Some New Pot Options for an Airlayered Hawthorn

I have a small hawthorn, which was airlayered from the old roots 2 seasons ago. It has been in a training pot since it was separated and is now ready to be planted into its’ first ceramic shohin pot.

This is the tree,


And here are the pots I am considering at the moment. The first is by Eimei at the Yozan kiln. It has an unusual greenish glaze colour that could work well with a hawthorn.


the next one is a painted pot by Mizuno Shikao at the Tosui kiln. Both pots are about 7 inches (17cm) wide and will be suitable for further root development.


The tree will be transplanted in a few weeks time, when the weather warms up. I may even have a few more options after my trip to the Noelander’s Trophy next weekend


Another Larch and a Potentilla Re-wired Today

This Larch, collected in 2012,  was styled and put into its current pot in March 2014. Unfortunately I never took a before picture of this one when I acquired it but the collected material needed very little effort to get it to look like it does now. It will be re-potted this year as soon as the weather will allow.

This is how it looked without wire at the start of the day


And this is how it looks at the moment


It has quite a nice nebari that is hidden by the soil at the moment. That will be sorted when it is re-potted into this Walsall Ceramics oval, in the next few weeks


This next one, a potentilla fruticosa, was dug from a friends garden about 2-3 years ago

This is how it looked shortly after I acquired it.


And this is how it looks at the moment with the new growth wired in


This is how it looked last September with a few late flowers on it.




Five years work on a Japanese Larch

I just completed the winter wiring of this Japanese Larch today. Its’ progress in just five years, from the most unpromising raw material, is a constant source of pleasure and satisfaction for me. It may not win any prizes on the show bench but it has taught me a lot about bonsai design and development and it hasn’t cost me a penny. It will take another few years to acquire the fine ramification that I would like. Here is the progress so far in pictures.

January 2017


This is the pot it will be transplanted into in Spring, a nice grey glazed oval by Walsall Ceramics


Summer 2016


Spring 2014, after pruning and wiring and re-potting

larch 1

Early 2014 before re-potting


Summer 2013 after carving the stump


Early 2013


2012 after re-pot and first styling


2012 before first styling


Original material in 2011


The New Season Begins

I have been a little slow in starting the midwinter maintenance of my trees  due to a cold and wet December. This is a view of my garden on Friday after a day of snow on Thursday.


Snow isn’t that common in the lowlands of Scotland, so when it comes you have to make the most of it. I took all of my shohin hawthorns out of the cold greenhouse and placed them outside on the bench to fully expose them to the freezing conditions. Why did I do this you might ask ? I normally overwinter them inside so that I can control the moisture levels in the pots but so far they have never flowered and the trees are at least 20 years old. I have read and observed on the hillsides near my home that hawthorns flower better following a harsh winter, so this year I am trying to expose them  to as much cold as possible without freezing them to death. It will be interesting to see if this makes a difference in the flowering period this year.

Anyway, the snow has gone now and the temperatures have risen to a degree where I can begin the winter work on my larch trees in development, in some degree of comfort.


The first job is to remove the moss from the soil and clean the algae from the trunks and branches using warm water and a toothbrush. Then last years growth can be pruned back and the trees will be rewired later in the week. Here are some of the trees I am working on at the moment.





I will post more pictures, in a few days, when the wiring has been completed. All of these trees will have to be re-potted this year but it will be another month before its warm enough to do this.

Ayr Winter Image Show 2017 Pictures

I travelled to the seaside town of Ayr yesterday to take part in the 4th Ayr Winter Image Show It was held in an alternative venue this year as the club rooms in Alloway were closed for essential maintenance. The numbers attending this event continue to grow and each year more trees are brought along for display. Display tables for the trees were placed around the elaborately decorated walls of the banqueting room in the Savoy Park Hotel and the centre of the space was laid out for dining. The tables in the centre of the room were well used but made the space feel  quite cramped and while  they were occupied they created a hindrance to viewing the trees.


The layout of the space, the lack of a backdrop for the display tables and the poor lighting made photography very challenging indeed. Here are some of the better images I managed to take. I have included species and owners name if known to me.

Jim Conlin’s Root over rock Chinese Juniper


Peter Thorne’s English Elm


Peter Thorne’s Siberian Elm


Sauro’s Cork Barked Elm


Dougie Smith’s Chinese Juniper Styled by Kimura


Ian Mc Dougal’s Twin trunk Larch


Carlisle Club Member’s Deshojo Maple over rock


Ian Mc Dougal’sScots Pine


Ian McDougal’s Scots Pine


Potentilla Fruticosa




Robert Porch’s Shohin Scots Pine. I liked the trunk and the exposed roots on this one


Sauro’s white pine with lichen covered trunk. I love this one.






Robert Porch’s shohin Malus


Chinese Juniper


Jim Conlin’s triple trunk Larch


Beech group


Here are my 2 entries a Japanese Larch and a Blaauws Juniper. Compare this picture to the following 2, which were taken yesterday with a backdrop and adequate light. Imagine how much better the record of this event would be if all the trees were photographed like this.







Larch Winter Image

I will be taking this Larch along to the 4th Ayr Winter Image Show tomorrow. This is the first event of the year in the Scottish Bonsai calendar. It’s in a new venue this year, the Savoy Park Hotel, Racecourse Road, Ayr and the doors open at 11.00 am. If you like bonsai and live nearby this is one not to be missed.


I will be taking lots of pictures and they will appear on the blog sometime on Monday.

Here are a few pictures from last years show