Five weeks ago I cut back and wired a coast redwood. Even though it’s mid-November, the tree is filling in quickly and some of the wires are already beginning to cut in.
Coast redwood – 5 weeks after wiring and cutback
The main goals of cutback and wiring are to ensure that light gets into the tree’s interior and to stimulate new shoots.
The new growth appeared throughout the tree – near the trunk, along existing branches and at the branch tips.
New buds emerging next to a cut branch
New buds at the branch tips
New buds emerging from the trunk
Once these shoots elongate a bit I’ll repeat the process of thinning and wiring. Now, however, it’s time to remove the wires that starting to cut in.
I’ve found that my coast redwood is one of the fastest growing trees in the garden. After cutting the tree back in July, it was completely full again by October.
Coast redwood – 3 months after cutback
I cut back again, reducing the long shoots to about half and removing unnecessary shoots.
I then wired the remaining branches to bend them down and add movement.
The basic process of wiring and cutback yields lots of back buds – will share the progress to date later this week.
During my visit to Gordon Deeg’s garden, I was struck by how many shohin bonsai I found. Small conifers, broadleaf evergreens and deciduous varieties filled narrow benches around the garden.
Knowing how hard it is to assemble a proper shohin display, I appreciated the sheer volume of little trees and the opportunities they afforded from a display perspective.
I also thought about how often shohin bonsai need water – up to several times a day – and repotting – typically once per year – and marveled at the effort that must go into these trees.
Itoigawa juniper – great project tree
Thanks again to Gordon and to Sei Boku Bonsai Kai for the opportunity to join in the fun and marvel at the trees in Gordon’s collection. I’m looking forward to seeing these trees again in upcoming exhibits!
Gordon Deeg is a familiar name to Northern California bonsai enthusiasts. He has served more positions in more bonsai organizations than I can count. A former Chairman of the Bonsai Garden at Lake Merritt, Gordon is now its Garden Master and a teacher at its bonsai school.
Gordon is also responsible for another impressive bonsai garden – his own. I had the chance to visit during Sei Boku Bonsai Kai’s annual barbecue and was amazed by its depth and breadth. Gordon has the usual varieties like pine, juniper, maple and azalea, and he has just as many less-common varieties including cryptomeria, pomegranate, styrax and needle juniper.
Gordon’s garden includes a number of California junipers with great deadwood.
Gordon loves black pines.
Japanese black pine – trunk detail
But his garden has plenty of deciduous varieties too, including the cork bark Japanese maple below.
Cork bark Japanese maple
Cork bark Japanese maple – trunk detail
Japanese maple grove
Stay tuned – more from Gordon’s garden later this week.