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Studio Stories – Dave’s Larch Group

Sometimes I work on nursery trees, sometimes I work on client’s trees……and sometimes if I’ve been really good I get to work on my own trees. Hopefully these regular visits will give you an insight into what goes on behind closed doors……….

Studio Stories – Dave’s Larch Group

Dave’s small Larch planting recently visited the studio for replanting.

The first thing you will probably comment on is the fact that there are only 6 trees….an even number! It seems that everybody knows you “must” have an odd number of trees. I have seen visitors at shows counting 50 plus trees in a fantastic forest planting in order that they can calmly proclaim it to be wrong because of this even number phenomenon.

Rules are supposedly for the guidance of the wise and to be followed by fools! You would generally use an odd number of trees when creating a group planting because it is easier to arrange them and make them look natural. This particular group started out with 7 trees but at some time in the past one has unfortunately died. However, the remaining trees make a really nice composition and look very natural….it’s like looking at a small copse across some fields.

In the above picture the roots have been combed out and pruned back so that the reduced rootball is now ready for replanting. Once together you treat repotting a group like a single tree….you never separate them and repot individually as this would be like starting again and would do untold damage. You will notice the rootball in the centre of the pot as they were previously planted.

This second picture shows the group after the repotting was completed. Notice how they have been moved to the rear right hand corner of the pot. It is the space created to the front and side that suggests a sense of landscape and transforms the whole appearance of the group.

Notice how the tallest trees to the right are perfectly vertical, attract your attention and lead you through the group to the smallest tree which leans outwards towards the space. Everything is comfortable on the eye….the planting works and is convincing.

The group has been twisted slightly. Now you can clearly see all 6 trees and the third tree from the right gives a sense of depth between the second and fourth trees. Now you can also see more of the smaller tree to the left and it’s outward lean towards the space is more dramatic.

The planting looks really good in this pot by Walsall Studio Ceramics and it will look even more natural when it is mossed over.

A simple repositioning and a slight twist have transformed this group. It is the attention to detail which makes all the difference. When you like a forest planting it is because all the design elements work, you just don’t notice them. When you are uncomfortable viewing a bonsai then something in the design is not working and needs to be adjusted.

When it does work……relax, sit back and enjoy it…………………..