Friday, December 16, 2011

Carpinus betulus 'Columnaris'

So its become pretty obvious that I don't really like to share my trees. Knowledge, tidbits, photos, yes, but my trees? Not so much. There are a couple of reasons for that, many of which sound like excuses, even to *me*. But the most important one is this:

I don't really have a lot of trees worth sharing yet. For a number of reasons that are relatively unimportant right now. Living in an area far away from anywhere I could collect, limited funds of a family where despite a love, bonsai gets ranked toward the bottom of needs, and the dying nursery business on Long Island (we've lost both of our bonsai nurseries here in the last four years or so), leave finding really good stock difficult, and leaves me instead with many pieces that are definitely 10-20 year projects. Which is good, because I'll be doing this the rest of my life! But bad for showing work on a blog.

Well, I'm going to do my best to change that. Some of the pieces I have I *can* share, and the only thing preventing me are unspoken excuses. So while they aren't anywhere near finished (though what bonsai is) I'm going to bite the bullet and start putting them up here.

Carpinus betulus 'Columnaris'. Columnar European Hornbeam. I picked this piece up at a place called Peconic River Herb farm about three years ago. I wish I had pictures from that year, but the computer they were all on is vindictive and cruel. I brought the height down by almost half. It is currently 30 inches tall. I have a lot of thinning out to do, after a season of unrestricted growth, and this tree seems prone to sending out shoots right above each other. There is a spot in particular where a very thick branch comes off of the trunk on the right hand side that I will probably remove. It contributes to the silhouette, but the branch is nearly as thick as the trunk at that point and while it looks good in leaf, that particular issue is a lot more obvious this time of year. It will leave a rather large bare spot, but a bit of a rotation will help that, and the tree is very good at sending out copious quantities of new shoots at the slightest provocation.

I know I should shorten the tree to give it a heavier look. And I know that I *should* wire down the branches. I will probably shorten it a bit, but since this is a columnar form I'm hesitant to do too much in the way of fighting mother nature on the wiring down issue.


Walter Pall said...

So why wire the branches and place them horizontally? And why remove this thick 'branch'?
Could it not want to look like a real deciduous tree? They have thick trunks that split into sub-trunks. And they have branches that move upwards and outwards then. I can see the image of an informal broom-form, the most common form of deciduous trees - but not in the bonsai book

Heather Hartman-Coste said...

I was pretty sure I wasn't going to wire the branches horizontal, and sometimes, getting a second opinion like that is all I need for that one. The thicker branch is a toss up. It's not as obvious in the photo, but it bothers me a bit when I'm looking at the tree. The jury is still out on that one. Thank you Walter!