Checking up on a Beech Forest

Created this last year and haven’t touched it until now as it needed a long recovery period.  Some of the thinner/sparser trunks at the back are still weak and unfortunately I have lost one trunk in the middle.

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Before work.

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Evidence of neglect

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Side view

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After pruning the tallest trunks and shortening their height.  Weeds cleared.  Dead trunk cut down.

I’m relying on a lot of backbudding on the thinner trunks at the back and in future I need to wire or reposition a lot of the individual trees.  The past year has been about letting them establish.  It’s no coincidence that the two healthiest trees are the ones I grew in my garden whereas all the others were bought last year as a hedging bundle from the garden centre.

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Moved to a new position in full sun on the bench.  It’s crowded, I may need to build another one!

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Creating a Forest Bonsai Part III

Finally! This was the project as assembled at the end of the last blog post.  The last step was to complete some pruning and adjust some crossing trunk lines.

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Before

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inverse taper and an unattractive kink in the main trunk to be removed

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Various wires used to loosely secure trunks

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From the side

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From the opposite side

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After.  A new beginning.

Some things to improve in the short term future:

  1. Shift the planting to the left at the next repot so that more negative space is to the viewers’ right.
  2. Encourage back budding on the thinner trunks so that they can be reduced in height.
  3. Perhaps add an extra minor trunk at each end in future.
  4. Encourage thickening of the two major trunks.

Any other suggestions would be welcome.

Forest Chump (Creating a Beech Group Part 2)

An apt title given that I thought it would be a good idea to start putting the forest together at 8:30 last night.  Chump indeed!  Anyway, I was raring to go and one of the saplings was breaking out in leaf so I went ahead, naively thinking that it wouldn’t take that long.  Here’s a photo timeline of the composition so far…

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8:30 – 9:00pm Looked for this wire rack that I knew was somewhere in the garage.

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9:00 – 9:30pm secured rack to the tray and filled a base layer of soil.

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9:30 – 10:00pm sketched the tree positions on paper to give an idea of how to proceed.

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10:30pm First three trees in rough positions and secured.

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More added. A slight windswept look beginning to emerge.

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11:30pm Only a few left to add.  The original plan abandoned long ago…

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Post midnight. The forest assembled.  Soil was added outside in floodlit conditions.  Well watered in.

I don’t mind admitting that it was a demanding project but I enjoyed it.  The biggest headache was doing it in the kitchen (garage is full of baby related items…)  I underestimated how long it would take me to secure each tree in the right position and how much concentration was needed to ensure spacing was appropriate, perspective developed and all the other ‘rules’ suggested for creating a bonsai forest.  The project is a bit rough and ready at the minute but will hopefully look better when I get a chance tomorrow to prune tree heights and some long branches.  Have to keep reminding myself   that this is only the start of a project which will take years to mature, develop and improve. Part 3 later in the week.

Creating Beech Group Part 1

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You may be wondering why I’m posting the above picture of my son but if you look closely you may notice tell tale signs of bonsai related activity…

Work out what it is yet?

Yes, you’re right, he was sieving pink cat litter on a windy day and unfortunately for him, he was standing downwind. Darned dust!! I had to open a new bag for more repotting work and he was keen to help out.  Some great memories formed today as Jonah and I set about creating a European Beech forest. Unfortunately we didn’t finish the project but will do asap.

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Garden centre saplings

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Plus bulked up garden material

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Tray prepped

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Garden material dug up and Jonah removed the old leaves.

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All material washed and graded according to trunk girth.

We ran out of daylight hours so I wrapped them in wet newspaper and placed them in a bag in my garage (More late frost expected tonight!). Twelve saplings to choose from, I know an odd number is traditionally used so I may drop the least suitable.  We’ll see once I start placing them together tomorrow.  I’m off to read what Peter Adams has to say about it.  Part 2 coming soon…