Alaska Yellow Cedar

grouper52

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Here's a piece of material I purchased in March, 2007. An unlikely looking, unappealing thing, I would have thought years ago. But not now. It's an Alaska Yellow cedar, very old but I don't know how old, that has struggled in an alpine bog on Vancouver Island. Height a little over three feet.

The first season my plan was to air layer the top of the tree between the second and third branches, creating two bonsai. The top branch didn't cooperate: it died. Oh well. I stripped it and overall extended the natural top jin downward into a tall, domineering structure - too much so. After one season since lime sulfur was applied and some initial carving was done on the area below the natural jin, the new and old exposed areas are starting to look at least a tiny bit similar, and that will be a future project as well, to blend the man-made and the natural deadwood.

This spring I transferred the fellow into a smallish grow pot, which went fairly well, with lots of very nice foliage pushing out now. I'll wait until fall to prune that back a bit. It doesn't look like it, but this is a Chamaecyparis, so the foliage trimming is just typical frond work, similar to that used on Hinokis and other such frond-leafed evergreens.

The foliage is so lush right now that I thought it would be a good time to do some wiring to develop the two branches better. Not only does it now have better definition after the wiring, and better light into the interior areas, but the higher foliage now reduces the starkness of the tall jinned top a bit, bringing it into better proportions, IMO.

Much work still to be done. Probably some carving this winter, at least, and foliage refinement. But the path forward now seems clear, and in a few more seasons, with any luck, it should be looking quite impressive, and will go into a more proper pot.

Enjoy.
 

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Ang3lfir3

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As you well know this is one of my favorite species for bonsai and I hope people can see why. They are such amazing trees. With the faster growth rate and larger foliage than Hinoki they can create a wonderful image only a few years after collection. The beauty of the deadwood is amazing and they don't even need lime sulfur just a season in the sun. I have loved every second I have spent with the ones I have worked on.

I can't wait to see this in a few years and look forward to watching it develop. I also am looking forward to seeing that monster you have getting worked over... that will be a real show stopper.
 

grouper52

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As you well know this is one of my favorite species for bonsai and I hope people can see why. They are such amazing trees. With the faster growth rate and larger foliage than Hinoki they can create a wonderful image only a few years after collection. The beauty of the deadwood is amazing and they don't even need lime sulfur just a season in the sun. I have loved every second I have spent with the ones I have worked on.

I can't wait to see this in a few years and look forward to watching it develop. I also am looking forward to seeing that monster you have getting worked over... that will be a real show stopper.

I believe we should have a ceremony, officiated by Shinto priests of course, to formally name that tree, shouldn't we? I must say, I'm a little disappointed by your attitude - simply giving it an English name like "The Monster" lacks the expected deference. :D

You should not be looking forward to my working over a tree I collected, you should be looking forward to your working on your OWN Monster you will collect this fall! Quite frankly, I wouldn't even mess with the Mountain hemlocks or Shore pines if I was you - just go after the AYCs. Well, OK . . . maybe a Shore pine or two. :)

You ought to post some of your recent carving and styling on that AYC here, BTW - darned impressive work!

Will
 

Ang3lfir3

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I believe we should have a ceremony, officiated by Shinto priests of course, to formally name that tree, shouldn't we? I must say, I'm a little disappointed by your attitude - simply giving it an English name like "The Monster" lacks the expected deference. :D

You should not be looking forward to my working over a tree I collected, you should be looking forward to your working on your OWN Monster you will collect this fall! Quite frankly, I wouldn't even mess with the Mountain hemlocks or Shore pines if I was you - just go after the AYCs. Well, OK . . . maybe a Shore pine or two. :)

You ought to post some of your recent carving and styling on that AYC here, BTW - darned impressive work!

Will

I do very much look forward to working on trees I collect this fall... only a few shore pines are needed but mostly AYC. If I can convince my wife to take pictures I think we have a before and after of the initial styling....

I appreciate the compliment, it means a great deal coming from you.
 

irene_b

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Will this one rocks the boat!
The age is obvious and the deadwood is fantastic.
I see a very Nick Lenz-ish type of creation in the deadwood.
I also will be looking forward to what you do with this one!
Irene
 

grouper52

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Here it is today after repotting and a bit more time. This season, I will continue training and refining the foliage, and try to improve the deadwood effects, and will post as I go along.
 

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Have you considered reducing the large jin at the top? The last dead branch on the right is what I'd use for the new finial. That large thick club at the top of the tree is visually too heavy for me; it distracts my eye from the rest of the tree. I'd also like to see the soil level a little deeper around the base of the trunk to ground the tree a bit better. Do you have a photo of the tree from the other side?
 

JasonG

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Hey WIll,

I have to agree with Greg here a little, I would like to see a picture of it rotated clockwise about 30 degrees..... is that doable?
 

grouper52

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Have you considered reducing the large jin at the top? The last dead branch on the right is what I'd use for the new finial. That large thick club at the top of the tree is visually too heavy for me; it distracts my eye from the rest of the tree. I'd also like to see the soil level a little deeper around the base of the trunk to ground the tree a bit better. Do you have a photo of the tree from the other side?

I know many/most people WOULD consider reducing the top, but it is the farthest thing from my mind. The tree would bore me without it - just another bonsai.

At a slight rotation, the base looks better, Greg and Jason, but the postion of the deadwood does not, and for right now, that's what captures my eye and is my priority. Over time, the current roots coming off at the right upper base will thicken nicely (they already have), and I may induce other root development in that area - these should give a better sense of grounding the tree and still allow this angle as a front, which appeals to me.. As I do some work on it over the next week or two I will capture a few photos of the base and some different angles to give a better 3D idea.
 

grouper52

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Here's the slight rotation, Jason. The tree looks very appealing from most angles to me, but the lower branch angle doesn't do it for me with this rotation. This view does, however, give a better view of those right-sided roots I was talking about They should develop over time, and I might induce some more along that right side over time. These trees are fairly life-line oriented, however, so along areas where there are no roots currently, there is no living camium to induce them on. You can, however, see some other roots coing out on the far side of the basal shari.

BTW, here's the sunrise you would have seen out the guest room if you were here this morning, Jason. You all ought to come up and visit again sometime - the invite's always open. :)
 

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mcpesq817

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BTW, here's the sunrise you would have seen out the guest room if you were here this morning, Jason. You all ought to come up and visit again sometime - the invite's always open. :)

Wow, that's an incredible view! Thanks for sharing.
 

Ang3lfir3

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Wow, that's an incredible view! Thanks for sharing.

It is indeed.... besides the trees and warm friendly company... its one of my fav reasons for visiting Will... which I believe is a little over due....
 

JasonG

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Thanks for posting the other picture of the tree....and the view is amazing!! Damn fog was out when I was there~!!!!!! Very pretty view. DO you ever throw the boat int he water and paddle over there to collect trees? Lol

After looking again at the 2nd picture of the tree I like that view better. It moves the deadwood to the left and exposes more to the tree that is alive. To me it adds some balance between the dead and live wood. This would be a fun one to work one, however if I were to work on it I don't think you would like the outcome, lol!!!

See ya!

Jason
 

grouper52

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Thanks for posting the other picture of the tree....and the view is amazing!! Damn fog was out when I was there~!!!!!! Very pretty view. DO you ever throw the boat int he water and paddle over there to collect trees? Lol

After looking again at the 2nd picture of the tree I like that view better. It moves the deadwood to the left and exposes more to the tree that is alive. To me it adds some balance between the dead and live wood. This would be a fun one to work one, however if I were to work on it I don't think you would like the outcome, lol!!!

See ya!

Jason

Collecting is apparently not good over there. Dan gave up on the Olympics early on in his career, and I've never heard of anyone else having sucess collecting over there either. Not sure why.

You know me and my penchant for weird trees. :D We'll just have to disagree about this one, but I am curious where you would take this tree if it were yours?
 

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