Alberta Spruce Bonsai

Alberta Spruce trimmed and untrimmed

Trimmed on left, Bushy on right

I found small Dwarf Alberta Spruce cheap at Lowes. I used bonsai-like pruning techniques to make the shrub-like spruce look more like a scale model of a full-size mature tree for eventual planting in my garden railway. Exposing the main trunk and reducing the foliage density accomplishes that.

Here is before pruning on the right and after pruning about half the foliage on the left.

RCGRS – Annual Railway Tour (Pt 3)

Track & Bridges

Part 1 of the RCGRS Tour is here.

As one can tell from other posts, I particularly like track and bridge-work, as that has some of the most interesting complexity and engineering that is not motive power or rolling stock.

IMGP0758A nice trestle on the Whisky Creek & Bear Mountain to the right. A very nice Town Lattice Truss Covered Bridge on same.


IMGP0785Below are nice truss bridges on the Colorado & Southern. I particularly like the angled truss bridge.








Also, a very impressive yard.


On the Baker & Grande Ronde, there are numerous trestles and bridges. IMGP0820IMGP0827IMGP0830











IMGP0833All the track is hand-laid on redwood ties and the turnouts are custom built stub switches.

There were quite a few turntables like the one below. These shots show how they were made.



RCGRS – Annual Railway Tour (Pt 2)

RCGRS Annual Tour Part 1


IMGP0754A couple of nice examples of mini-scenes from The Underground Railroad. I’ll have to do a little research to identify the species.


IMGP0762These are from the Whisky Creek & Bear Mountain. To the right is a Chamaecyparis obtusa MEROKE TWIN, I think. Below are nicely trimmed Chamaecyparis pisifera TSUKUMO.


IMGP0797The Lone Pine & Western had labels identifying the plants!  This is a Picea Little Gem – Bird’s Nest Spruce.





IMGP0800Erodium Dwarf and Vaccinium Vitis-idae to the right, and Heather (Calluna Firefly) below.


IMGP0802Cotoneaster – Tom Thumb to the right. And below is a nice grouping, but I’m unable to read the names. There are 3 Dwarf Alberta Spruce, I suspect.



IMGP0817The Baker & Grande Ronde by Gary & Jonette Lee has a lot of trees pruned using Bonsai techniques, so that they look more like large trees. A standard Dwarf Alberta Spruce is very dense – you can not see any branches, typically.



IMGP0825Here is a closer view of two of the species for future reference. They are Picea glauca DWARF ALBERTA SPRUCE (below) and something else. (I’ll have to consult the plant list.)

IMGP0822One thing to remember, since I want to be able to see the rock-work along the railroad, is to not let the ground covers take over. Since this is Oregon, that might be easier said than done!



The next post RCGRS – Part 3 will show examples of bridge and track-work that I particularly liked.

Rose City Garden Railway Society – Annual Railway Tour (Pt 1)

The Rose City Garden Railway Society hosts an annual tour, where members open their home garden railways to the public. This year there were 13 railways on the tour. We didn’t have time to see them all, but visited seven. All-in-all it was a very enjoyable day.

My goal for this trip was to look at structures and scenery to get some ideas for my own railway. (See The RGSO Page) I was not disappointed, as there were numerous, great examples of buildings, bridges and plants.


IMGP0765A nice Town Lattice Covered Bridge on the Whisky Creek & Bear Mountain by Ron & Merlene Bacon.




IMGP0796There were a lot of these square water towers in the various railways (explanation to follow). I have similar plans from Large Scale Online which I plan to build at some point.




This is a nice engine shed and service facility area on the Lone Pine & Western of Tom & Betty Gaps.




IMGP0808Also from that railway is a small cattle pen and loading ramp. (This would make a fun weekend scratch-building project!)





I think this is a coal loading facility, although it could be for ore. This is on the Bearspaw Southern created by Warner & Brooke Swarner.




IMGP0810I like this whimsical winery, also on that railway.





IMGP0815This is a nice station building from the Baker & Grande Ronde.

This railway is the creation of Gary & Jonette Lee. Gary runs clinics during the winter months for club members. He preps kits of materials, and the participants build the structure at the clinic. Thus, many of the railways have (some) similar or identical buildings.

The next post RCGRS – Part 2 will describe various plants and scenes that I particularly liked.