Robert Steven Workshop – Melaleuca Incana

Due to the length of my last post, I thought I would make a seperate post for my workshop Melaleuca. That way I can waffle a bit more, and also give you a bit more background on this bonsai’s beginnings. Its taken me a while to get this post up, due to another project in the works, but more on that in later.

Mel. Incana 1


The tree started as a simple pot plant sold at a nursery (not a bonsai nursery). You can see in this photo that this is really just a shrub, and the branching has a very pendulous growth.



Mel. Incana 18 Front


This next shot shows the branch selection process and the angle change. Please be aware this is not my work, nor my photos, but that of the previous owner whom I purchased the tree from. Which is why I will not expand too much.



This is the final shot before the tree passed over into my hands. You can see it come along nicely, however showing a few minor wire scars.

Mel. Incana

Then the tree came to me, and that when things got interesting (just joking). I spent a while learning the tree, and how it responded to any work I did, however I let it get a bit out of control, and it lost its shape. I dug out what wire I could from the tree, and gave it some time to heal… probably too long in hindsight, which allowed it to become overgrown. Not good on a Melaleuca that doesn’t backbud all that well.

Anyway, I was keen to make my mark on the tree, and experimented with a few different angles and style changes with virtuals, before deciding that I really was not sure where to take it. Luckily, that was just around the time I found out about Robert Steven doing some workshops for my club. So, I decided that I’d bring my little Mel along to get Robert’s advice. You can see in the below photo that I’ve kept it trimmed, but the outline has turned into a blob. (sorry for the dodgy photo)


I snipped and trimmed, and dawdled my way through thinning the tree out. I wasn’t all that confident in what I was doing, so I wasted a lot of time on trimming the tree… when I should have been thinking more drastic. I’ve still got that paranoia of cutting of something I shouldn’t, which I assume every beginner goes through. Anyway, Robert came around and showed me a direction that he thought would work, and I ran with it. As you can see below, its quite the change! First picture is the front, and the second from the back.



We took quite a lot off! The pictures above were taken a bit prematurely, as I cleaned up the stubs and applied cut paste over the wounds. Now, I will let it recover for a while, and see what buds form. As this one doesn’t backbud readily, I will have to cross my fingers and hope I get them where I want them. Another mistake I made, was that I did not discuss Robert’s vision of the tree with him, so I’m left at a loss on where to take it (again!!). I have an idea, but think I will do up a virtual and hope that Robert will comment on my plans before I get stuck into it. If not, I’m still confident I can turn it into something pleasing.

It doesn’t look like much now I know, but they all need to start somewhere, and I hope this will be the beginning of a very different tree then what I would normally go for. I’m trying to push my boundaries with this one, and think a bit outside of the square, so stay tuned for the next update

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