Mountain Hemlock material

Zaelthus

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About a month ago I purchased this Mountain Hemlock at an auction. It was collected on the cliffs of Vancouver Island over 15 years ago (where it sat for a few hundred years before that) and was basically in the ground growing wild since then. Given the age, expense, and quality of the material (not to mention the challenge) I will let this sit in the box until next fall hopefully by then i will have a better idea of which direction to take this. The tree has a unique bend in it that will most likely be the focal point of the final design. I'm thinking the entire branch on the right needs to go.

Just want to share and see if anyone has some bright ideas.
 

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Goon Salo

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hard to see with all the overgrown foliage. but from what i see i probably would remove all branches before that big bend to bring out the trunk then go from there...someone else in the know chime in :)
 

Vance Wood

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I can't really see enough to comment. It is certainly growing strongly :)

My thoughts as well, it's difficult to get a good idea without seeing the branching as it relates to the trunk, and it's difficult to get a photo showing just that.
 

Zaelthus

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Aye that's what I'm finding to be challenging as well, even in real life its hard to get a vision for the tree with all those branches flying around. Maybe I'll take some more pics and try photo-shopping it a bit. Either that or wait until I'm ready to do an initial styling (next year).
 

Smoke

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Your only about 400 miles from two of the best bonsai artists in the USA right now. Michael Hagedorn and Ryan Neil both live in Portland and work on lots of hemlock. Both are fresh from Apprenticships in Japan with Masahiko Kimura and Shinji Suzuki. Peter Warren also pops in regularly in Portland and he works with hemlock as well.

I have no idea where Scott Elsor lives but I would look into finding him as well.
 

Ang3lfir3

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Your only about 400 miles from two of the best bonsai artists in the USA right now. Michael Hagedorn and Ryan Neil both live in Portland and work on lots of hemlock. Both are fresh from Apprenticships in Japan with Masahiko Kimura and Shinji Suzuki. Peter Warren also pops in regularly in Portland and he works with hemlock as well.

I have no idea where Scott Elsor lives but I would look into finding him as well.

you could also drive a few less hours and spend an afternoon in Daniel Robinson's garden (Elandan Gardens) .... He has been collecting and working on Mountain Hemlock for over 50yrs (that's not a typo) ... There is actually a good chance that Daniel was the one who collected this particular tree...
 
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Ang3lfir3

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Now as to the tree.... In the 3rd photo I can see that there is a lot more going on there than is needed... if that long arm on the right and the very outer side is easily removable you should... just leave enough room for a decent jin.. Mt. Hemlock is EXTREMELY flexible so you can move lots of that other arm up and out of the way of the trunk etc...

We work on a lot of Mt. Hemlock at Elandan Gardens... if you have better images from a similar angle as the third image it would be easier to see what is going on under there.
 

grouper52

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It will likely come as no surprise to folks here that I agree with Ang3lfir3 about considering Dan Robinson as a primary resource in working on such trees. I'm not sure what customs rigamarole you would have to put up with getting the tree down to Elandan and back, but another option would be to wait until next year when he goes up the VI collecting, and take it to him then.

Alternatively, Peter Wilson in Campbell River, Dan's collecting buddy, is also a notable artist with extensive Mountain hemlock experience, and you might arrange to take the tree over to him for advice and help when you get a chance.

Hope that helps.
 

Ang3lfir3

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Gotta agree with grouper here (i just realized you were in BC) ref take it to one of the many clubs around the area. There are many great artists (like Pete Wilson) that know all the tricks of creating amazing Mt hemlock.... Have fun .... And post lots of pics :)
 
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Is there a particular reason it is in a grow bed vs a pot? Much easier to work on planning a tree's future when its in a pot you can tilt around etc... :)
 

Zaelthus

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Is there a particular reason it is in a grow bed vs a pot? Much easier to work on planning a tree's future when its in a pot you can tilt around etc... :)

Victrinia, the grow bed is temporary. It wasn't a planned purchase so I needed to put it into something quickly! I'm going to be building a raised one piece hypertufa pot/stand that will sit in the middle of the garden. That will take time though so I was thinking of doing initial branch work and pruning in the grow bed.

Did you purchase that at the Japan Bonsai auction?

Yup
 

Zaelthus

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It will likely come as no surprise to folks here that I agree with Ang3lfir3 about considering Dan Robinson as a primary resource in working on such trees. I'm not sure what customs rigamarole you would have to put up with getting the tree down to Elandan and back, but another option would be to wait until next year when he goes up the VI collecting, and take it to him then.

I'll go down to Elandan for a visit, but I'd leave the tree home. Odds are customs on one side of the border would give me grief. My big challenge is that all the local club meetings are on Thursdays or Wednesdays and since i travel for work my only source of information is online or books. Maybe I will take it down to Japan Bonsai in Whiterock next year and ask Tak Yamaura for some help, he has a few Hemlocks as well.

Now as to the tree.... In the 3rd photo I can see that there is a lot more going on there than is needed... if that long arm on the right and the very outer side is easily removable you should... just leave enough room for a decent jin.. Mt. Hemlock is EXTREMELY flexible so you can move lots of that other arm up and out of the way of the trunk etc...

We work on a lot of Mt. Hemlock at Elandan Gardens... if you have better images from a similar angle as the third image it would be easier to see what is going on under there.

I'll take some more pics, my thoughts are similar to yours on the branch on the right. I'd like to airlayer it but that would probably take forever. If you were me would you remove it this winter or wait until next year given that it was transplanted about a month ago.

PS it was collected by a fellow from Campbell River named Anton Nijhuis.
 

tmmason10

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Looks like a great, healthy piece of material. Agreed with you and others that it is a bit hard to sort through all the foliage, but as you said you have plenty of time to examine before next fall. I don't know if MH typically have a lot of jin but I think that most of the gnarly branches should be deadwood. The third picture certainly looks the best from here.
 

Ang3lfir3

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I would remove it whenever you feel the desire to remove it... as long as the tree is healthy which i presume it is ...make sure you leave a few inches of it to allow for dieback etc... and so that you can carve a nice looking jin...

Tak is a great teacher and a truly wonderful person.... you can NOT go wrong getting his assistance.

Anton was my second guess as to the collector...
 

grouper52

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Anton was my second guess as to the collector...

Mine, too.

As to getting styling advice off the net or from books, this sort of extremely three dimensional, complex material really warrants an in-person, hands-on approach. I don't know Tak, but have heard good things about him, and that may be your best bet.

Good luck, and let us see how that bad boy progresses over time.
 

Zaelthus

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The tree has done really well after the transplant and winter trimming, it has responded with a ton of new growth. For you Hemlock experts out there I have three questions:

1. Should I trim new growth this summer?
2. I want to remove a couple of large branches, can I do this now?
3. I want to put it in a training pot, when is the best time and should I do this at the same time as question #2?

Thanks!
 

Zaelthus

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Quick update, I decided to remove a couple of branches today and open the tree up a bit. Taking things slow here because I absolutely cannot afford to lose this one. I will do some winter needle work tomorrow and then leave it alone until next fall/winter.

As a next step I'm debating whether to wire it while it still the ground or to start reducing roots first and put into a smaller grow box.

cheers.

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tmmason10

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Looks happy! Good idea to take it slow and cautiously. Thanks for the update.
 

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