Juniperus Procumbens #1, 2011 Joshua Roth New Talent Competition Tree

Here is my tree I worked on in the new talent competition at Louisville in 2011. This show was my first big show I attended. It was also my first competition and in which I have learned a lot more than what I have the 8 years preceeding it. It was the pressure that made the true colors show, whether that was a bad thing or good thing. In the long run for me, I think that was very good for me. I am very thankful for my experience in the competition. 
Here is the best before photo I could find at this time.

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The next photo will be that of the “completed” tree that would be up for judging. I know, right. Its an embarrassment , eh? Lol

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Here is the picture of what it looked like most of the 2012 season. Development was stagnant in 2012 due to mostly me focusing on other trees and building my garden almost all summer long. Maybe it was a good thing I did leave it be for the most part?

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Here is where it stands today. Over the winter of 2012/2013, I took a good look at it and decided to eliminate the lower foliage pad and branch to help bring the focus back up to the deadwood and jin features near its base. Also to simplify the overall foliage layout. I repotted it into this Iker pot late winter 2013. I fiddled with it here and there over the course of the year 2013, and mid August, had the opportunity to meet with Michael Feduccia and took this tree to discuss with him over. For those that don’t know, he is super talented and is the winner of the 2012 competition in Denver. His tree is miles ahead of mines foliage wise and I pursued his advice on how to bring my trees foliage to his levels. First and foremost, most of the discussion was based on letting it grow out to allowing it to backbud while allowing light to reach the inner branches to facilitate the back budding process. He also made a few suggessions with the branch placement and pad development in which I will follow to the best of my ability. I think its coming along nicely but next year(don’t we bonsai people always say that??) We will see how it progresses as it is allowed to grow out a bit.

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Update of early July 2015 shortly after thinning and wiring.

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Barberry

I collected this Barberry bush from a landscape restoration job I did in Fall 2011. This specimen was not ideal material starting off since it had absolute ugly inverse taper at the top. Well that loser called “Inverse Taper” is no longer with us……let’s just say I took a root cutter and a dremel to it. After I did that, it triggered perhaps hundreds of suckers and new buds all over the remaining trunk. 5 of those are now a part of the design of this nicely 3-D specimen. I really like this shohin in yet again another Iker pot I have had. Here’s one thing I learned about this species. You can mess with their roots to your hearts content and it still continues along like its “nothing but a darn thing”. I have done so 3 times out of season including digging it up fairly shallow in early fall when I found it. Maybe my use of willow water is a big part of it.

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June 3rd, 2014 update.

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June 20th 2015 update

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Eastern RedCedar #1

Here is an Eastern Red Juniper (juniperus virginiana) I have had since spring 2011. I collected this along a dolomite cliff while sitting in my kayak…named SS Steve Irwin. One of many I nailed from that little boat. The first three photos are from last falls workshop action….before/after. So far, I really like how this tree is performing as bonsai. I think it is filling in nicely….not perfect but its getting there.

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Here is the Father’s day 2013 photo update of the Juniper. I hope you like how this tree is coming along.

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Here is the fall update.

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Here is my fall 2014 update! Wonderful progress on a NATIVE Eastern RedCedar. The foliage is starting to turn to mature as well.

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Juniperus Procumbens#2

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I have acquired this tree from my good friend, Valerie.
It was an overgrown bush ready for some action. So when I brought it home, I got started on it. First thing i did was I cleaned up the dead foliage, and branches. There were plenty of that to go around and after that was mostly done, I stepped back and examined the overall shape now that I could see it much easier.

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I began to wire the trunk and some branches.

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Later in the summer, I came back to it to work on making it more defined and compact. Here is where it stands as of 8-15-2013.

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Here is the update of spring 2014. I just redesigned the tree due to the realization the old design was going to cause problems down the road. I just didnt feel it initially even though it was ok for the most part. This new design introduces alot of movement in my opinion. I really like the way it is designed now. Another observation about this tree i would like to exend the benefit for others to see is notice how the redesign also further emphasised the trunk size therefore making it more girthy in appearance and thus furthering the illusion of age.
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THIS TREE HAS SOLD!

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Honeysuckle

Here is a nice shohin honeysuckle in an IKER pot. It was collected this spring and the progress is really quick. Afterall, its a honeysuckle! Its awful hard to kill.

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American Sugar Maple

A few days ago I dug up my Sugar Maple and was very happy to see the condition of the roots. It was collected 4 Years ago and when it was collected, it had a piece of dolomite it grew onto, naturally. It was potted into an earlier IKER pot I have had for a couple of years now.

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The one thing I noticed about at least this particular tree is that every year I have had it(2 of those in the grow bed) it has pushed out one growth push. It does however has new buds come out in random spots on the trunk so there is an ideal spot for a branch to pop out…..just waiting for it to happen! There are dormant buds at the bend I want the branch to pop out. Almost every year I have removed branches or a bulk of them in fall after leaf drop to force further back budding on the trunk which as stated above has happened every spring.
Here is a new June 15 2013 update photo and a photo with leaves this time. Lol
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Here is Autumn 2013 picture of the Maple. Wish it was more vibrant but since the tree is not fully developed in the branches yet, its not exactly a priority at this time.
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Bald Cypress

I dug this bald cypress from New World Bonsai in spring 2013. It has been field grown for 10+? years….perhaps Rob can chime in about the history and more accurate age. I have been interested in a bigger sized BC for awhile and couldn’t toss up the one I dug. After all, it was grown in Ohio for years with allegedly no problems. I had help on this adventure by a Bald Cypress FREAK in New Orleans area. I wont say who it is but I will say we share the first name of Mitch, and i cant forget Dale Cochoy and his tips, ect and allowing me to use his ” Bald Cypress, wood external” book which is chock full of great horticultural info, and among other people helping sporadically. Lol
Here are some photos to start off this Bald Cypress thread. In these photos I am aiming at a flat top style. Now this is a humble first attempts so dont assassinate me but help me improve upon it, yes. I am truly inspired by the work of those who have made nice flat tops and the natural shapes of those ancient bald cypresses in swamps that I have seen myself at Congaree National Swamp in South Carolina, and the pictures of old ones Destin Lake in Florida among others, and a local swamp site that has many in a secluded spot, all of which vary greatly in size from seedling to larger(no flat tops in OHIO however), which leads me to believe maybe one or so was planted, the rest were germinated from those pioneer specimens. If you ever make it to my garden and home, the swamp is only 5 mins from here and I will take you to it but expect to walk from the car a ways but the terrain is manageable. Hope you enjoy the read and photos:-)

EARLY SPRING 2013 before leaf out
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Below is the 1st of June 2013 update photo of the cypress. Its only the first year so it has a ways to go to get it where I visualize it. If you look closely, while you are at it, envision the branches being longer on the left side(towards the lean) and shorter on the right side. That will add a defined shape to the eventual flat top as I see it. The lower right side branch is planned to be cut BUT for extra health as well as a gut feeling I just may use it in the design down the road so I guess we will see how that pans out.
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The picture below is my inspiration for what I want to model my subject BC(Bald Cypress) after. Its an ancient BC located in Destin Lake in Florida.
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Here is the hollow I carved out. It was made on top of an existing wound that was made before we met out in the field of New World Bonsai. I am not complaining however since I am a huge fan of hollows or what some in bonsai call “Uro”. When I create these hollows, I try to avoid man-made shapes or designs which I also try my best to follow in creating all my trees as well. So the shapes I make in hollows are more organic and random shapes. I also try to follow what the tree wants in a hollow. It is not difficult to create at all……it just helps to be familiar with what hollows look like in nature and its even better to be familiar with what hollows tend to look like with the particular species you are working with. Also I would like to point out “The Swamp” in the background of the pic. Its a converted turtle sandbox full of water but not too deep. Its where all of my current bald cypresses are situated
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Here is an update photo of 7-7-2013. The leaves are coming back evenly and well after what I think was a stupid and botched attempt at defoliation. Perhaps I started too early on the technique?? Anyways, I really appreciate this baldy forgiving me for being such an arse to it. After a heart to heart talk with this specimen, we decided to go ahead and rewire and I guess refine its flat top future. I think its awful bright. To throw it out there, I have seen WONDERFUL baldies out there and among my favorites is the one Michael in Florida had at the national show. Wow. ALSO, John Geanangels flat top at The North Carolina Bonsai Expo was definately a wonderful specimen!
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Again, any constructive critiques, please fire away. No one improves and progresses without it. Thank you.
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Here’s the July 30th update. Wish there was more growth on this. Seems to have sporadic comeback on foliage from that defoliation that I mentioned earlier that I wasn’t happy about. But there are buds popping or about to so those will definitely go with the flow of this ones design. I am again, happy with where this is going. Notice that the difference in its shape from the previous pic. I am bringing the branches closer to the trunk so the design would hopefully have a stronger impact.
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I have been thinking of a pot design for this Bald Cypress, and remembered a pot I asked Chuck Iker to make for me back in 2009. So with that pot in mind, I based the new but different sized pot and instead of circle, I had him make them into an oval. Very unique and rustic design and there’s another feature of this pot that I have never seen before on bonsai pots. Come to my garden to find out. Its rather unconventional.
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Chuck did a very good job of meeting my request.
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This is where we are early fall 2013.
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Well, all growth has stopped and now the trees are going to sleep. This is what a bald cypress will do if put into a general bonsai soil mixture in a season of growth. It has been repotted into the custom pot Chuck was commissioned to make for me. Looking forward to great future developments on this Bald Cypriani.
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Here is the Bald Cypress as it stands mid Octoberism, going into winter on a heat bed. It’ll be a mild 65-70 degree soil zone temps which is very important in keeping a bald cypress in a pot. Open ground is another story. This is NOT close to where I want it but its developing great for me so far.
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Here is the bald cypress in full winter battle rattle….oh I mean naked without foliage…..as in dormant. Lol

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