Bigei Dragon Pot

This little Bigei pot from my collection is a personal favourite. It’s 8cm in diameter and 4.5cm high with a dragon figure in relief, wrapped round the outside



A New Tree for Workshops


I needed a new tree to take to workshops this year because the one I have been taking for the past 2 years is probably in need of a rest.

I have chosen this nice twisted itoigawa juniper to meet the need. The width of the pot is 23cm (9 inches)and the height of the tree is 27cm (101/2 inches) above the pot rim. It should make a nice kifu juniper in a couple of years time. I hope to give it its first outing later this year when Marc Noelanders returns to my local club.

Chuhin Larch (The first tree I purchased)

This tree will always be a favourite of mine as it is the first bonsai I purchased back in 2001. Even though at that time I knew nothing about what makes a good bonsai I have always been very happy with the choice I made. It has a pretty reasonable taper in the trunk and the nebari just gets better and better with age.

This is the tree in April 2014 in a pot by Walsall Ceramics

larch 2

This is how it looked in 2002


I did very little to this tree apart from an occasional prune for the next 9 years. This is how it looked in the summer of 2011


After wiring and branch removal in the winter 2011


Procumbent Juniper Re-pot

I have been looking for a new pot for my procumbent juniper for some time and finally found something suitable at the National Show last weekend. Until now its been in the pot you can see in the first picture.


I chose the existing pot made by Saffron Ceramics a long time ago, for no better reason than it was about the size I needed and it was cheap. Over the years I grew to like the colour of the glaze and felt that it suited the tree but was always concerned that I was breaking the basic rules by housing a juniper in a glazed pot. I have noticed, however, that recently there seems to be an emerging trend, which I wholeheartedly support, to house junipers in matt finished, crackle glazed pots.

With that in mind I chose this matt finished purple glazed pot made by Ian Baillie a Scottish bonsai potter as the replacement.


And so to the re-pot. The old pot had an in turned rim, which meant that a significant amount of fibrous root had to be cut off in order to extract the tree from the pot.

The next photograph shows the tree immediately after it was removed from the old pot


And the after some further root reduction and old soil removal


And finally, safely re-housed in its new pot


I will give the tree a few months to recover from the trauma of the re-pot. The next job will be some further refinement of the foliage round about September, all going well.

I would be interested to hear if anyone has any thoughts on my choice of pot.

Scottish Bonsai Association Annual Show 2014

The Scottish Bonsai Association held its annual show on the 18 of May 2014 in the  town of Troon on the west coast of Scotland. Nine clubs were represented including the Lanarkshire Bonsai Club of which I am a member. This show gets bigger and the quality of the trees gets better with every passing  year. Bonsai events in Scotland have developed from local flower shows where entrants lay their  offering on a table for a judge to select a first second and third in each class. This has influenced and to a degree limited the method of display adopted for bonsai. It is generally recognised that improvement is required to present Scottish bonsai on the world stage. The clubs are working hard to implement this change but we still have some way to go. The shohin competition at this event is a case in point. The space allocated to it was too small for the number of entries, which meant that the trees could not be displayed or viewed to their best effect. Given  the ever increasing popularity of shohin in Scotland, as elsewhere, I am hopeful that we can do much better in the future.

I am sure everyone involved would like to thank Rob Atkinson from Aka Matsu School of Bonsai for judging and for the traders Wattston Bonsai, Ian Bailie Pots and Catrine Pottery for their support of the event

Now for the photographs from the day (apologies for the poor quality of some of the images)

A New Pot for My No.2 Zelkova

This is my No.2 Zelkova shohin, photographed in May 2014, that I have been working on for 1 year.


This is how it looked in April 2013 when I bought it


I had been looking for a brighter pot to display it in and discovered this one by Walsall Ceramics quite recently



I like the quality and colour of this pot. In my opinion it is better than most of the Tokoname pots I have purchased recently and better value for money too.

I think I will leave the re-pot until next Spring