Monday, October 22, 2012

Bird's Nest Spruce Bonsai

We've introduced long time ago spruce trees in our bonsai's collection due to their sturdiness and forgiveness.  We have mostly quite large specimens of conifers which impressed us by their structure. Like usual when choosing a plant for starting a bonsai, we are searching for a dramatic overall looking of the tree or attractive surface roots, or a gnarled trunk with some character continuing to the apex of the tree, a natural looking driftwood  and  for nicely curved branches evenly distributed into canopy.

Bird's Nest spruce aka Picea abies 'Nidiformis' bonsai
Bird's Nest spruce aka Picea abies 'Nidiformis' bonsai

The common alberta spruce (picea glauca conica) dense foliage always fascinated me. Also its upright growing habit, very suitable for training in formal-informal upright styles, determined me to add more and more specimens.

Of course, I really needed to bring some dwarf varieties, thus "dwarf globe spruce" (picea pungens globosa) became my favorite and remained on top of my preferences for long time. Later on I was also attracted by "Bird's Nest" spruce aka picea abies 'Nidiformis'", considering that it is challenging to shape such a "nidiformis" mound. I am convinced that itwas named " Bird's Nest " due to its overcrowded indentation of foliage masses towards the middle of the branches' mound.

 Picea abies 'Nidiformis' foliage- Bird's Nest Spruce needles

I like "Bird's Nest" spruce that it readily produces buds on older wood (it is really forgiveness if you decide to change somehow its shape). It grows quite slowly, about 4-5 inch a year, but we prune regular away the outer ends of older twigs (few times a year) to avoid to return it into a ragged bush in few months.

Bird's Nest spruce aka Picea abies 'Nidiformis' gnarled trunk
Bird's Nest spruce gnarled trunk

I like also its gnarled trunk with cracked gray bark and how smooth the branches are raising up. We have been wiring many times branches only to find that it snaps off at the base as soon as we start to move them or that the shoots are very easily dislodged. I'm really sorry that we did not maintain a journal of our uncertainty and fuzziness when shaping them in various bonsai styles...
Important is that our enthusiasm grown  with the overall knowledge gained in those tries and enabled us to develop with confidence new trees like this one.

 Picea abies 'Nidiformis' bonsai - Bird's Nest Spruce bonsai
 Picea abies 'Nidiformis' bonsai - Bird's Nest Spruce


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