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After being asked several years ago by a friend to “make my tree into a bonsai” I decided it was time to take what I have learned from bonsai to styling larger trees in the landscape. A myriad of approaches are possible— from the rather formal and somewhat contrived look of topiary to the extreme makeover of a tree devoid of all but the end growth. But my styling evolves from the tree’s structure and growth habit, allowing a relationship to develop and evolve over time as the tree grows more refined and beautiful with the attention of formal regular pruning. I believe this is in the spirit of Japanese style pruning, an aesthetic which is particularly welcomed by Japanese Maples and dwarf conifers.
So I continue learning and refining my techniques to enhance the health and beauty of landscape specimens, those princesses and royalty of many local gardens. This has led to pursuing certification with the Aesthetic Pruning Association, an accrediting body based in California. Having professional recognition from peers in the horticulture field gives clients confidence in the skills of the stylist or tree pruner. So I am steadily building a portfolio of different species, including conifers and garden shrubs of all types as well as the beloved Japanese Maples. The tree pictured was visited recently, about a year after its initial styling, to review my technique and the tree’s subsequent growth.