This is the story so far of an Acer Palmatum bonsai project that was started from collected seed in 2001. Not all of the seeds that I planted at this time, grew into strong healthy plants. Many were quite weak and died off within a year or two. This one proved to be a notable exception. I am now 13 years into this project and it’s still has a long way to go.It has, incidentally, spent all of its life in a pot.
The first picture, which shows the autumn colour quite well, was taken in 2004.
This is it again in 2011. It had been growing in this larger pot for a number of years, when this picture was taken
In the early spring of 2012 t was transferred into its first bonsai pot. I have taken a number of air layers from this tree over the years
Spring of 2013, the trunk has been chopped back and there are lots of new buds emerging that will form the new leader.
Spring of 2014, the new leader has grown well and the chop mark has been trimmed back to the new trunk line.
Winter 2014, another seasons growth has thickened the leader considerably. It has just been cut back to allow winter storage in the greenhouse
Before the end of this winter I will cut it back again at the spot indicated by the red line in the next picture, and the new leader will be formed from the tiny shoot indicated by the arrow.
The autumn leaf colour in this shohin cotoneaster is the best I have ever seen it. A sign that it has been pretty cold here lately.
This is a recently acquired Bigei semi cascade pot, which has just joined my ever expanding collection. I just can’t have enough of these.
This is a new pot from Japan that I have recently added to my collection. It’s a nice unglazed rectangle with cloud feet from the Zenigo kiln. It measures, 19cm by 15cm by 8cm
I hope to transplant this kifu Japanese Yew into it, next year
This is my Chinese elm shohin that I have been developing for 2 years. It has quite an interesting story. I acquired this tree for £8.00 in the winter of 2012 in and end of season sale at a local DIY centre. I had previously looked at all their trees at the start of the season, and mentally selected this as the most promising because it had taper in the trunk. When I finally purchased it, it was the last one to go. I did nothing to it but kept it in the greenhouse all winter, half expecting it to die, which it almost did.
This is how it looks at the moment November 2014. Next year I will re-plant it in a slightly larger pot to speed up the ramification
At the end of that first winter, It was looking quite weak as the next picture shows. Most of the branches had dried up and died. I removed it from the pot, washed off the old soil and replaced it with a coarse mix of akadama and kiryu.
Within a few weeks it was beginning to show some signs of life as the next picture shows. All the dead branches were cut back and new ones were allowed to grow from the stumps
Here are some up to date record pictures of my Acer Shishishigira and my Acer Deshojo
The Shishishigira is quite a slow growing tree and has only change slightly in the 2 years I have had it but the number of buds has increased considerably this year with regular partial defoliation.
The Deshojo on the other hand has grown vigorously and there are lots of new shoots to develop branches from in the future.
This tree started it’s life 12 years ago as a 3 inch cutting. It was planted in the ground for seven years and chopped back twice in that period. The first picture shows how it looked in 2011 when it was dug up and re-planted in a plastic pot.
The second picture shows how it looks today (November 2014).Next year it will be transplanted into a nice pot.
Today, I defoliated the few remaining leaves on my chuhin Japanese beauty berry. This is how it looks at the moment.
The plan over the next few months will be to thin out the new growth and wire in those new shoots that will be useful. The crop of berries are quite sparse this year and located mainly in the apex. The plan for the future will be to increase fruiting considerably. Based on my own experience with other fruiting species and information I have gleaned from the internet, it would appear that allowing the roots to become quite tight in the pot and slowing the growth rate by decreasing the nitrogen but maintaining healthy potash levels, is the way to go. I will give this a try next year but only time will tell if this will be successful.
My good friend Gerry paid a visit to my garden today and he brought along a few trees to get some advice and help with their future development.
The first was a very healthy looking Juniper Rigida. After we had a good look at the tree from all angles, I suggested a slight change of angle and a reduction in the height of the apex. I also thined some of the vigourous growth and brought the lowest branch, which was growing towards the rear in this picture, forward to the front and right.
This is how it looked half an hour later after carrying out the work and applying a little wire. A lovely little tree, well on the way to becoming a nice shohin,
The next up was this little zelkova, which has a nice tapering trunk but the ramification is weak on the right hand side
This tree needs to put on a lot of new growth next season to show a significant improvement, so we just thinned out the thicker branches in the apex and shortened a few others that had grown too long.
The final tree was a little deshojo maple. At the start of the year this tree had virtually no branches, so it was allowed to grow unchecked in order to develop some to work with.
We selected a possible front for the tree and removed branches that would not be useful in the future. It has quite a nice nebari from this chosen angle although it hidden at the moment by the moss soil
It’s nice to be allowed to work on someone else’s trees for a change. A most enjoyable day in good company.
Here are 2 record pictures of my semi cascade Potentilla, which clearly show how well it has developed this year. Throughout the season I have been working to compact the growth on the right hand side and develop the cascading branch. I think it is looking quite good at the moment Next year I would like to compact and shape the top a little more.
The first one was taken this week (November 2014)
and this one is from February 2014