Colorado Blue Spruce

John Hill

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I really like it Vance. Makes me want to pull an old spruce I have out and work on it.

A Friend in bonsai
John
 

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I always think of spruces as very hard design material. This is a nice-looking tree!

I hate to even comment on such a nice tree, however I will do so anyway just to test an idea and see if people agree with me. To me, I think the tree looks a little too symmetrical. I was thinking of how it might look if a little asymmetry was added to the design to create a little more energy. I did two virtuals to test two ways you might do this. In the first, I extended the canopy line to the left (by adding length to the bottom two branches). In the second, I reduced the canopy on the right (by reducing several of the right branches).

I will be curious to hear what people think of the options. Even after creating them, I'm still not 100% certain which one I prefer. Sometimes you think of a design, test it out, and end up liking the original better.

ORIGINAL


OPTION1


OPTION2
 

Graydon

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Vance - I'm trying to get a sense of scale here. Couldn't tell if those are 2x4 or 2x6 on the bench so I can't guess. If it's up to 24" I like it. If it's 36" I love it. If it a lot shorter than that I still love it.

BonsaiNut - I don't like either option you presented. Both seem to make it seem a little left heavy to my eyes. I would need to stare at this for a while to form an opinion on any thing I would change if at all.
 

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BonsaiNut - I don't like either option you presented. Both seem to make it seem a little left heavy to my eyes.
One thing is for sure. If you were to go in the direction I am suggesting, you wouldn't center plant it in a round pot. Let me try a few more photos to illustrate what my eye is wrestling with. First, another virtual.

STRAIGHT TRUNK BALANCED BRANCHES - which is why spruce is often used for Christmas trees.



BENT TRUNK UNBALANCED BRANCHES - in rare occasions when a spruce leans, it will grow toward the sun and the trunk will bend in the direction of the most light. Branches on the inside of the curve (i.e. facing the light) will be shorter than branches on the outside of the curve (away from the light and more shaded).



Maybe I can't convince you, but I am having fun with all these spruce virtuals :)
 

Tachigi

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Love the tree Vance, It's image takes me back to the days of my visits to the boundary waters area where they were plentiful. Just wish the pot was a little more visible
 

John Hill

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Bonsainut,
If you could rezize your pics so I can see the whole tree on my screen would help a lot. Maybe its my computer who knows?

I think I can see where your going with this tree but I like it the way it is. the branches were,,, probably longer and Vance trimmed them back a bit. I believe that the trunk will get thicker at the top if it is not kept pruned. If you were to let those branches extend would it not have more energy in that branch causing the trunk to thicken?, Ending up with no taper at all in the future?
Just a thought.

A Friend in bonsai
John
 

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I think I can see where your going with this tree but I like it the way it is. the branches were,,, probably longer and Vance trimmed them back a bit. I believe that the trunk will get thicker at the top if it is not kept pruned. If you were to let those branches extend would it not have more energy in that branch causing the trunk to thicken?, Ending up with no taper at all in the future?
One of the problems I had with the longer branches on the first option was it made the tree look too young. Perhaps if this were a different bonsai that was larger - say 36" - and the foilage would be smaller relative to the trunk.

I agree with your points about the taper. It is part of the challenge of bonsai - balancing the "perfect" design with the reality of the living tree. It is why bonsai are always changing; they hit a point where they are "perfect" for the given design, and then they pass that point and you need to restyle, etc.

I'm not sure anything I did improved on the original. It's kind of like music - variations on a theme. Variations on Mozart doesn't make the original Mozart less awesome :)
 
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I am curious to hear your estimates on the size of this tree. I have personally seen this bonsai and I find it fascinating to hear the assumptions made as to its size.

I think a straight trunk does a grave injustice to this spruce.

Will Heath
 

Graydon

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I am curious to hear your estimates on the size of this tree. I have personally seen this bonsai and I find it fascinating to hear the assumptions made as to its size.

I think a straight trunk does a grave injustice to this spruce.

Will Heath
You have to take in to consideration that we don't have these where I am so an idea of scale based on needles means nothing. It's been 8 years sense I saw a spruce in the wild.

I agree on the trunk - love the curve.
 

John Hill

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I am curious to hear your estimates on the size of this tree. I have personally seen this bonsai and I find it fascinating to hear the assumptions made as to its size.

I think a straight trunk does a grave injustice to this spruce.

Will Heath
Hi Will,
My guess would be somewhere between 2.5' to 3'.

A Friend in bonsai
John
 

Vance Wood

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The tree is about 36" tall and the trunk is more than 3" at the base but this is such a poor photo that it is difficult to view the detail of the base. Straightening out the trunk would be a major problem if it were possible at all, assuming I wanted to do that---which I don't. This tree is a long way from a real good first class bonsai but considering the material it's not too butt-ugly. As far as I know I am about the only bonsai grower, around here anyway, that will even thouch this species.

Thank you all for your comments.
 

JasonG

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Hi Vance,

A few years ago when I first got into bonsai on the web this spruce of yours was one of the 1st trees that I saved the image to my computer. It still sits in my bonsai file where every now and then I go through looking at good trees..... so you could say that I have always liked this spruce of yours!

It is nice to finally know a little history behind it. Thanks for sharing!

Jason
 

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I think a straight trunk does a grave injustice to this spruce.
I don't think I did a good job communicating. I wasn't saying that the tree would look better with a straight trunk. I was saying the branches would look better with a straight trunk. (Or at least that was my argument). I think this tree (with the curved trunk that is the defining aspect of the tree) might look better with asymmetrical branches. Prove me wrong :)

I am trying to generate conversation around these trees rather than just have people say "hey nice tree" :) I would rather have people posting lots of virtuals so we can discuss pros and cons because that is how we will all learn. If my ideas stink, that's fine - I just want someone to point out why they stink, and what they would do differently to improve upon them.

Maybe I'll just post a few purposefully bad ideas to see if I can motivate people to critical response :)
 

Vance Wood

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The big problem I have with this tree is that I can't seem to find a pot I really like for it. The one it is in right now is a Sara Raynor Pot but the tree doesn't work in it the way I had hopped it would.

As to the branches, I want to bring them down even more than they are now. The problem with Spruce in general and Blue Spruce in particular is that you can wire them up so they receive signals from Voyager but they still pop back. It is a seemingly never ending process.
 
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I am trying to generate conversation around these trees rather than just have people say "hey nice tree" :) I would rather have people posting lots of virtuals so we can discuss pros and cons because that is how we will all learn. If my ideas stink, that's fine - I just want someone to point out why they stink, and what they would do differently to improve upon them.
A noble goal and a worthy one at that. Your suggestion did indeed create discussion, even from me. ;)

Maybe I'll just post a few purposefully bad ideas to see if I can motivate people to critical response :)
I do that all the time, just not on purpose. :D



Will
 

Tachigi

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Vance, I'm curious about your feelings on the pot and why it doesn't work. I tried to do a virtual with a couple of pots I have in stock but the angle of the shot really didn't work with marrying the pot and tree.
 

Vance Wood

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Vance, I'm curious about your feelings on the pot and why it doesn't work. I tried to do a virtual with a couple of pots I have in stock but the angle of the shot really didn't work with marrying the pot and tree.
I love the pot, and I love the tree but together they are like two miss-matched astrological signs, one a water sign the other an earth sign together they make mud. I have this problem with a few of my trees. I am beginning to think maybe its my trees the pots are OK but the trees aren't so hot.

Seriously if I knew the answer I would not ask the question. I am beginning to think that with this tree perhaps a large slab would work, in fact I think this is the only really good solution. I know the angle of the photo is not good but it is going to be spring before I can get a better picture of it.
 
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Tachigi

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They may be mismatched astrological signs, but both tree and pot are dead on as outstanding as separate entities. Perhaps shaking things up a little might help, a break from tradition so to speak. A scoop or half moon pot might enhance the curve in the tree and giving reason for the curve at the base (not that it needs to be justified). I like this tree and before you throw it on the scrap heap because its not "hot" please drop me a line :)
 

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