Monday, April 22, 2019

Leaves At Last....

Slowly Growing....

My collection of Leafy Stems has been steadily growing, Dear Readers, and even though I have a goal of approximately 120 leafy stems for this shrub and I have only completed approximately 90 leafy stems, it has reached the point when I must begin to attach them to the shrub itself! This is because I realized that the stems need to be attached before the blossoms, to protect the delicate blossoms from being handled too much, and also because the stems have to be attached in order from the lowest or closest to the ground, to the highest in order to be able to fit them around the branches of the shrub. It is a very crowded shrub from the point of view of the leaves! Even with that in mind, the leaves are only growing on the uppermost parts of the branches, because they would not get enough light in the lowest parts of the shrub. If you have ever climbed into a large tree or shrub you will notice that the leaves are only on the very outer edges or ends of the branches, leaving the inner area open and yet sheltered at the same time. And because the "removable garden pods" that hold each of these Lilac shrubs are all unbalanced when not in the Garden, I needed to construct a "stand" to hold the shrub while under construction so that it would not tip over as I was working on it.

I simply pounded a nail through a spare piece of plywood... 
large enough to add stability but not too large for the work space...

The "pod" fits over the nail and is easily removable
 for any quick maneuvering of branches or glue or paint.

And then it was time to begin to attach all those leafy stems.... 
but not before they were carefully "shaped" 
the way they would be on a real bush.

When the lilac leaves grow, they are reaching for the sun,
 so their stems all point upwards,
 and the leaves themselves have a fold along the center,
 and open out like little parasols to catch the most sun.

Here you can see a stem with all the leaves folded.
And here the stems are pointed upwards...

And then you open out the folded leaves, 
with the stem still pointing up but the leaf pointing down...

Like this!
And you must do this for every stem!
And then wrap the stem around one of the branches and add glue.

And you need to let the glue dry on each attached leafy stem
 before you add another one... to prevent dislodging the first one. 
You can shape the leaves on the next stem while the first one is gluing....
Yes, this will take a while!

And before you have added too many stems, Dear Readers, 
you must remember to paint over the wire
 where it wraps around the branch... 
with the gray of the lilac bark
so it looks like the branch, 
not the new leafy green stem!

Here you can see I have attached about a dozen leafy stems....
I have tried to begin with the branches in the center of the shrub
 that would be the most difficult to reach... 
and to work outward from there...
So far I have added two leafy stems each
 to many of the shorter branches.
The longer branches will need more leafy stems each.

And we have to test it in place in The Folly Garden... 
to be sure we are leaving enough clearance under the roof eaves......

Those leafy branches do get crowded under there!
(I am sure you can see the nest!)
There will be more leafy branches added on the taller stems... 
and of course, the blossoms too....

And the branches in the front of the shrub will get filled in too.....

It might be slow going Dear Readers,
 but the Spring Lilac Shrub
 is getting it's Leaves at Last!


  1. It might be slow going but it would be the most perfect Lilac shrub ever. Those leaves look so real, great job!

  2. lento tiene que ser,porque va a quedar perfecto! lo que se ve ya es un gran anticipo!!!!

  3. It's daunting to try and replicate mother nature in miniature but you have done such a wonderful job of it. The branches look old and twisted over time and the leaves are so randomly placed that the whole bush looks so natural. Lovely!

  4. Oh my goodness, Betsy, you have made already 90!! leafy stems, wow, what a lot of work you've done! But the result will be so gorgeous, you can see it! I can't nearly wait for seeing the completed shrub, it will be glorious moment!!
    And yes, when I was young, my siblings and I, we often climbed into the trees. But I guess I won't succeed nowadays for climbing in trees, maybe one time in a small tree, with my grandson when he is old enough ;). But I still know that the free (from leaves) branches were the ones to step on in a tree, the outer branches were 'dangerous' as my older brother teached me, they were too thin, not stabile enough and not safely to climb on ;O.
    How clever of you to make a 'stand' for holding the shrub when adding the leafy stems. Pounding a nail through a spare piece of plywood......oh dear, don't speak about nails and hammers: during work at my 1:1 garden fence, I've beaten quite hard with a hammer on my thumb at the end of last week. My thumb has felt that very well, ouch, and the result was that with the Easter weekend I had a lovely colored Easter nail ;O)!!
    You've studied very well on the 1:1 Liliac shrubs, you've added the leafy stems in the correct way (stems are pointed upwards), as you will do with the blossoms too. Yes, I do still see the nest between the leafy stems. I know that making plants/flowers is very timeconsuming work, but this project is worth all the effort and time you put in it, Betsy. I LOVE this project so much, I'm sure that each of these Liliac shrubs will be gorgeous!!
    Hugs, Ilona

  5. Wow! A great job done with patience and precision. This is a spring tree; a real tree.

  6. Magnifico!!!
    Your observations and knowledge about Lilac shrubs has made me aware of how much I DON'T know or pay attention to! You are setting the bar Extra High when it comes to plant construction Betsy, so I am not in the least surprised when I see your laborious efforts all coming together so Beautifully!


  7. You are so smart to have made an assembly stand for yourself and it's the perfect solution for needing a third hand! It's so exciting to see the leaves go on to the shrubs, and though I knew they would be spectacular, just seeing the leaves on them makes the vision of just how lovely they will look a super charged image! I'm so excited for the next progress post!

  8. Seeing all you've done until now makes me feel humble with my small flower creating efforts. Your lilac leaves look fantastical life like.
    You are already on the way to reach your goal and I'm sure, like me, everyone of your followers is holding his breath to see how the
    lilac brunches in full bloom.

  9. estoy ahora mismo oliendo a lilas en casa y estoy deseando ver las tuyas acabadas!

  10. Oh, Betsy it is looking just wonderful. Lilacs are one of my favourite scrubs but it is way too hot and dry for lilacs here (trust me I tried) but your fabulous mini version is as good as the real thing. Every time you post I am in awe of your patience making all those hundreds and hundreds of leaves and flowers and ever so carefully putting it all together. It sure is paying off - it is looking magnificent.
    Anna x

  11. So many details! So much planning ahead. You must feel a little like God, planning one of his masterpieces. And such patience! But it must be very rewarding to at last be putting the shrub all together, with all the parts you have been working on for many months. I can't wait to see the final result!
    Much love & congratulations,

  12. I'm always so amazed at your progress and how detailed you are with these bushes. The leaves are gorgeous and remind me so much of the lilac bushes I grew up with.

    Can't wait to see more!

  13. It might be going slow but it is a very exciting part to watch. Your trees look amazing already.
    Hugs Maria

  14. I can truly say: You nailed it!!! In any way! What a clever idea your holding construction is… holding your shrub in place and yet allowing all the turning around and taking off for tests that is needed. And it's just wonderful to see the first leaves being attached; it gives a good impression of the miracle that we're expecting to see one day. But it's already the most beautiful sight… and still the robin's nest can be spotted. Needless to say that your attention to detail and to achieve realism is once more stunning, like Elizabeth already said… I too must admit that I was not that aware of the leaves positioning. ;O) And somehow I'm glad that my own projects are not too much on the realistic side… after your spring lilac I would not dare to come along with flowers anymore. *grin* Just kidding… I'm working on some blue hydrangeas at the moment but with the help of a kit... so I can blame it on that. *LOL* All your work and effort over all those many weeks and even months starts to pay off. And although the attaching itself will also include a lot of new work this is worth every minute you're spending with your glue and your super clever nail board.


  15. Hi, Betsy - I love your observations and descriptions of the lilac leaf construction; this is a wonderful nature study! Your detailed creation of the lilac shrub has encouraged me take a much closer look at the trees and plants around me, and my appreciation of your talent - and patience - has grown accordingly. The leafy stems on the shrub look so natural, even in this first stage. I am eager to see the next phase of this complex work of art!