foliage…always a challenge! Add to that there was no green for nearly 18″ above the soil. The trunk divided into two branches about an inch thick and very stiff. They were growing straight up and reminded me of two fingers giving the ‘peace’ sign. Let’s take a look at what we’re talking about:

RMJ

 

And the opposite side:

RMJ

 

I chose the side above for the front for a couple of reasons–the live vein is in better proportion with the deadwood and the twist the trunk takes before the branches bifurcate is more pronounced from this side. The other side of the tree could have been used for the front also as you’ll see in the ‘after’ pictures below. I like to try to bend the branches around a bit before I wire them to see if they will go into the position I eventually want them and they were telling me to change their position with respect to one another; in other words, I had to bring the second branch forward and slip the first one around it. I then began to clean out the dead branches and also carved roughly half the diameter of the first branch at the base as it was half-dead anyway. Next I wrapped wet raffia (six strands) around the base of each branch and up to where I thought the most bending would occur. I anchored the two main branches together with 4 gauge copper wire, the heaviest size I had around. And here’s the first shot after that was done:

RMJ

 

Here’s a shot from the right side showing a guy wire I used to get that stiff old branch to stay in place. Rocky Mountain juniper branches can sometimes be incredibly stiff and brittle even with small diameters, which is why we try to reduce them if we can by carving out the non-living tissue prior to bending. The raffia and heavy gauge wire helps the process too but even then it’s sometimes necessary to use a guy wire to hold the branch in a position we want it to be.

RMJ

 

And next is a shot of the first branch wired out and set into position. That was where I had to leave it for the first day’s work.

RMJ

 

The next day was more wiring and the addition of more guy wires as the relationship of the two branches started to clarify. But you can see our goal of making a nearly three foot tall and rangy bush to a more compact and ordered design is being accomplished.

RMJ

 

Well, a lot happened between those two shots and all I can say is that when I get into a work jag, I kind of forget to stop and take photos…sorry 😦  And to make up for that, I hope a tour around the tree will allow you to see what was done. I left plenty of foliage on the tree and didn’t wire it completely because this the first ‘rough in’ done late in the season and I’d like to leave the tree with plenty of undisturbed branches so it can make itself some food and recover from the styling process. The next photo is of the back of the tree, which I mentioned earlier, could also serve as a front. The live vein from this side is very thick and is larger than the deadwood, which tends to make the tree appear a little younger.

RMJ

 

Next shot is the right side of the tree and the tree’s left, just to confuse you 😉

RMJ

 

This  shot is very revealing showing the nice movement present in the lower trunk and the twist I talked about earlier. And for the last of the tour, the left side, or the tree’s right:

RMJ

 

One last shot for you against a black velvet background:

RMJ

 

And there you have it, the result of three days work. I’d like to thank Randy Knight for extending me the opportunity to work on these awesome collected trees and I hop they go to good homes!

What to do…What to do…?

The audience has gone very quiet these days…I understand we all get busy preparing for winter and appreciating the last of the fall color. So I thought I’d stir things up a bit by presenting a tree that one person already gave up on; it came my way as part of a deal to help pay for another tree. Both trees came from Randy Knight of Oregon Bonsai. The subject of tonight’s post is an Engelmann spruce collected by Randy. It went to a customer who returned it, stumped as to what to do about styling. If you don’t already know by now, I like to take on a challenge sometimes and this tree offered plenty of that! Let’s see what all the fuss is about:

spruce

 

How do you describe a tree like this? All three roots are the same tree, they are not separate trunks. So exposed root style would be a start. There were quite a few stubs from branches that had been pruned in the field or by its first owner groping around for a bonsai. Another shot:

spruce

 

If you’re still wondering why I took this on, I don’t blame you 😉 But I did see something almost right away about this tree that might just be its redeeming quality and I’m sure some of you out there have already done this in your mind. And for those who have not, here is what I thought:

spruce

 

Now we have gone to a definable style–slant style or semi-cascade…I’ll let you squabble over how to define it. How about ‘Exposed root semi-cascade slant’ style? I write this tongue-in-cheek for fellow bonsai-ists and for those less serious or just dabbling, please bear with me. I also considered the opposite side for the front:

spruce

 

The base where the roots join from this side is very similar to the opposite but as we go up the trunk  from this side, it veers away from us and to the back. A number of branches also emerge in the area just above the roots on this side, whereas the other side is free of branches and we get to see a clear view of the trunk without pruning anything off. The other downside to cutting branches is that you have to deal with the fact they have been cut off. And speaking of which, the next step in working on this tree involved cleaning up the tree–removing all the tiny dead twigs and making the cut branches and stubs look natural. This is something you want to do before you begin wiring and styling the tree as it can be pretty hard to do when everything is wired up. A shot after cleaning up and working on the branch stubs known as ‘jins’:

spruce

 

Once the clean up is done, we can start to wire the tree. We start wiring the largest branches first:

spruce

 

I’ll do a series here of the wiring as it goes on, bit by bit. And for those who don’t know about wiring, we use annealed copper wire and anchor two branches together with the same wire. So part of the strategy of wiring is looking for branches of similar size to pair together with the same wire. We use less wire this way and it makes the wire look more elegant.

spruce

 

spruce

 

spruce

 

You can see by now, we’re nearly there and what follows is the nearly endless process of tweaking and fine tuning. And by that I mean every time you move one branch, they all need to be re-positioned to accommodate the new branch’s position. Fun stuff but one needs to learn when to step away and let the tree rest!

spruce

 

spruce

 

spruce

 

And that set of photos were taken at the end of the day Thanksgiving Day. Today started off  bitter cold for us this early in December–it was 25* this morning when I got up but the sky was clear and the sun was out…a good day for taking some photos. I got a better background up and the tree really pops out from the black velvet:

spruce

 

spruce

 

spruce

 

That’s all I’ve got for tonight, hope you’ve enjoyed the process of turning a difficult tree into a bonsai!