Wizard of Oz Trident maple.

Smoke

Ignore-Amus
Messages
11,563
Reaction score
19,745
Location
Fresno, CA
USDA Zone
9
I get to the swapmeet about 8AM to start setting up. Ed Clark from Lindsey CA., about 60 miles south of Fresno is right ahead of me in the street. He is pulling plants out and stacking the pots on a cart.

Last year he brought about 50 field grown tridents that sold out in two hours mostly due to price. The material was good, but the price was real good. This year I was hoping to buy about 20 or so of them for workshops in the future. He had none.

I asked it he had any tridents, he had only two. The one he was just taking out of the truck. About a two inch trunk and pretty unusual looking, still not what I was looking for in a maple.

The other one I watch for as tree after tree comes out and is loaded on the cart. What was in there, how would it look, was this the Holy Grail of bonsai? More tree out of the trunk and still no glimpse of the charge. Then I catch a glimpse. I see the white wood of the bleached trunk from the harsh central valley heat, the size of the trunk from field growth under his supervision. I need this tree....I want this tree.

It finally comes to the back of the tailgate. I stare at it, take in its unusual charecteristics, he explains about the "knob" and begins to apoligise for it. I tell him don't worry it's not that bad. Yea right...this knob "is" the tree.

I look down and it has a plastic price marker in it. I began to wonder, is this for real. Am I seeing things.
 

Attachments

  • DSC_00700007.JPG
    DSC_00700007.JPG
    48.1 KB · Views: 604
Last edited:

Smoke

Ignore-Amus
Messages
11,563
Reaction score
19,745
Location
Fresno, CA
USDA Zone
9
I stare at the tree. This is what I have been looking for. As I started to comprise my love affair for the trident maple, my views on how they should look has changed. At first very early on, I loved the typical pine tree look of a very technically styled maple. There is something very masculine and yet very sexy about the power of a tree tapering from 3 inches to nothing in 10 inches of height.

As I started down the road to building these very powerful trees in a shohin size it became apparent to me that maples do not grow this way. My trees were very styilized and while looking very much like a bonsai, they did not look very much like a tree.

My views began to change. I would give the monologue at out club exhibit each year, while the guest expert were giving the demonstration. One year while giving my narration about wire and what it does, and watering so it doesn't die a question was asked. This person in the audiance wanted to know how we come up with a design in which to evoke a tree? This was a pretty damn good question. One I was not really able to think about on the fly. As I stood there with microphone in hand it struck me. DISNEY. I began to relate to the audiance how a cartoonist is able to capture the entire feel of a cartoon with the shape of a tree.

The artist here while not manipulating branches with wire or needing to water daily is still left with how to best design the tree to fit the mood of the cartoon. Everyone remembers the Wizard of OZ from their childhood. Who does not remember those damn scary trees throwing apples at Dorothy and her new friends. So the short answer is, it comes from the memory. maybe a tree as a child you climbed, your first tree house, a rope swing to jump into a cool lake, maybe a tree on the way home from school that you could fantisize about of someone being hanged there a hundred years ago.

These are the memories that each of us as an artist may think about when either looking for a tree or styling a tree. For me this was a day I would come to remember. This was that tree for me. This was a tree from the Wizard of Oz and I couldn't wait to work on it.

I handed Ed $60.00 dollars. He said " just a minute I will have to look for change". I told him keep the money, I am embarresed that I am only offering you 60 for the tree, but keep the rest as I appreciate the chance to work on this tree. He congratulated me for another second at the Kazari and asked if this could be a tree I might enter in the future. I told him he could count on that, and He smiled.

Still many years before that, but this tree has the potential for some really great things. I can hardly wait for spring now, and we havn't even begun winter yet.
 

Attachments

  • DSC_00640001.jpg
    DSC_00640001.jpg
    137.4 KB · Views: 532
  • DSC_00650002.jpg
    DSC_00650002.jpg
    136.2 KB · Views: 478
  • DSC_00660003.jpg
    DSC_00660003.jpg
    119.8 KB · Views: 443
  • DSC_00670004.jpg
    DSC_00670004.jpg
    138.1 KB · Views: 479

Smoke

Ignore-Amus
Messages
11,563
Reaction score
19,745
Location
Fresno, CA
USDA Zone
9
Last couple...

I hope my story has related a little excitement into what I went thru yesterday morning. This tree never saw a sale table. Those that saw it asked where it was. I told them it was on Ed's truck, early bird get the tree...snooze you loose.
 

Attachments

  • DSC_00680005.jpg
    DSC_00680005.jpg
    136.6 KB · Views: 286
  • DSC_00690006.jpg
    DSC_00690006.jpg
    125.1 KB · Views: 300

Ang3lfir3

Omono
Messages
1,287
Reaction score
17
Location
Bremerton, WA
USDA Zone
8b
You sir are one lucky SOB :) :) :)

The details you cover on how we design trees fits well with the philosophies we focus on at Elandan.... what Daniel calls "a reservoir of images" which can only come from seeing amazing trees in nature.... I seen natural aspen with branches that were thick and bumpy and spiraling in cork screws.... etc... it is from this reservoir that we must reach for designs.... each person's is different and the more trees in nature we see the more designs we begin to realize are truly natural....
 
Last edited:

Smoke

Ignore-Amus
Messages
11,563
Reaction score
19,745
Location
Fresno, CA
USDA Zone
9
You sir are one lucky SOB :) :) :)

The details you cover on how we design trees fits well with the philosophies we focus on at Elandan.... what Daniel calls "a reservoir of images" which can only come from seeing amazing trees in nature.... I seen natural aspen with branches that were thick and bumpy and spiraling in cork screws.... etc... it is from this reservoir that we must reach for designs.... each person's is different and the more trees in nature we see the more designs we begin to realize are truly natural....

I too have a camera with me whenever I travel. I shoot pictures by the hundreds and have thousands on disks. My reservoir of images is vast and I can look back thru for inspirations whenever needed.

You speak of those cork screw branches.....I took these shots last year but never posted them. I constantly look for tops of tree and try to figure out why a top may be dead or live, and how long it may take to achieve either. How far will the live portion on a new top be from the dead part?
 

Attachments

  • DSC_00450005.JPG
    DSC_00450005.JPG
    154.1 KB · Views: 258
  • DSC_00590019.JPG
    DSC_00590019.JPG
    138.1 KB · Views: 263
  • DSC_00600020.JPG
    DSC_00600020.JPG
    141.1 KB · Views: 281
  • DSC_00620022.JPG
    DSC_00620022.JPG
    155 KB · Views: 270

Smoke

Ignore-Amus
Messages
11,563
Reaction score
19,745
Location
Fresno, CA
USDA Zone
9
Now, a person can't look at that tree and begin to wonder what happened. It is easy to see that a lightning strike has shattered the tree while it was young. The tissues in that area blown apart by Mother Nature began growing in grotesque shapes in an effort to stay alive. These are the images I see while I travel around.

This is why I had to have that tree. While not exactly perfect in any way, it evokes a tree shape while having charecter flaws that can be accentuated and made to reflect a tree with a true personality of it's own. This is the essence of bonsai.


By the way, let this tree be a lessson to the "I don't want to work on what someone else has started crowd". While I respect your opinion, you will miss a great opportunity to have a tree that will never be available for you to work on in your lifetime. While I may never take this tree to it fullest capability, I plan to donate all my trees to collections for posterity. I hope for many decades I will continue to work and then someone will continue the work of all my trees so that others may enjoy what I and many others have started.

I have absolutely no reservations in telling somone that Mr. Ed Clark from Lindsey Ca. started this tree possibly 25 years ago. I have and will be working on the tree for decades to come. Who knows who will add his or her name to the list of accomplished artists in the pedigree of this tree. I know one thing, it will have been my pleasure to have added my name to a list of technicians that have worked on any tree for the express pleasure of viewing by the public.

Thinking otherwise would be akin to Michaelangelo not carving David with the thought, "I will not carve, I did not make the stone".

Out there indeed, but I think the message is sound.......
 
Last edited:

Ang3lfir3

Omono
Messages
1,287
Reaction score
17
Location
Bremerton, WA
USDA Zone
8b
absolutely agree!!!

what a wonderful example of the fabulous craziness that is mother nature's wonderful work!!! I love these crazy trees and you mentioned another important aspect that many people forget to notice.... the tops of trees.... there is so much to learn and think about with the tops of trees and they are indeed the secret to creating wonderfully ancient images in bonsai.... again this is part of the essence of bonsai....

I am totally 100,000% with you on the feeling of being lucky enough to take part in the creation of a beautiful tree.... I take pride in telling people the lineage of the trees in my garden... who started them and the number of people who have worked on them.... I try hard to gather this information as it is part of the history of the tree and part of the beauty of bonsai.... I have trees in my garden started by Bert Bruenner then worked on by Daniel Robinson and now passed down to me ... I believe (as you do) that adding ones name to the hopefully long list of artists and technicians that will have worked on a tree is part of the value and beauty of the tree...

I will enjoy watching this tree become the wonderful work of art it is meant to be.... and I look forward to watching it evolve over the decades .... if I am ever so lucky as to add my name to this trees list.... it will be an honour...
 

Randy

Yamadori
Messages
65
Reaction score
2
Location
Nuevo, CA
USDA Zone
9A
Epsprit de corps , sort of. Great post, fun tree, awesome thread. People lose sight of the magic of life and nature so easily. Thank you for sharing.
 

Smoke

Ignore-Amus
Messages
11,563
Reaction score
19,745
Location
Fresno, CA
USDA Zone
9
Tonight, I just sit and contemplate the tree. I look over its branches and make decisions on where I will cut. Many branches are thick, yet I understand that most of the real power of the tree will be in preserving the major outline of the tree. While it will be cut back, it will require small improving cuts to be made to build a canopy with large branch masses holding heavily ramified clouds of foliage.

I think about the soil in the pot. Field soil and fairly heavy. Is there a gold mine below? Will I have a huge nebari waiting to be exposed? I can only hope. Early chopstick poking reveals a few larger roots, while this is positive, real large roots will require a few years to manage for bonsai pot culture.

I am struck by this feeling that my largest obstacle will be finding the perfect pot for such a tree. Will I enlist a metal sculpter to build a pot of metal rivited together such as the tinman?

How about a large shallow pot of soft emereld green with a small yellow brick road winding into the distance. What a feeling to sit back on a lazy Sunday night and dream of what tomorrow might bring.

Patience Keppler....don't cut anything till spring!
 

LordEOfBeckley

Yamadori
Messages
58
Reaction score
2
Location
Boynton Beach, FL
USDA Zone
10b
Great story! I look forward to attending some conventions or shows, hopefully BSF in FL next year.

Smoke, I'm always excited when I see one that you've started a new thread or updated one of your previous ones, they're always full of great info and inspiration. Thanks.
 

tmmason10

Omono
Messages
1,836
Reaction score
78
Location
North Attleboro, MA
USDA Zone
6b
Great start to another great thread Al. Can't wait for next spring either for your posts and my plans, going to be a long winter.
 
Messages
136
Reaction score
9
Location
IL
USDA Zone
6
I agree its going to be a long winter.I just came from the garage and looked over my trees and thinking of all the repots and wiring i want to do.
 

Smoke

Ignore-Amus
Messages
11,563
Reaction score
19,745
Location
Fresno, CA
USDA Zone
9
I started by pruning back many of the superfluous branches. Many were just trimmed back to first set of buds and some were pruned back into pencil thick branches. One branch was cut back about 9 inches to start over with the branch and get it going a different direction.

Once this was complete I could take it out of the plastic can.

Once I got it out of the can I could tell the tree had not been repotted for many years. The root ball was a brick. the only way to take care of that is with my trusty "Japanese Mafia pinky finger removal tool". This bad boy weighs in at 3 pounds and can cut thru the most beligerant of root balls.

Just don't hit your fingers or hands with it cause it's razor sharp and could give you a nasty scratch!
 

Attachments

  • DSC_00010001.JPG
    DSC_00010001.JPG
    114 KB · Views: 222
  • DSC_00020002.JPG
    DSC_00020002.JPG
    112.2 KB · Views: 233
  • DSC_00030003.JPG
    DSC_00030003.JPG
    95.1 KB · Views: 221
  • DSC_00040004.JPG
    DSC_00040004.JPG
    73.6 KB · Views: 213
  • DSC_00050005.JPG
    DSC_00050005.JPG
    113.3 KB · Views: 231
Last edited:

Smoke

Ignore-Amus
Messages
11,563
Reaction score
19,745
Location
Fresno, CA
USDA Zone
9
When I got the thing severed in half I found out that the entire inside part of the root ball was solid mud. I mean glossy, water impeading, stinky pond scum muddd. You could probably make a pot out of this stuff.

What I did have was a lot of fiberous roots at the surface. This meant that the roots were just around the surface of the container probably suffocateing for air. They had encircled it from what looked like based on the size and growth of the roots about 12 years.
 

Attachments

  • DSC_00070007.JPG
    DSC_00070007.JPG
    163.3 KB · Views: 178
  • DSC_00080008.JPG
    DSC_00080008.JPG
    129.1 KB · Views: 183
  • DSC_00090009.JPG
    DSC_00090009.JPG
    137.7 KB · Views: 181
  • DSC_00100010.JPG
    DSC_00100010.JPG
    122.8 KB · Views: 189
  • DSC_00110011.JPG
    DSC_00110011.JPG
    118.3 KB · Views: 175

Smoke

Ignore-Amus
Messages
11,563
Reaction score
19,745
Location
Fresno, CA
USDA Zone
9
Once I had the thing in two and found out I had a tree full of mud I had to start washing it. The first washing exposed about 1 inch of downward growing root tips to prune back.
 

Attachments

  • DSC_00120012.JPG
    DSC_00120012.JPG
    134 KB · Views: 161
  • DSC_00130013.JPG
    DSC_00130013.JPG
    106.6 KB · Views: 161
  • DSC_00140014.JPG
    DSC_00140014.JPG
    89.4 KB · Views: 160
  • DSC_00150015.JPG
    DSC_00150015.JPG
    114.6 KB · Views: 166

Smoke

Ignore-Amus
Messages
11,563
Reaction score
19,745
Location
Fresno, CA
USDA Zone
9
Big roots like this one over a 1/2 inch thick are cut back after being exposed. After I examine the root for feeder roots, I find that it is just for anchorage and decide to cut it back short. i take it back with a knob cutter clear back to the base of the exposed roots on top. a slanting cut exposing more surface area to the bottom will ensure I get plenty of feeder roots to grow around the edge of the cut. Clean these cuts up with a sharp knife and they will start to grow roots in about 20 days.
 

Attachments

  • DSC_00160016.JPG
    DSC_00160016.JPG
    122.5 KB · Views: 164
  • DSC_00170017.JPG
    DSC_00170017.JPG
    115.9 KB · Views: 165
  • DSC_00180018.JPG
    DSC_00180018.JPG
    125.4 KB · Views: 164

Smoke

Ignore-Amus
Messages
11,563
Reaction score
19,745
Location
Fresno, CA
USDA Zone
9
I have to deal with the bottom of the trunk now and this is a lot of large wood that can only be nibbled away with the knob cutter. when I was working on the shohin size trees a couple years ago, I could take the trees to my band saw and just cut the bottom off flat. here I have to do it the hard way.

Once I had that done I could go around the root pad and cut away about two inches of the out side ring of larger roots.

Cool pile of melon balls out of the knob cutters.
 

Attachments

  • DSC_00190019.JPG
    DSC_00190019.JPG
    135.1 KB · Views: 169
  • DSC_00200020.JPG
    DSC_00200020.JPG
    135 KB · Views: 166
  • DSC_00210021.JPG
    DSC_00210021.JPG
    117.7 KB · Views: 165
  • DSC_00220022.JPG
    DSC_00220022.JPG
    140.2 KB · Views: 174
  • DSC_00230023.JPG
    DSC_00230023.JPG
    166 KB · Views: 170

Smoke

Ignore-Amus
Messages
11,563
Reaction score
19,745
Location
Fresno, CA
USDA Zone
9
More washing of the root ball. I had to do this about three times total to get all the mud off the roots. each time I nibbled more away at the base of the trunk. On the last time I washed the water broke thru the ball and began blasting the mud out the top. I could really wash it all the way out then.

I was able to take the pull saw and reall clean the bottom of the trunk off flat. This allowed it to sit into a pretty shallow container and only need a 1.5 inch thick pot to contain it. Yippi!

After sawing off the trunk I was able to clean out the last remaining small roots and small rocks. I do this with my 4000 year old Native American spear point. This is just a good luck thing with me. Do not feel the need to go find a spear point to work on your trees...or maybe yes!
 

Attachments

  • DSC_00270027.JPG
    DSC_00270027.JPG
    144.3 KB · Views: 200
  • DSC_00280028.JPG
    DSC_00280028.JPG
    122.6 KB · Views: 201
  • DSC_00300030.JPG
    DSC_00300030.JPG
    115.4 KB · Views: 215

Similar threads

Top