I got so inspired by Maty and Nory’s beackeas…They are so beautiful, and styled in a very unique way. I dont have baeckea here so got a melaleuka…nearest thing to it. ..Got the biggest I could find. Hope to style it like their beackea.
Melaleuka has very small leaf, and most varieties back bud easily. But there are some varieties that dont back bud too readily on old wood. It also is a fast grower.
Here it is how it looks from all 4 sides.
For front selection I looked first , from which side, the nebari looks best, and also from where the little movement the trunk has is seen best.
Above the second half of the trunk, there is a junction, that has 10 branches overgrown that come from the same spot. The trunk has no taper or movement. So I Decided to shorten it and grow a new leader. It will be a shohin
This the best view of the nebari. The trunks has a bit of an taper and movement from this angle.The bottom most branch will be left as sacrifice branches to create more taper.
This is the side. As you can see it has this two roots than need to be removed and has no taper what so ever.
This is the other side. Equally Unsuitable.
When selecting a front, I fist look at the nebari. If the nebari is hopeless Then I will base my selection on trunk qualities. From which side is the taper and movement seen best, where are the branches, that are present, and can they be used?
In this case the nebari won…or shall I say the lower portion of the trunk won. There is a small bend 6-7 cm above on the trunk, and that is also seen best from this angle. So the front was decided.
I decided to chop everything above,that little branch that was wired upwards and to the left. Not to waste good material I decided to airlayer the top, and have another toy, to grow for a long time and make it really big, while I am busy with this one. You can see on the picture above where I marked the place for airlayer. The central wired branch will be the new leader, and the branches above were left for now to support the airlayer packet, while the ones above were removed.
The two primary branches I wired, are not exactly bar branches but very close to each other. If when I remove the airlayer, shorten the primary branches, and the leader… I should get shoots at a better position I might consider regrowing a new lower branch. Meanwhile the two wired lowest branches are left to grow freely. I like thick branches with good movement and taper, and growing and chopping back is the best way to create that. They will also contribute to thickening of the trunk meanwhile. As soon as they reach the desired thickness, they will be cut short, and regrown again for taper and movement. At than point secondary branch selection and growth will begin too. The secondary branches will be grown in the same manner. That way I will get good taper and movement.
The tree is in a very large packet. Melaleuka has very short internodes, and that will allow me to grow the leader and the primary branches, rapidly, without being worried about long internodes, in this large container. So the plan for now is to grow the leader and the primary branches , and then transfer it into bonsai pot for further development.
Ones the airlayer is removed, which I hope to be in 3 month time, I shall try and do some work on the nebari…perhaps with the tooth pick method.
Looking at the picture now….the branches look like they need some more movement. I shall check them again and address the issue.
This a rough virtual of the tree …but it was don in a hurry without much thought, and I dont like the snake trunk that much…it is boring. So I shall probably come up with another plan while the leader is thickening. But what I really want to do different here is the pad structure… beackea like.
Looking at it now…I think the second section of the apex will be better slanting some more to the left, or maybe to slant the current leader to the right to hide the trunk chop better, Need to think and will let you know what I have decided later.
Hopefully I shall get a branch at the lowest bend of the trunk on the left, and if I dont I can always try and do a approach graft with the lowest most left branch