A day wiring a hornbeam

Ang3lfir3

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While at the garden today (Elandan) I started working on a small hornbeam that has been needing some attention for a few years.... regular pruning has been taken care of but wiring has been lacking...

After a few hours of work Vic snapped some pictures .... they aren't great... but enjoy

Wiring every twig....!!!


Working in the shop ...


The Front:


The Back:


I think in spring I will try and find a better pot for the tree... I'm personally not a fan of the current pot...
 

bonsaiTOM

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A very well developed hornbeam - nicely wired. Have we seen this one 'in-leaf'?
Not a fan of the pot either. Will be glad to see it replaced.
Question - do you consider the thick heavy moss as detrimental to the health of the roots?
 

Stan Kengai

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Nice job! Thanks for sharing. To me, the contorted branches give the tree a "spooky" feeling. If that's the feeling you are trying to evoke, I would consider putting it in a dull black or very dark blue pot to enhance that mood.

If that is not what you were going for, congratulations, you just achieved what many have unsucessfully tried simply by accident.
 

Ang3lfir3

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Thanks guys..... I appreciate the comments....

The tree isn't mine... it belongs to Daniel Robinson and is a member of the Elandan Gardens permanent collection... As Daniel's student/friend I get the fortunate benefit of getting to work on his trees.

@bonsaiTom -- this is the first time I believe this tree has even been displayed tho it might have been in "Gnarly Branches Ancient Trees" (i sometimes forget which trees were photographed) .... The most is not a problem for the tree... it probably hasn't been repotted in 20+ years...

@Stan -- Spooky works..... usually we go for "Ancient" ... which often amounts to a spooky look... its how I learned to style trees and its perfect for an old tree like this one...
 

Ang3lfir3

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Nice tree! Good wiring, too. I'd love a tree like this.

Yeah wouldn't we all... this tree was purchased from a group of imported hornbeam stumps at Brussel's bonsai in the early 80's and has been being developed by Daniel since then...
 
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geeze.... you told people I took those photos, and then you didn't comment it was with a cell phone... *aghast*

I think you did a great job... it's a sweet little tree. I will have to get some decent photos of it so that it can be better appreciated. Now you get to do the bigger one. :D

xox,

V
 

Ang3lfir3

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I am surprised no one has suggested removing a portion of the left highest trunk.... The crown is too pointy and would benefit more from a shorter rounded crown. This would reduce the triangle shape of the overall tree and give a more aged appearance to the crown which is more in character with the design and branches.... Plus pointy tops make deciduous trees look like pines.... Which is silly....

This is important in creating naturalistic designs as these easily overlooked aspects can ruin an otherwise excellent composition...
 

Randy

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I will bite.
You mean where the aluminum wire on a right moving branch is at? Just about where your hands are in the "Working in the shop..." photo? How would you create the shorter rounded crown? Would you pick one of the branches on the highest trunk to make the new trunk since it is already developed and has taper and bend it upward?
 

Bill S

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Randy I think you got it right, the no bites Ang. I think come from the lack of wanting to restyle one of Dans trees, enviable position. I'd agree on shortening it, it'll widen and flatten the top nicely. Cool tree, I like it.
 

Ang3lfir3

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@Randy & Bill --- yeah pretty close not exactly where you see that shiny piece of wire (recycling is great) a little higher (you might be talking about the same spot).... but yes you both hit it on the head...

the no bites Ang. I think come from the lack of wanting to restyle one of Dans trees, enviable position.
I can understand that ... and thank you it certainly is a wonderful position to be in.... though I hope that people will see that even older more mature bonsai sometimes need to have major adjustments to complete their design..... [random trivia] a few years ago a roll of roofing plastic fell on this tree from the greenhouse roof and broke a major branch, you can't even tell today

interestingly that brings up something that I don't think we (Vic, Grouper or myself) have ever mentioned on the forums.... and maybe that's just because we have always thought it was normal.... but one of the most common activities at the garden is to walk around enjoying the trees and having great conversation.... most of the time that conversation leads to discussion on redesigning the trees.... from the minor branch replacement to discussions of killing half the tree.... turning trees around... re-angling etc..... these are all things we talk about often... the trees are ever evolving and discussing redesigns can lead to seeing something that wasn't there before... So I believe it is an important exercise in bonsai ..... in other words always feel free to make suggests about the trees from the garden... it'll be like you are a part of the discussions :) :) :)
 

Bill S

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Gottcha Eric, the second part was my take on what others may think, not that I put myself anywhere near Dans experiance but I look at others trees and see things I'd do differently, but mostly for my own thoughts, I seconded here in this post but after someone chimed in. I'll ask all day long for advice on my trees but just hate to pass my thoughts onto others trees. The 2 things that seem to happen more are that others are telling me that they like my trees directions, and when I do offer sugestions, they seem to be where the other was thinking of going with the tree. On both counts, I see myself growing. I do the ole what if's too, if nothing else it's a good excercise to see if you should have gone the route you did. It opens ones mind.

Side story along those lines - Joshua Roth contest 2 years ago, I was sitting and looking at the bush from all the anles, and kept grabbing the more developed section of tree to see if I could break it off, each time stopping and thinking"theyll kill me if I break off what they bought the tree for". Later on I got the critiques, and didn't one of our guest artist say that maybe I could have made a nice tree out of what I tried to break off. Learning to trust my instincts still.
 

Brian Van Fleet

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The last photo shows a very nice front. You need that upward-pointing branch to fill in the space, and the tree is "gnarly" enough to get away with it! Well done. Hornbeams are a pleasure to wire; right up there with beeches.
 

Ang3lfir3

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@BillS -- it is certainly very important to learn to trust yourself.... and not beat yourself up over minor mistakes.... a common response when we break a branch from bending too far, a branch dies or a die-grinder slips is "stlying opportunity!!!!" ... its part of the game so we just have to learn to trust ourselves and make the best of what we got.... :) :) :)

@Brian -- Thank you very much .... I really appreciate the compliment..... and nice call on seeing that other front from the back..... It is a very nice front though I am a sucker for great deadwood ... (which this has but you can't really see from these pics).... hornbeams are truly a dream to wire I couldn't agree more .... tho I haven't personally worked with any beech it is a species wholely lacking from Elandan as well as my garden.... something I would love to fix someday :)

another bit of trivia..... I wired this tree mostly from the back!!!


Thanks..... next weekend I start on a much larger hornbeam..... that will likely take me all weekend.... or more... maybe before and afters?
 

Ang3lfir3

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Side story along those lines - Joshua Roth contest 2 years ago, I was sitting and looking at the bush from all the anles, and kept grabbing the more developed section of tree to see if I could break it off, each time stopping and thinking"theyll kill me if I break off what they bought the tree for". Later on I got the critiques, and didn't one of our guest artist say that maybe I could have made a nice tree out of what I tried to break off. Learning to trust my instincts still.

do you mean Riverside?? I was there that year.... the trees were all excellent.... I know the judging was tough as I was chatting with Daniel while he was judging (ok he was teaching me :p ).
 

Randy

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maybe before and afters?

Yes please. Perhaps you could also share what type of pot you might select. I only ask because you hinted at having an opinion on the current one.
 

Ang3lfir3

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Yes please. Perhaps you could also share what type of pot you might select. I only ask because you hinted at having an opinion on the current one.

Certainly!!! I will look for something a little more masculine in appearance (stronger sides... prolly a rectangular shape) with some softness to it... and and an aged appearance ... so glazed.. maybe with softened or inset corners..... the glaze should at least appear older and less shiny (actually kinda hard to do...with out artificially aging a pot)..... it need to be wider as the current pot is probably actually more for a forest planting.... probably in a green/celadon or dark blue color.... this trees fall color is often very yellow....

I'll see if I can dig up some examples...
 

Joedes3

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Thanks for sharing the pictures. Great job with the wiring.
 

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