Wednesday, 7 August 2013

Old Privet

 In March 2011 I collected an old ligustrum stump with some real character. Looking at the initial photo, it appears as if there are two trees but they are actually the opposite sides of the same huge trunk. The middle of the trunk had rotted away and the tree had actually rooted into the mush that remained in its own rotten core. This old tree is a real survivor. Its roots were actually lifted out of the embankment in which it was growing when there was a flood, so when my friend John and I went to collect it, there was no digging to be done - the tree was simply sat on top of the ground! That does not mean that there was no work to be done though - carrying the tree back to the van was not easy even between the two of us. Upon arriving back at John's we did some reduction work with a chainsaw so that the tree would fit into my car.

The following day I spent a couple of hours bare rooting the tree and removing all of the rotten wood. This was exciting work as I had no idea what I would find. I was pleased to uncover some lovely dead wood and exposed roots.

March 2011
The tree soon started to regrow, but it soon became apparent that large areas of the main trunk were dying back. Over many months I had a number of carving sessions on the deadwood and hoped to incorporate it into the design.

July 2011
Eventually the deadwood on the larger section of trunk became that extensive that I felt that it would overpower the tree. Meanwhile the smaller section of trunk was growing vigorously. I felt that drastic action was called for. On re-potting the tree, I noticed that the two pieces were growing independently and that they could easily be separated. I decided to discard the large section of mainly dead wood and work with the remaining small piece of trunk. This tree - over 100 years of age was now reduced to a neat little pre-bonsai with good proportions, nice movement and interesting deadwood. Today the tree stands 27 cm above its pot.

August 2013

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