Wednesday, 7 March 2018

Post 250 Tanuki update

Its surprising how much time has passed by since starting this little ceramic tanuki side journey. 2013 is more than the few months it feels like. So some pictures today of 5 of them.

This first one is filling out quite nicely. I prefer the full foliage arrangement rather than the more confected horizontal flat fans.

This is a professionally taken shot from a local club exhibition in 2016. Despite it's declared true nature it was awarded as winner in its class size.

Here it was when setup way back in October 2013, 4 and a half years ago. You can see the post about it then, here.   And a picture from June 2014 here.

This one dates from early 2014. I posted as story about it's initial carving in December 2013.

This one was inspired in part by a famous old tree in the Pacific Bonsai Museum (below). It has a few more years to build the top but at least the base is ready to support it :) Its a little younger than the other two.
These first three have been placed in pots from the same mold - essentially the same size. I have it in mind to exhibit them as a group, at the right time.

As well as the larger models I've also made small. This one is about  100mm. At this scale you can see how it has locked well into the groove.

Finally this one dates back only to April 2016. This post shows it straight out of the kiln. I let it run for a time to build trunk mass and lock on, which it has done well. More recently it has had a prune and branch reduction, back to the essentials to go forward. Five years and it will be interesting.

Tuesday, 6 February 2018

Post 249 Clerodendrum comes back to life

In a little under two months since separating the air layer and a month since stripping off all the old branches the Clerodendrum ( started here) has sent out a number of strong shoots.

There are 8 in all but unfortunately they have mostly come from the left hand side. In anticipation I have prepared a number of hairpin scions for grafting. Once these have stabilised and put on a little growth I'll press them into action.

Tuesday, 26 December 2017

Post 248 Next stage for the air layered Clerodendrum

In my last post I covered the air-layering of this large trunked Clerodendrum hetrophyllum. This picture shows the air-layering in progress with the dam still in place around the cut site.

And then after separation and repotting. I also trimmed back the branches and foliage to reduce the dehydration load on the tree, having reduced its root capacity.

 Now just two weeks later and every branch cut is reshooting, with multiple shoots at each site.
This is typical of Cleros and it is one of the reasons why the species is such a good bonsai subject. An abundant capacity to shoot back on bare branches makes for easy bonsai development.
At separation it had a very good root supply and so in the last two weeks and has firmed up nicely in the pot. It's prime time to get on with the next stage of the rejuvenation work.

 Looking into the basic structure of the tree there is a straight section of the upper trunk which visually conflicts with the rest of the attractive taper and movement.

The branch structure is also pretty poor. Not nearly enough branches is the common failure of many bonsai. That trunk really deserves better and so I'm going to have to start again from scratch. When the tree was collected there were branches cut off leaving a number of flat faced scars and deadwood. The existing branches developed from the callus tissue that formed around these old cuts.

In repeating that process of branch renewal it is likely that new branches will again come from callus around new cuts and I may not get enough branches again. If that happens then I'll use grafting to get the right number and location of branches. I have lots of cuttings struck in small pots ready to go for just that purpose and over the next couple of weeks will get them ready for hairpin grafting.

 Here you can see the section of trunk that has to go. The branch to the left of the intended cut will provide an opportune apex.

 Branches coming off.

 And more.

 Removing that trunk section down to the left hand branch stub.

 Final view from the front.

 From the right.

 From the back.

 And from the left hand side. There are lots of cuts on the trunk. Some are from the removal of recent branches and some from the scars from the original removal. I've carved out concave cavities in all of them and then sealed (not shown here) them all with cut putty to seal them up and assist recovery. With peak summer temperatures and plenty of water I'm expecting it to produce new shoots within a few of weeks.