Some More Shohin for The Record

Following on from last weeks’ post, here are a few more recent pictures of some of my shohin trees. These are the shots that I use to measure progress over time.

I’m particularly pleased with this cotoneaster, it’s shaping up nicely and has good potential for the future


This is how it looked in March last year


The next 2 are relatively recent acquisitions, which haven’t changed much in the period I have had them.

Japanese black pine in a bigei pot. I purchased this tree at the end of last season and re=potted it this year


Japanese white pine. This tree was imported from Japan earlier this year and will be re-potted next season



Re-Working my Thuga Occidentalis

My Thuga  Occidentalis bonsai grows like wildfire over the summer months and is always in need of a good haircut by the time autumn arrives;

The first picture shows how it looked after pruning this time last year. For some years I haven’t been entirely happy with the chosen front or the planting angle of this tree and I have been considering other possibilities


Last year I thought I might turn the tree 90 degrees to the left and re-pot it in a more upright position as shown in the next picture. I didn’t go through with these changes for the following reasons. This angle reveals the widest point in the nebari but totally obscures the deadwood feature and makes it kind of redundant. Also with the tree in this position it looks awkward when you approach it from the left or right.


This is how it looked at the beginning of last week after a further seasons growth. The foliage is far too heavy and I will need to put a lot more work in on this tree  to get the lighter image that I am looking for.


After a lot of study, I think this is the planting angle that I am going to go for. It makes the best of the trees movement and the deadwood looks better too. It will be re-planted in a nice round Japanese pot next season


This is how it looks at the moment after the removal of three heavy branches from the front. I am not entirely happy with the lower right branch, it seems a little remote from the trunk now but I might be able to reduce the impact of this  as the branch above it extends It will take a bit more growth and a lot more pruning to achieve that light airy foliage mass that I am looking for but I think it is beginning to move in the right direction.


Some Shohin Progressions

As the growing season comes to an end, I like to photograph all of my trees  to compare their progress to how they looked when I first acquired them. Here’s a few that have been getting my attention today.

Cotoneaster September 2015


Cotoneaster May 2012


Pinus Parviflora September 2015


Pinus Parviflora May 2012


Pinus Parviflora 2015


Pinus Parviflora 2011

Japanese White Pine Before (2011)

Chojubai Quince September 2015


Chojubai Quince April 2014

chojubai 2

Larch in Autumn

Well we’re moving into autumn here in Scotland as you can see from the changing colour on this chuhin larch, a sure sign that our growing season is coming to an end for another year and the long months of winter are not far away. How I envy my bonsai friends in the southern hemisphere at this time of year, who are only at the start of their season.


No wire on this tree at the moment. The new growth will be wired in the new year.

Juniper Rigida Shohin in Development

This is another tree belonging to my friend Gerry that received some seasonal maintenance at our “get together” last week. It’s a shohin sized juniper rigida that was repotted earlier this year.


This is a reminder of how it looked when he acquired it last year.

Juniper Rigida Before

And this is how it looks one year on. It’s proving to be a very vigorous grower indeed.


We cleaned it up and gave it a little trim. I think next year it would benefit from a slight tilt to the right.


Tall Scots Pine 2nd Styling

Over our last 2 “get together” sessions, Gerry and I have been busy styling his tall scots pine.

This cultivar of pinus sylvestris, which I think is either beuvronensis or watereri has a good nebari, excellent movement in the trunk and a good dark green foliage colour. The trunk is relatively thin for its height.

Last year Gerry took this tree to a Marc Noelanders workshop to get some advice on how to take it forward. I took the first 2 pictures at the workshop last year, unfortunately I didn’t get a picture before and immediately after this work.



This is how the tree looked earlier this year when it was re-potted.


Today we completed the work in beautiful autumn sunshine.


Halfway through the process.


Work completed for now.This is how the tree is looking at the moment.



The Fruits of Autumn

Our weather has been awful this year and I was a little concerned that the berries on my cotoneasters would not ripen due to the lack of sunshine. Many of the flowering and fruiting shrubs in my garden have not performed very well at all due to the poor weather but because these trees are in pots, I have been able to move them about to take advantage of what little sun we have had.

This one is shaping up well but will need a better quality pot in the coming year.


This one. which is in a Yamaaki semi cascade pot, was just started this year from material collected from the garden. It was originally a cutting taken 8 years ago.


This one, which was started just over a year ago also originated from a cutting. Next year I think it needs to be tilted slightly to the left.


This one is beginning to fill out well, I may transfer it to a semi cascade pot next season.


Shohin Scots Pine First Styling

A friend gave me a number of these little pines a year or 2 ago. I potted them all up but have done very little to them since. Today I decided that I would try to compress this one down to shohin size.

This is how it looked this morning before I started.


And this is how it looks at the moment,


I may put it back in the ground to thicken the trunk a little more, when the bends have set.

Cotoneaster Shohin Summer Update

I have been working on this tree for several years and it has the slowest growth rate of all my cotoneasters. I gave it its first full wiring just over a year ago and its now time it had another, to incorporate the new growth. As soon as the weather warms up in spring it pushes out numerous flower buds but very little extension growth; so for the past 2 seasons I have been removing them as soon as they appear.

This is how it looked after last years work.

Cotoneaster 2014

And this is how it looks today after one years further growth.


In the next picture all the new growth has been wired in.


I think it might benefit from a slight change of front when it is re-potted next year. The next picture demonstrates what I mean.


This is a reminder of what it looked like when I started it in 2011.

Cotoneaster 2011

Lanarkshire Bonsai Club Meeting 6/9/2015

Yesterday in glorious late season sunshine, I attended the monthly meeting of the Lanarkshire Bonsai CLub at Wattston Bonsai. It was very well attended  as always, and the members were taking care of seasonal work on a variety of species or catching up on the latest news in the bonsai world. Here are some pictures from the day.


Our host, Dougie, advising the ladies on the future possibilities for their tree.


Gerry selecting a new pot for his sekka hinoki.


Stuart brought along these excellent display stands that he fabricated from steel. Excellent work Stuart, I am sure there will be a lot of interest in these.



Here are a few small trees that Maurice was working on.

Cork barked elm started this year from an air layer.


Clump style cork barked elm.


Mame cotoneaster.


Callicarpa Japonica.


Trident maple.


Mame elm.