12 pic Potentilla fruiticosa progression

amkhalid

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Here is a summary of one year of work on a nursery potentilla. I love these trees for shohin because decent stuff can (rarely) be found in nurseries and they develop so damn fast, even with my not-so-long growing season. Working on tiny trees like this is a pain though...

Hopefully this post generates some discussion, my posts usually just wither away and die...

As purchased late 2007... didn't do any work that year, too late in season. Note the nice flowers. Pfftt... that'll be the last time I see those I bet.
1.jpg

Hard pruning spring 2008
2.jpg

After seeing a good response to the pruning, I did the first rough carving. This was my first real 'carving' project in bonsai, but potentilla are kind of cheating because you just tear away at the branches and get a very nice texture. Very easy to carve, did it almost all with pliers. No chisels or anything.
View 1
3.jpg
View 2 with pen for scale
4.jpg

It didn't skip a beat, here it is about 2 months later... I let it grow too wild, which was a mistake. It just made more work for me.
Note the thickening and definition of the live veins which happened incredibly quickly.
5.jpg
 
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amkhalid

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Did some much needed thinning in August 2008. Potentilla should not be "pruned" because scars don't heal. Branches should be torn off to make a shari, or carved into jin. They are so fun to work on :) The crown was so convoluted it was very hard to make decisions. To this day, I don't know which live veins most branches are connected too.
6.jpg

First pic from this year, 2009. Right after I pulled it out of the ground from its winter protection.
7.jpg

Finally got it out of its nursery pot. Unfortunately there is a big root jutting straight towards the viewer, which I did not want to reduce all the way because it is connected to a very important live vein. So i pruned it back a bit, and protected it with some moss. Next year it should be able to be cut back safely.
8.jpg

Just budding out in spring. Gave it a light wiring.
9.jpg

The airbrushed part was removed not long after this pic to lighten up the apex.
10.jpg
 
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amkhalid

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Here is the tree today after another round of thinning and light wiring to place the branches. And it will probably need another in a couple of weeks. I would guess that every other year it will need a complete crown restyle.
11.jpg

Virtual re-pot into the pot I wanted to put it into this year, but the damn root kept it in an ugly training pot. This tree is the 'pink beauty' cultivar, but I doubt I will ever see flowers on it, considering that you have to let them grow out.

About 10cm above pot level
12.jpg

Not happy with the lighting in the pic, not enough definition on the live veins, and I couldn't improve it much with photoshop, but then again, I suck at photoshop.

Three main things I need to do this year:

1) lime sulfur (I have never used lime sulfur before so waiting for my friend to teach me how).

2) continue cleaning up the deadwood and stuff, get rid of all those little wood threads. Wish I could torch it, but it is just too tight of a space. It would be tricky to do. The wood of potentilla is weird, I've heard its not really wood, but more like the stuff bamboo is made of.

3) Continue refining the branching, particularly beefing up the first left branch to balance it out with the heavy one on the right.

I hope someone found this thread interesting, cause it was alot of work to post!

And to anyone who hasn't tried potentilla, they are amazing, forgiving trees great fun for beginners as I have found.

Cheers!
 
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Ken Duncan

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Very nice progression, thank you for taking the time to show your work. I like this tree and think that it will only get better with time in a pot.
Have you done other potentilla?
I bought one in Rochester a few years ago and have not touched the roots, only pruned the ends.
I hope to get it out of the nursery container and into some good Bonsai soil next Spring.
Ken
 

amkhalid

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Hi Ken, thanks for the kind words.

I have another potentilla I just started working on this spring. It is not a driftwood style though, I guess you could call it an oak style. Heavy trunked shohin.

The roots are amazingly tough, as these trees are in general. Impossible to kill. I just wash all the soil off and prune what I need to take off to get it in a small pot. Notice that it was in a 2 gallon nursery can and then went straight into a pot the volume of a pack of cigarettes. And that was me being careful, making sure I didn't kill a live vein. It didn't skip a beat.

Cheers
 
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ghues

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Thanks for posting

Thanks amkhalid for taking the time to post this.
Being a newbie......... I find all these types of posts very worthwhile and helpful.
I have a dozen of these (various colours) in my yard.............I wonder if the wife would notice that one was missing LOL
Cheers Gman
 

amkhalid

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Thanks GMan...

Campbell River must be an amazing place for a bonsai lover! Forget the damn yard potentillas, get out in them mountains! :)

Cheers
 

amkhalid

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slightly modified pic trying to bring out those live veins

virt.jpg
 

Kitsune

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Very nice progression set. I'm a fan of potentilla myself for all of the same reasons. They really do make some handsome shohin if you can find the right stock, and it looks to me like you did. Can't wait to see this even a year or two down the road.
 

grouper52

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How about the tweaked photo below?

Great little tree, fine representative of one of my favorite species. Very nice progression series. Thanks for posting.

G52
 

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amkhalid

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How about the tweaked photo below?

Great little tree, fine representative of one of my favorite species. Very nice progression series. Thanks for posting.

G52
Awesome grouper! Much better then mine, obviously you have the photoshop skills which I lack lol. Thanks for the kind words :)
 

JasonG

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Amkalhid

Thanks for posting this.....I love this little tree! I have often thought about using this species and I know in parts of Oregon they grow like weeds all over the place. I have been there collecting before and seen 1000's of them but am always focused on pines, hemlock and junipers. A few weeks ago while in Seattle for a bonsai auction there was a sweet little one that went for a good price.

Thanks again for posting.

Jason
 
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Here is a small potentilla I posted awhile ago, I know, I know, I never post trees, so just pretend this one is by someone else. ;)

I like this species and find it fun to work with, again, thanks for posting yours.


Will
 

amkhalid

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Amkalhid

Thanks for posting this.....I love this little tree! I have often thought about using this species and I know in parts of Oregon they grow like weeds all over the place. I have been there collecting before and seen 1000's of them but am always focused on pines, hemlock and junipers. A few weeks ago while in Seattle for a bonsai auction there was a sweet little one that went for a good price.

Thanks again for posting.

Jason
Thanks Jason :) There are some amazing Potentilla yamadori out there that put this little nursery stock to shame. They grow everywhere, and I know a couple guy's in the Toronto club who have outstanding large collected specimens with amazing twisting trunks. Although thick single trunk potentilla seem to be very hard to come by, at least around here. Most nursery stock is crap too. Took a lot of searching to find one worth working on. Finding a single trunk wit some girth is hard enough, but finding one with some movement is a whole other problem.

I would collect one if you see a nice one! It'll give you a nice break from hauling out those massive conifers :)
 
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grouper52

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Awesome grouper! Much better then mine, obviously you have the photoshop skills which I lack lol. Thanks for the kind words :)
Thanks for YOUR kind words! I'm in the final stages of writing and photographing (with Vic Ridgeway - formerly Ensore until her recent marriage) a book about one of the masters, so I've had to get fairly facile with my trusty little Photoshop Elements 3.0, producing close to a hundred large print quality glamor shots of his trees. When I post things on the web, in jpg :( , I do it up fairly quickly, both the photo shoot and post-production processing: so much picture quality is inherently lost on the internet that it's not worth making too much effort. Meticulous, hours-long work at pixel level on huge files was often required for each large picture in the book, for instance, but tweaking your file was really quick - about a minute. Just a few tweaks in the Adjust Lighting sub-menu on your Enhance pull-down menu, and a mild degree of sharpening with Unsharp Mask in the Sharpen sub-menu of the Filters pull-down. About a minute. If you have a large file, much more can be done, but fortunately your photo was pretty good quality to start with. Bonsai are a bit hard to photograph well. I have a tutorial on bonsai photography over on the BonsaiSite Forums, but the foundation of it all is simply from Old Mr. Crow's wonderful site. I suspect from the quality of your photo that you've already learned the basics there.

I recently posted two potentillas in bloom that might augment the interest your post has stirred up about this species, which really make some of the best natural bonsai. Here's the link:
http://bonsainut.com/forums/showthread.php?t=2320

Once again thanks for posting this great tree to spark interest in this wonderful species.

G52
 

amkhalid

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Hey G52, thanks this is really useful information! Until now, I was just limited to messing with the color levels and contrast/brightness, which will only get me so far... I have photoshop CS2 so I'm guessing I will be able to do the same manipulations you referred to.

As for pictures, I have a really crappy point and shoot, and no proper backdrop (my bbq served as the backdrop for that pic lol) so I just abuse the background eraser and sometimes throw in a gradient for good measure :)

Very nice potentillas in that thread! I am hesitant to let this one get wild enough to see flowers, which is a shame. But if I do want to see flowers, should I not prune the new spring growth at all? I have another potentilla which is really shaggy, although I pruned it in early spring and haven't seen any flowers.

This book sounds intriguing... Dan Robinson?
 
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roelex14

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so i quickly went through some of these at work and this is the first one i came up with.
it has a few pretty thick trunks that i think i should be able to pick at least one from (i hope:p)
lemme know what ya think

thanks

aaron
 

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