David's critique pointed out that it looked like I struggled.  I didnít think I struggled and actually thought I sailed right through it.   Even though David suggested Dr. McLeanís previous report and went on to deliver specific instructions, I overlooked numerous items.   I was not to bend it yet, and was to keep it as straight upright as possible.  I was again wrong, so did another Re-Do.  Okay, letís start from scratch. 


        Minimal supplies

          Untied the wires from the bottom of the half flat, and plan to re-use


          Cut open the aluminum cone and plant to transfer media into new cone
            Plant set up for new cone formation (Note: I re-wrapped the cardboard strip to better grasp the falling roots.) The roots were spread to outside of cone and the apex pointed up.
           Shows the top 12Ē aluminum cone being taped in a 2Ē vertical spiral, I noticed that it helped keep the cone shape intact and not be flimsy while shaping the cone and adding media.
          After completing the extended collar and filling out the cone, the next step was to add the tripod wires.  They will hold the tree in the upright position.   Note: just a piece of tape will temporarily hold until I tie the wires to bottom of pot.
        The total height is 21Ē from top of half flat to top of foliage

         CONCLUSION: It seems no matter how much I am prepared; there is always some point in the workshop where I will go my own way.  I may be thinking Iím following instructions or following an example.  I thought I had done a good job. But the whole point is that I canít lose focus.  I read the instructions over and over again, but failed to realize that upright trees grow longer roots more quickly.   It looks like it going to thrive!  - - - Ryan

        COMMENTS BY DAVID: Sometimes the complexity of bonsai is confusing.  Some techniques are used only in the very early stages such as when you try to create character within one inch of the soil line.  It has to be done then before the trunk is too stiff to bend.  Creating three usable branches and/or trunks near the base of the tree also must be done early along with root pruning to create a compact complex root system near to the base of the trunk.  But if we are not successful or if the tree is genetically inferior,  it's our professional responsibility to cull out the weak or below standard trees. 

        A large part of teaching the members of our study group is to familiarize them with standard and broad principals that produce highest potential trees.  It's not possible to purchase such trees and I want the study group members to be able to grow their own unique prepared stock to improve over the years.

         The goal this month was to teach Ryan the basic principles regarding extending roots once the basic tree had good character.  In his first effort, he got side-tracked when he over-valued the appearance of a rock and did not recognize it simply as a technique to create ideal plant stock with stronger longer roots to create future tall rock plantings.  His first effort ended up moving towards a promising Sumo and his second effort was successful.  Note that the trees are in training containers and the objective is to obtain strong vigorous growth with more branching and thickening of the trunks. 

         I asked Ryan to share photos of his collection that is the result of six months as the aggressive leader of our Fast-Track Study Group.  While it may seem that Ryan does a lot of redos, his progress is amazing!

             Note that his trees are all healthy and growing strongly.  They are growing in full sun and obtaining maximum growth.  Plastic film block the wind and help to hold in humidity to produce strong aerial roots.

          CONGRATULATIONS RYAN!  Your trees are progressing well and even with minor setbacks, your overall progress is impressive.  Continue to move various size trees into Sumo, Roots, and Dragon concepts to allow you to make multiple tree complex arrangements.  Ryan has begun to build an understanding of rocks and rock plantings will be more explored in the coming months!  ~~~David