When the vibrant colours of the new Spring growth begin to appear, its definitely my favourite time of year. Here are some pictures of the trees that have sprung into life first.
This shohin Yew has new buds everywhere, much earlier than previous years
My Acer Shishigashira is always the first of my maples to leaf out
Larches always look their best at this time
As the days get longer and a little warmer, the buds continue to swell and the window of opportunity for the re-potting of deciduous trees is coming to an end. I still have quite a few to do and they will all have to be completed before the weekend
Here are 2 that I did this morning. The first is a shohin cotoneaster microphyla. I have been developing this tree from garden centre stock for about 5 years now and its really beginning to look good. The last of the thicker roots were removed today and it has been re-planted in its yellow Shibakatsu pot with a slight change of front.
This is a reminder how it looked when I acquired it
I also re-potted my latest acquisition, this shohin trident maple. It’s now housed in a nice old blue glazed rectangle by the second generation Tosui potter, Mizuno Masao
The early season work on my small trees usually involves cleaning the moss and grime from the trunk, refining jins and sharis and re-potting if necessary.
The first up today is a shohin hawthorn that was re-potted last year. I wanted to do a little refining on the V cut to give it a more natural appearance.
This is how it looks after a pressure wash and a little work with the Dremel.
The other side before the work
And after. I’m not sure which side of this tree is my preferred front. Both sides have potential I think.
This is a new tool I acquired recently for cleaning my trees. Its called a textile cleaning gun. It is a very powerful tool and does a great job on the trunk and deadwood. You have to exercise extreme care in its use as it has the capacity to strip the bark from tender species. Fortunately it has an excellent pressure control switch.
This tree needed a slight change of front so it was re-potted today
This one was just cleaned up and pruned in readiness for the coming growing season.
I dug this tree from my garden in 2008 and planted it in a 12 inch pot to recover. It stayed in that pot until 2012, when it was chopped back and placed in the bonsai pot you can see in the first picture.
By the early Spring of 2015 the trunk has been chopped back further and the roots are now housed in a smaller round pot. At this stage, I still wasn’t happy with the tree and had no vision for its future development.
Later that month, with an idea beginning to emerge I chopped the tree back once again. The following picture was taken later in the year when new buds had emerged and extended
2015 after pruning and wiring the new growth. At this stage I thought this side could be the front.
This is how it looks at the moment. I’ve done a little carving on the original V cut to make it look more natural. I’ve also shortened the thicker roots, planted it in a new pot and reversed the viewing angle. I like how this tree is developing now and look forward to seeing the ramification develop in the coming years
When Gerry visited me this week with some trees, we decided to re-pot this Chinese elm which had been attached to a rock by Gerry 3 seasons ago. After its first year in a pot, it was re-planted into the pond basket that you can see in the following picture. The purpose of this was to allow roots to develop in the area below the rock.
This is how it looked from the front before todays’ work
And from the back
After 2 seasons in the pond basket, it had grown enough new roots for it to be re-planted in a shallower bonsai pot. This is how it looks at the moment from the front. After it has settled in the new pot, the fine roots that are still visible above the soil will be removed with scissors.
This is how it looks from the back
This is the oldest picture I have of the tree from 3 years ago
Here are a few more trees that I re-potted today
Potentilla Fruticosa in a new Chinese pot. This shohin tree has been developed from garden centre material.
Chinese Elm, acquired a few years ago from Homebase, planted up today into a cream rectangle from Walsall Ceramics.
Kiyohime Maple re-planted in its green pot by Heian Kosen
And finally my favourite Larch had its roots trimmed too and was re-planted in its Walsall pot.
Its been about 3 years since the trees that I worked on today were last re-potted. In that period, the roots have filled the pots and growth has slowed down as a result of that. The first 2 are larches in development that are beginning to look good and now deserve to be planted in better quality pots.
Larch 1 before
When deciding when to re-pot a larch, I tend to wait until the weather warms up and the buds begin to swell as can be seen in the following picture.
Often, in the past, when I’ve re-wired trees into their new pots, I have discovered that the desired centre line of the tree in the pot is not where I planed it to be. It is worth taking care at this stage to ensure that the tree is positioned exactly where you want it to be; because if it isn’t, it may be a few years before its corrected.
This is how the first tree looks at the moment in its new Walsall Ceramics pot.
The second larch before
And this is how it looks now in a new oval pot by Walsall Ceramics
Next up was my Shishigashira maple which has been in this nice Walsall pot for several years now.
This is how it looks at the moment in a new oval pot by Eimei at the Yozan kiln.
And finally, I finished today by re-potting my shohin cork bark elm. Its been in this little green Erin pot for a few years now and will remain there for the foreseeable future. It needed a clean to remove the winter algae and moss. This is how it looked before todays work.
And this is how it looks at the moment