Collected Hemlocks – Mother and Daughter

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I was trying to come up with a catchy title for this blog and could not come up with a good one.   The mother and daughter, although a little cheesy, seemed to be appropriate for this pair of trees.   This was the pair of trees I worked on in Spring of this year with my friend Brian  Hemlock, Blues Music, and Great Company.  

Brian and I had plan on selling this tree at a bonsai auction and we intentionally priced it high knowing that this tree will eventually become a great one.  Brian originally bought it from a collector and then I prepared it for the auction.  Of course it takes some imagination, deep pocket, and lots of muscle to take this home (it’s was still in it’s raw unspotted collected soil and very heavy), sadly it did not go home with a new owner but instead I bought the tree from Brian and it stayed in my possession.  I’m completely happy with that.

After the initial styling six months ago, this tree continued to grow healthy and had filled out much more.  I figured it’s healthy enough to do a more refined styling.

Here’s my  thought process on this for this recent work:

  1. The bigger tree (Mom) has some nice subtle movement to the trunk and the bark on the 3/4 lower half is the older looking bark.  Branches are thin and limber.  I pulled them down more to give it the older feel (as if snow have weighted it down for long periods of time that it just stay there).  Doing this also helped narrow down the entire tree’s profile and gives it more of an alpine feel to it.   I also moved the lowest branch to the left in a way that it does not interfere with the braches of th smaller tree.  It also filled the empty space between them.  Eventually, as  it continues to get refined,  I will continue to narrow the profile and continue to lower some of the upper branches.    I also have to prop the bottom of the pot to correct the stance of the tree.
  2. The smaller tree (daughter) is a much younger tree and I had to decide to keep it or not.   It has a couple of interesting bends and one very heavy looking branch to the left.   I decided to keep it, for one, it provides an interesting perspective to the whole piece.  I’ve imagined  these trees as two trees distant from each other, the larger one closer to me and the smaller farther away.   It will be potted in a way to create a scene in a mountain.    I wired the tree branches to follow the same movement and direction as the bigger one.   At first I was going to remove the large heavy branch on the left but I kept it to create the balance not only for the small tree but to the entire composition.  I had to reduce the thickness of that branch however to make it more appropriate for the tree’s trunk.  I kept the live portion where the remaining branches are attached and cut away (the bottom part).  I then used the remaining branches to cover that branch to not make it too obvious.  I also propped up the tree from the ground to give it a distance from the larger one and to show off another bend on the lower section.  As I write this and looking at the photo, I can see how the upper section is very straight compared to the whole tree, next time I work on it, I will give that upper section a bend, that will emulate the larger tree.


I hope to repot this tree late winter or early spring.  I have a lava rock that I might use for this and will add to the mountain scene I’m creating for this piece.

I would be fun to take it back at the auction then and see how much it will go for.  By then I will probably quadruple the price I used as a reserve……Nah, I will keep this one for a while.

Published by tony bonsaiko

My little trees are my daily reminders of our grand connection to this beautiful and mysterious universe.

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