After last years long cold winter, which went on until May in the hills of southern Scotland, immediately followed by the hottest summer on record; far from ideal growing conditions for small trees in small pots. I’m pleased to
say that this year spring has returned when it should do, and even though it can still be very cold at night, most of my trees are beginning to awake from their winter sleep. The tougher species are all outside now in the display area and on the benches but most of the shohin trees are still inside the greenhouse.
Many of you will have noticed that I haven’t posted on the blog for a while. There are a number of reasons for this but the main one is that with advancing years I am not as able as I was to spend long days outside, working on trees in the winter chill and yes I could do it inside but I have always preferred to work outside in natural light.
In the past few weeks, Gerry and I have resumed our regular meetings and much has been achieved in that time. Re-potting, re-styling older material and the first styling of new material, which I’ll be posting about in the coming days
As a taster of what is to come, here is a picture of Gerry’s big Kaho Azalea. It’s been in this cheap Chinese pot since he acquired it 5 years ago. This tree is almost show ready but it really needed a better quality pot.
After years trying to find something suitable, we came across this lovely green oval by Reihou, quite recently. This is how the tree looks now in its new pot.
Here’s a reminder of how it looked when purchased, 5 years ago.
The large Kaho Azalea that I look after for my friend Gerry has been in flower over the past few weeks and is looking splendid as usual.
Here are some older pictures which show its development in recent years
During my regular get together with Gerry we carried out some seasonal pruning on his large azalea bonsai. This is how it looks at the moment.
The ramification has developed well in just 3 years. Here are some photographs which illustrate that. The next one was taken in 2015, when we decided to air layer the top to bring the apex in line with the trunk base.
The next one shows how it looked in 2014, when Gerry acquired it.
We did a little work this week on a large Kaho Azalea, which belongs to my friend Gerry. Gerry acquired this tree 2 years ago. It has a fantastic nebari but the apex was moving in the opposite direction to the lower trunk. We decided at an early stage that this had to be corrected.
The apex was air layered last year and removed from the tree at the start of this season
This is how it looks at the moment after some shaping and pruning of the foliage. I think it is looking a lot better now. It still needs more extension on lowest right hand branch and the branches on the left could be shortened a little more but that will come in time.
This is how it looked at flowering time last year.
Here are a few photographs from yesterday’s monthly meeting of the Lanarkshire Bonsai Club held at Wattston Bonsai. It’s still a little cold here to begin re-potting so while we wait for Dougie’s new stock to arrive from Japan ( it’s expected next week ,by the way), most work was confined to pruning and wiring.
Here are some of the trees that were worked on today.
Nice shohin azalea with a thick trunk
Cork Bark Elm
Shohin Trident Maple
This large kaho azalea is looking particularly good at the moment. I’m looking after this tree for my friend Gerry, who is on holiday and will miss this. This is the tree that I featured in a post last month, which is having it’s top air layered.
My friend Gerry brought this large azalea bonsai over to my place this week to get some advice and to begin the work of shaping it into a really nice bonsai.
The first picture was taken last year on the day he acquired it from Wattston Bonsai. This is a fantastic tree with a terrific nebari but it has some issues. The movement at the top of the trunk is going in the opposite direction to the movement at the base.
The first task was to get it firmly planted in a suitable training pot. This was done last year at the time of purchase. The next picture shows Gerry with the tree immediately after we re-potted it.
One year later, it’s firm in the pot and it’s put on a lot of new growth also. Now is the time to take action to correct the unnatural movement in the trunk.
The next picture shows the impressive nebari which is the best feature of this tree.
The main trunk has to be reduced in height to correct the natural movement of the tree. The top of the trunk will make an interesting tree in its own right, so rather than cut it off, we have decided to air layer it.
The lower branches on the right hand side of the tree will be allowed to extend to accentuate the movement in the lower trunk
Close-up of the area that is being air layered. I will watch this air layer carefully throughout the remainder of the season and we plan to remove next year if all goes well.