One of the many intriguing and inspiring images in Japan and Japanese gardens is the way they care for old trees and the way they achieve aesthetically creative tree shapes. The crutches created to support branches from heavy snow and to give added support to aging trees, as well as the technique used to aesthetically extend branches, is known as Katanagareshitate.
Today JB and I created a support for a long branch of our recently radically pruned tree peony. This tree peony with its richly purple and magenta flowers has been growing in the east garden for close to 25 years, stretching southward towards the sun. We used an old cedar fencepost that was given to us by a neighbor some 20 plus years ago which was stashed in our garage. We tied rope carefully around the fencepost so it wouldn’t split after drilling a hole for the branch to sit in. The rope was covered with melted wax to prevent its rotting. We pounded the support into the moistened earth with a wooden mallet and lightly tied the branch to the support.
We worked together slowly and carefully, propping each other up. Growing older together, all three of us.