Some Seasonal Colour

Here are some pictures of small trees in development that have come into flower this week. The first is a satsuki azalea, which was started from a ground layer in 2012. The first picture, taken last year, shows the tree in flower, planted in a shallow training pot.


My plan for this tree is to train it as an exposed root bonsai. To help this process along, it was planted in a deep cascade pot, to train the roots downward. It will stay in this pot for a few years until the roots fill the container. At that point the soil will gradually be removed to expose the roots. Very colourful at the moment.


The second is a cotoneaster that I acquired from a local garden centre, some years ago, for a few pounds . It’s very slow growing and it’s always the first of my cotoneaster to flower. Until this year, I have always removed the flower buds as soon as they appear to try and stimulate growth in the branches; but it doesn’t seem to make much difference. So this year I’m letting it do its own thing.


This was how it looked in 2012


Cotoneaster Before (2012)


A Great Way to Spend an Evening

Its rare in my experience that I get the opportunity to visit the garden of a fellow bonsai enthusiast. This week was an exception as Sauro, a friend from Glasgow, invited me over to see his extensive collection of trees and pots. Sauro, like myself, has a passion for smaller trees. Here are a few photographs of some of the trees that caught my attention. Apologies for the quality of some pictures, this was due to the strong evening sunlight.

Sauro on the right and Gordon on the left enjoying the evening sun.


An overview of the garden


Shohin white pine with a lichen covered trunk


Twisted trunk scots pine, these are a speciality of Sauro.




Cork bark black pine








This larger semi cascade scots pine was styled over the winter by Bjorn Bjorholm, no less


Sauro’s dog Max, a poodle with attitude.


Many thanks to Sauro for a terrific evening and to Margaret for a lovely meal.

Homemade Rock for a Bonsai Landscape (Update 2016)

I have made a little more progress with the bonsai landscape that I started last year. The earlier posts which detail the construction method of the rock can be found here Part 1 and here Part 2.

This is how it looked at the end of the initial work, last year. When the stone was dry, it was a light grey colour all over and lacked the tonal contrast you might get on an old stone. I decided to apply some mid and darker tones using artists’ earth colour pigments.


This is how it looked when the colour was applied. The homemade “keto” mix described in Part 2 has proved to be very successful, as it has brought the 2 trees planted last year through the winter very well


This is how it looks at the moment with a few more trees, some moss and a newly acquired display pot.


I still need a few more trees to complete the planting and it will take several more years for the trees  to fill out and present a more natural appearance, but I’m pleased with the progress so far and look forward to starting a few more in the summer.

Thuga Occidentalis Re-Pot

I have been planning to change the front and the planting angle of this Thuga Occidentalis for some time. As it was badly in need of a re-pot, today was the day to get the work done.


You can see in the next picture that the roots had filled the oval pot


After some serious root reduction


This is a picture taken last year which shows the new preferred front and planting angle


And this is how it looks at the moment. I had hoped to plant it in a nice round Japanese ceramic pot I have but it was just a little too small. So for now it is housed in a round mica training pot until I can find something suitable.


I still have some way to go with the foliage development of this tree but the new front is a definite improvement I think.  The next job will be to fully rewire it in the late summer

Scottish Bonsai Show 2016 Pictures

Yesterday I travelled north to the city of Stirling for the Scottish Bonsai Associations annual show. This is the yearly gathering for all the affiliated bonsai clubs in Scotland. This show changes it’s venue every 2 years to ensure that as many people as possible get an opportunity to see good bonsai without travelling great distances. I set off at 06.00 am (which is the middle of the night for me these days), arriving at the venue just before 08.00′ to set up our club display stand. It was a terrific day with all the nations’ clubs and bonsai traders represented to ensure the events’ success.

I am delighted to say that our club did rather well in the competitive part of the event, taking 6 out of the 7 awards that were given.



Here is a gallery of detailed pictures of our club shohin displays  (The Lanarkshire Bonsai Club). Click on any image to see a larger image in gallery mode.

Here are detailed pictures of our larger trees

Here are my favourite images from the other displays











Final Preparations for the National Show

It’s been a busy week collecting moss and carrying out the final preparation of my trees for the Scottish National Bonsai Show tomorrow. Fortunately the weather has been kind and we are enjoying sunshine and warm temperatures at the moment.


Here are some pictures I took this morning of the trees and accents I will be taking with me.

Chuhin Japanese Larch


Shohin trident maple in a pot by Eimei


Shohin Deshojo maple in a yellow Shibakatsu pot


Cotoneaster in a pot by Eimei


Zelkova Serrata in a pot by Ikkou Watanabe


Hinoki Cyprus in a pot by Hokido


2 Pinus Parviflora in Bigei pots


Sedum Spathufolium Capa Blanca in a pot by Junsun Yamamoto


Saxifrage in a Suteki accent pot by Simon Haddon


New Pot for a Shohin White Pine

This week I decided to re-pot this shohin white pine, which I acquired last year. The first picture shows the intended planting angle, which is a few degrees to the right of the original front.


I had been looking for a better pot for this tree since I acquired it and found this one by Bigei at our club meeting last weekend.


Her’s a close up


and taking pride of place in the display shelf in my greenhouse today


I am very pleased with this tree/pot combination and hope to use it on the show bench later this year.


Getting Ready for the National Show

Much of the time at yesterdays meeting of the Lanarkshire Bonsai Club was taken up with the selection of trees for our club display at the Scottish National Bonsai Show which this year will be held in Stirling on Saturday the 14th of May ( See flyer at the end of this post).Here are some photographs taken during our deliberations, which give a very rough impression of what we are planning. Its difficult to judge the impact the display will have in the club setting without the benefit of the backdrops, the covered tables, accents etc.




Robert Porch has obviously been spending too much time in Northern Ireland with Philip recently.