I decided at the start of this year that I would reduce the amount of fertiliser that I would give to these 2 trees in an effort to slow down the rate of growth, shorten the internode length and keep the needle size quite small. They have been given a single monthly doze of an inorganic balanced fertiliser throughout the season. I think I have achieved the result I was looking for.
The first tree was collected in 2012. A good basic branch structure was developed over 2012 – 2013 growing seasons. This is how it looked at the start of 2014.
And this is how it is looking today. A reasonable number of new branchlets have developed, particularly in the apex. This new growth will be wired in over the winter.
The second tree is one of my first bonsai trees. Its been in my possession for about 14 years. It already has a good branch structure and only needs minor development to improve it. The next picture shows how it looked at the start of the season.
This is how it looks today
An advantage of the reduced feeding regime, is that I have been able to keep the wire that was applied last winter in position for the entire year without cutting into the bark. In previous years I have noted that wire applied in the summer and taken off in the winter is more effective at keeping a branch in position than wire applied in the winter and taken off in the summer. My hope is that I will see a marked improvement in the branch placement, when the wire is removed this winter. We shall see.
This tree has been sitting on the benches at the back of my garden for about 12 years. I have done very little to it in that time because I have always considered it a difficult tree. Its best feature is undoubtedly the old flaky bark but some of its other characteristics are less than desirable. I thought initially that I might attempt to turn it into an informal upright but the lack of movement and taper in the lower trunk meant that I would never be entirely happy with that. Any attempt to bend the lower trunk would be at the expense of the beautiful bark
Lovely old bark
In the past few years I have developed an interest and appreciation for the literati style of bonsai and I have been thinking that the tall thin trunk on this specimen might be best suited to training in that style. The next picture shows the tree after an initial pruning and branch selection
This is how it is looking at the moment after further thinning and wiring. I am very pleased with the result at this stage and I am looking forward to seeing how it will develop in future years. Height 69cm (27 inches).
This is another pine of a similar height but not nearly as old that I plan to start work on next week
You might remember when I first posted this tree back in March of this year. The early development from unpromising material can be found in Larch Progression. This is a reminder of how it looked at the start of the year after its winter wiring.
This tree is very close to where I would like it to be, it only really needs denser ramification to complete the image. To maintain a short needle length and promote a thinner more delicate branch structure, I have cut back on the amount of fertilizer it has had this year. Instead of the weekly dose of high nitrogen that it received last year to thicken the primary branches; this year it has had to make do with a monthly dose of high nitrogen at half strength. As you can see in the next picture, it has put on a lot of new growth and that growth is quite compact.
The wire that was applied last winter was removed in the summer and new wire applied to the primary branches immediately after. It will be interesting to see if these primary branches have set permanently by this winter.
This is the tree I took to the Marc Noelanders workshop a couple of months ago. Its doing pretty well since the styling despite the hot dry weather we have experienced in the intervening period. I have lost 2 small branchlets from the front however, probably due to my rough handling when I wired it. Today, I cleaned the bark using a soft brass brush attached to low speed power tool. It does a very good job with very little effort and its not so abrasive that it damages the bark. I also gave the deadwood its first coat of lime sulphur
The chuhin Callicarpa that I acquired earlier this year has done very well over the summer. This is a reminder of how it looked after an initial cutback at the start of June.
The cutback in June has been beneficial in creating a lot of new shoots and increasing the ramification. This is how its looking at the moment (Mid September)
The berries which give this tree its common name of Japanese Beautyberry are starting to form, although most seem to be at the top of the tree at the moment. I will put it into the greenhouse now to extend the growing season as long as possible in the hope that it will continue to flower and produce lots more before the end of the year.
This little potentilla shohin which was started last year from nursery material has just come into flower this week, for the first time this year. Most welcome they are too.
I have just finished rewiring my Blauws Juniper for the second time in its new style. This is a reminder of how it looked before wiring.
And this is how its looking at the moment
It has filled out well in the year that has passed since its first styling under the guidance of Marc Noelanders. For comparison, this is a reminder of how it looked at this time last year
I acquired a nice Japanese oval pot for it, last weekend at the club, from my good friend Robert Porch Roll on next year, so I can get it re-potted
My broom style kiyohime shohin, which performs well throughout the spring and summer, was by August, beginning to look tired and dried out with all the sun it had been exposed to. I partially defoliated it in the first week of August (first picture)
One month later, it has a full canopy of fresh new leaves again. This regeneration of deciduous trees never ceases to please and amaze me.
Our club had its monthly meeting yesterday in glorious early autumn sunshine here are some pictures from the day
Shohin was the theme for this month, so we introduced the idea of trying to put together a club display which we could take to shows next year. Its early days yet but we have hatched a plan to use 3 shohin stands displaying about 12 trees. We plan to try it out at next months meeting. So bring along your best trees everybody.
Robert Porch brought along this little creation which he acquired in Ireland. Lovely
Some highlights from Dougie’s sales benches
Large maple going into autumn colour
Large Juniper tanuki, made in Japan. Its impossible to see the join on this one
I found this container grown cotoneaster, out of sight in the back lot of a local plant nursery, where it had obviously been for a very long time. Its 10 inch plastic pot was so full of roots that it had split away at the bottom. It had quite a thick trunk for a nursery tree, so I decided to buy it. As it was old stock I got it for the knock down price of £3.00 .
When I got it home I cut it back, took it out of the plastic pot and re-planted it in a similar sized clay pot without disturbing the roots too much. This is how it looked at that time (September 2011)
In the spring of 2012, I chopped the roots back quite hard and re-planted it in this Ian Baillie drum pot.
2 years later in the spring of 2014, I removed it from its pot again and cut off the 3 rather thick roots that were sitting quite high on the trunk. This is how it’s looking today, planted in a yellow Shibakatsu oval.
The rate of growth in this tree is quite slow for a cotoneaster. I think this may be due to the fact that as soon as the weather warms up in spring it just pushes out flowers profusely without putting on any real growth. This year I have been removing the flowers as soon as they appear to increase the ramification