Building Young Evergreens

I’m currently working on a vignette by Time Machine of the Battle of Bushy Run Station which took place 5-6 August 1763 east of Pittsburg in a wooded area between the British and elements of several tribes of Indians. The vignette depicts combat between two Highlanders and an Indian. In expanding the scene, I’m adding a second Indian and increasing the size of the base. This left a large bit of dead space. To fill this, I decided to add some new growth evergreens. Young evergreens are pretty sparse and I confirmed this with a drive into some wooded areas and while walking the dogs near some woods. While there have been excellent articles covering full grown pines, I hadn’t seen anything about young trees that are common in the forest. Upon completing two of these, I showed my wife who is well versed in all things horticultural (she’s like us with inaccuracies, except plants bug here!), my “young pines.” (Picture 1) She quickly corrected me that they were spruce, not pines. At that point, I knew I had some good trees.
wood stock
The two basic elements for these are a “ferny” product (Picture 2) from any well stocked arts and craft store’s floral department and a 1/16 inch dowel, dark gray paint, super glue, and accelerator.
Break a length of dowel 2-3 inches long (Picture 3). Create a point at one end by whittling it down with a #11 blade (Picture 4). The tip need not be overly sharp, but you don’t want it looking square. Next, use a razor saw to scrape in some texture by running the teeth up and down the nascent trunk (Picture 5). Now paint the trunk dark gray (Picture 6) and put it in an alligator clamp on a “second hand” or other support. Now pull off a bunch of stalks from the fern in different lengths and assemble them in groups of equal length (Picture 7). You don’t have to be exact, since nature isn’t very exact about these things, but generally the branches are longer on the bottom than the top. Place a good size drop of thick CA glue such as Zap-A-Gap green onto a surface (Picture 8) and dip the end of the fern that you broke from the stalk into the glue (Picture 9). Place this where you want it on the trunk (Picture 10) -note the texture of the “bark” in the picture- and dip an old brush into some CA accelerator (Picture 11) and touch the CA at the base of the branch which is in contact with the trunk (Picture 12). Rotate the trunk 1/3 to 1/4 turn and add another branch. Place 3 to 5 branches more or less evenly space around the trunk, move up and repeat with shorter branches until you are about 1/8 inch from the top (Picture 13). Now, cap the tree with a small remnant of branch to finish it off (Picture 14). It’s really that simple.
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About the Author

About Al LaFleche (AJLaFleche)