American Larch

Atom#28

Shohin
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There are two times every year that the Coeur D’Alene National Forest offers free permits to collect “transplants”. Only having been addicted to bonsai for a few months, I really questioned whether I was ready for yamadori collection, especially in autumn....

But the addiction is real... and off I went!

There was a recent thread in which Sorce discussed the importance of REVERENCE in bonsai. I am so glad I did my yamadori hunting this early in my bonsai life. The experience (solo camp in a very remote mountain forest literally crawling with bears, wolves, and mountain lions) really solidified my complete respect not only for the art of bonsai, but for the life force within our trees, too.

Enough blabbing. Here’s the first tree I found. A 48” larch, living at about 4000’ altitude on Cougar Ridge. A large tree had fallen on it many years ago, but the larch survived, with some interesting injuries and grew up and around the fallen log.
The larch in the wild (with his lil hemlock sidekick):5BB34E85-BA5B-43D2-A858-B642906F436A.jpeg5564F84A-4176-46D4-A829-BB319BDB4409.jpeg17C2DBE0-E255-4C61-9A9C-1B3DAC3A3541.jpeg199917B0-0597-4639-9F2F-669BB9339B1D.jpeg
 

Atom#28

Shohin
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The hemlock shared a rootball with the larch, and will get its own thread later. They were almost inseparable, and they’ll always be next to each other on my bench :)

The dig was really tough! There was a giant log to contend with, it was raining, getting dark, and 45f/7c. The ground was extremely rocky, and I had to stop every few minutes to scan for predators. I loved EVERY SECOND of it! Almost three hours of digging, and I collected huge root balls. Here’s the larch when I got it home1CFC0E42-5E75-4FEC-9D2E-4665187C1B51.jpeg336F4200-A0DE-48B9-955E-D03D49690ABD.jpeg66BF66C8-9AAE-4DED-8C2D-1B81E9C4F07A.jpeg04532633-753E-4EF0-A4C8-5D57DBDDEF58.jpegC48F121C-FA53-4747-82D7-F220EFAAD605.jpeg21E2D725-F222-4E68-98F3-C203CF89CCED.jpeg
 

Atom#28

Shohin
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The top of the trunk has some really...um....interesting? natural jins and a big weird bulbous growth. There is evidence of possible borer activity there. I feel like I may need to remove a lot of this one day, or devise a way to hide it with foliage, maybe. Here:D86A56B4-88CC-4FAA-A142-6F3411D2358A.jpegF45C578B-26DE-4ED4-9B98-D3715BA68B8E.jpegC4CFCAF1-1132-4E18-A74F-6BB36C80F264.jpeg
 

Atom#28

Shohin
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So now I have at least a year to contemplate this tree and work on making it happy. I have so much love and respect for this tree. At the risk of sounding cheesy, there’s something about collecting a tree from the wild that seems to give a sense of bonding that doesn’t come from bringing home a nursery plant.

REVERENCE. Real bonsai.

but I also almost feel guilty. Like, do I deserve to have this tree? Can I do everything this tree needs to become a proper, amazing bonsai tree one day? I’m determined to, it feels like it’s my duty. I love this!

There’s a lot of ways I imagine this could go, style wise. I may end up cutting the trunk down to just above the first big branch, maybe a big pointy carved deadwood spike poking through a tight little triangle of foliage....

Maybe keep the full height of the trunk and go for a more open, feminine series of pads. I may need to thread graft a branch or two. So much to learn before I do anything at all

That crazy bulbous action at the top has me a little perplexed, but I think I could do some carving and create some taper, running up to that existing straight jin.

I’ve also imagined this as a chunky literati...if that’s even a thing.
 

Warpig

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Just wanted to say, well done. I wont offer any styling advise, I'll let you handle that. But i am looking forward to updates.
 

Atom#28

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Just wanted to say, well done. I wont offer any styling advise, I'll let you handle that. But i am looking forward to updates.
Oh trust me, there will definitely come a time when I will need lots of styling advice on this one. I’m just praying I can get through winter and have a nice season of root development next year
 

Potawatomi13

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Brave camper:eek:. One word on second tree: strongly believe Hemlock is actually true Fir;).
 

mattspiniken

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I enjoyed your post and I agree with your thoughts on collecting. I definietly have a strong connection to the trees in my garden that I have collected.

The Larch you found looks like it will be a really good one, I love Larch. I like the subtle movement and the subtle taper it has. Around here 99.999% of Larch are arrow straight. The bark quality on yours is also really good which I personally think is important in making a good Larch bonsai.

If it was mine I would lean toward growing a "chunky Literati" like you mentioned, you can always change your mind and shorten the tree later. The bulbous stuff at the top is interesting but most of it will probably go. A new top can be trained pretty quickly on Larch.
 

Hartinez

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Great job with the documentation! You won’t regret taking all these pics. I think it’s clear from your rigor that this tree will have a long lived life as a great bonsai on your benches. I’ve got a love affair with larch even though we don’t have them here in the Southwest t and believe it or not, I have yet to see one in person! 😂 they’re as mysterious to me as the jersey devil. Are they actually real?!?! In all seriousness, great find and collection and I look forward to following this trees progression!
 

Atom#28

Shohin
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Brave camper:eek:. One word on second tree: strongly believe Hemlock is actually true Fir;).
You may be right! I’ve been told that by others as well. The needles are quite short, with 2 white lines on the underside. I used this resource to identify: http://nwconifers.com/info/overview.htm

DD793B7E-DE02-46CD-B7B2-0A1CB377956E.jpeg426238AA-33FF-43CC-8AE6-620D2A3BE8F3.jpeg9FAD737B-4B6C-4A45-B085-E2858F189E17.jpeg76EBBC3D-CEF7-4DE0-8BA2-FFED100C30D8.jpegFAABB795-F712-437B-97C8-7586AE7B0BC0.jpeg
 

Atom#28

Shohin
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The bulbous stuff at the top is interesting but most of it will probably go. A new top can be trained pretty quickly on Larch.
Im happy to hear it won’t be impossible to construct a new top in time... then I see trees like this one Bjorn just showcased with all kinds of bulbousness. Bulbosity.
9C2895F5-6D98-4EB7-A317-4400C9EF750A.jpeg
 

Atom#28

Shohin
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I like it but would not make the top jin so long.
Yeah, its obnoxious, isn't it?😆😂

If I make it shorter, maybe I'll have room to air layer the top for a funky second tree
 
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