We’ve had sub zero temperatures in southern Scotland for a few weeks now, but today we had our first significant snowfall of the winter.
Work doesn’t stop completely at this time of year; there’s still plenty to do, but the cold certainly slows down progress. Gerry and I are still meeting regularly and we bring a few trees inside to work on but we spend most of the time chatting, drinking coffee and trying to keep warm.
Todays’ snow was accompanied by a slight rise in temperature, which enabled me to open the greenhouse door, which has been frozen shut for about a week; so I brought a few deciduous trees inside to photograph them in their winter image. I do this every winter so that I can compare the change in ramification with previous years.
Deshojo maple shohin
This is how it looked in 2013
This is how my Shishigasira maple is looking at the moment
And this is how it looked in 2013
Japananese Larch winter 2017
Same tree in 2012
Trident maple 2017
Trident maple 2014
Here’s another shohin trident in winter image. I acquired this one at the beginning of the year so I have no earlier images to compare it to…..yet!
Gerry and I have started the end of year maintenance on our pines. This normally involves the thinning of the old needles and some of this seasons too, in areas of strong growth. When the thinning is complete, the trees have to be partially or totally re-wired to accommodate the new growth.
The first one I tackled was a Scots Pine, which had its first wiring in the literati style 3 years ago. This is how it looks at the moment after a second wiring. Unfortunately, I didn’t get a picture before todays work as its absolutely freezing in the garden and time outside was kept to a minimum.
The next picture shows how it looked some time after the first wiring in 2014. You can see that its filled out well in the intervening years
This is a reminder of how the original tree looked at the start of 2014
Gerry’s large Scots Pine also required some work. This is how it looks at the moment after thinning and wiring.
Original tree in 2014
We finished off the session by restyling a small shohin white pine. this is how it looked before.
and this is how it looks at the moment
We still have plenty more to complete in the next few weeks.
I acquired this thin trunk Scots Pine a little over a year ago from a friend. Some long thin branches at the base of the trunk were removed and the tree was re-potted into a clay pot with a good free draining soil mix. This is how it looked after the initial work.
and this is how it looked at the beginning of this week, 16 months after the previous picture was taken.
The needles were thinned ready for wiring and I jinned the stubs at the base of the trunk.
After thining out the foliage
This is how it looks at the moment, not bad for a £30.00 purchase.
This shohin Juniper Rigida belongs to my friend Gerry but I have been closely involved with its development over the past 3 years. I have had difficulty maintaining the health and vigour of this species in the past but this one is quite different. It has grown with strength right from the start and it responds well to interventions like re-potting and wiring. This is how it looked in 2014 when he acquired it.
I gave it an initial styling in 2015 and it was potted on into the larger pot you can see in the next picture to build up some energy in the roots.
As we looked at this tree we were happy with the styling but the planting angle wasn’t quite correct; it needed more of a tilt to the right. Early in 2017, the roots were trimmed and the tree was re-potted at the correct angle. This is how it looked at that time.
Today, I trimmed back the foliage and wired the tree for a second time. I also transferred it to a nice pot by Peter Krebs. This wasn’t strictly a re-pot as there was virtually no root disturbance. This is how it looks at the moment.
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.
Today I carried out the first styling of a Juniper Squamata, which was dug from my garden 3 years ago
The next 2 photographs are a reminder of how it looked immediately after it was removed from the ground
This is how it looked after the removal of some branches and a re-pot in 2016
This is how it looked at the start of todays work, the top has filled out well in the past year. I have decided that this side will be the future front of the tree. As I looked at this image, I felt that the top of the tree was too straight and there was more foliage at the top of the trunk than I needed to complete the image I was aiming for.
This is how it looked when the work was completed. The foliage was removed from the top of the trunk and the branches were jinned. Now, the relative proportion of the remaining foliage seems more balanced with the long thin trunk. I was also able to introduce more movement at the top of the trunk with a combination of coiled wire and guy wires
The next stages in this trees development will be to correct the planting angle at the next re-pot; develop the foliage pads and introduce a long shari which extends the length of the trunk.
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