Happy New Year! Rain has returned here in ‘stump town’ and I’ve settled in with a hot cup of coffee to bring you up to speed with a couple of trees I’ve been working on over the holidays and into the new year. First up is a Blue Atlas Cedar I acquired from Jim Gremel at the PNBCA convention held in Vancouver, Washington in September 2012. We were both vendors at that convention and Jim had some very nice trees available for sale at his booth. This tree caught my eye from the first day, and as the convention wore on, I decided I’d try and see if I could do a trade. It took two trees to come close to his asking price–a collected Engelmann spruce and a collected mountain hemlock–but I was able to come home with this glaucous beauty! And here it is on the bench in a very unusual pot for such a tree:

blu Atlas cedar

 

I’ve never owned, much less worked on one, Β so I picked Jim’s brain as much as I dared about the particulars of these blue beauties. This one is grafted–the root stock is Deodora cedar. I can’t remember if Jim did the grafting, but the union is very seamless; the only give away is the difference in bark texture three inches above soil line. Jim did mention the need to put movement into the trunk very early on as it thickens it becomes stiff and when one attempts a bend, snaps in two like a carrot and that’s the end of that! So, this tree received training very early and has lived most of its life in a pot. Part of the reason a trained specimen like this costs a small fortune πŸ˜‰

The next step in my plan for this tree was to get it into a different pot; something that would complement that beautiful blue foliage and enhance the cascade style it was in. I found just the right pot waiting on a shelf, a pot made by Mike Hagedorn back when he was still a potter. I brought the tree and pot to his study group last winter and he approved of my choice. Let’s see if you agree:

blu Atlas cedar

 

The tree was fully wired when I took possession of it, but the wire was biting in hard in spots and I removed it shortly before re-potting it. I used 50% pumice and 50% Akadama for my soil mix and fertilized with Portland Rose Society organic fertilizer throughout the growing season. The tree responded well and had sent out 6″ to 8″ extension shoots on most of the branch tips. I cut those off in September without thinking to get a photo before I did–sorry. The next best I can do is show you what the tree looked like before I began wiring it last month. This photo was taken in late November, 2013:

blu before

 

Imagine the entire tree with rangy shoots like those near the top of the tree and you can picture what it looked like before its fall cut-back. The tree had also filled in the areas closer to the trunk. Always a good sign but it told me I’d have to be careful when wiring not to lay the wire across the needles, which is all too easy to do when wiring one of these. Something else rang true about what Jim said about their tendency to snap like carrots–that trait extends to the little tufts of needles as well. The needles are very sharp and when you add all this up, it takes some getting used to wiring one of these! So, after two and a half days this is what I got:

blu after

 

From the right side, or the tree’s left:

blu after

 

And the left side, or the tree’s right:

blu after

 

And the back of the tree. It would make an interesting front too πŸ˜‰

blu after

 

That’s where I’ll leave it for today…stay tuned for New Years Blues Part Two…

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