A New Pot for a Tall Juniper

Today, I re-potted this tall Blaauws Juniper into a nice Ian Baillie drum pot.

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When I acquired this tree in 2016, it was in poor condition as the previous owner had died and the tree had been neglected for a few years. This is how it looked at that time.

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By September of 2018 it had recovered sufficiently to begin some work on it. This is how it looked after the fist styling

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The new look required a change of planting angle and a new pot. The re-pot was carried out today. This is how it looks at the moment. A few more seasons to develop the foliage and the deadwood and this will be a really nice tree.

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Scots Pine re-potted Today

Today I spent some time re-potting the Scots Pine that was rewired over the winter. It also required a slight change of angle. This is a reminder of how it looked before todays’ work.

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And this is how it looks at the moment in a new Chinese drum pot, which is more in proportion with the tree.

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Here it is again, almost complete and back out on its’ plinth.

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Scots Pine 2nd Wiring

I acquired this medium sized Pinus Sylvestris in 2016 from a friend. I was attracted by the taper and movement in the trunk and I felt that given time I could make a nice bonsai from this material. The first picture shows the tree soon after I brought it home, having re-potted it into a good free draining soil mix and removed a few leggy lower branches that didn’t form part of my plan for the trees’ future.

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The second picture shows the tree in 2017 immediately after the first styling.

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The next picture was taken in 2018 and you can see that it has filled out well in that time.

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At the end of 2018, I thinned the needles to allow more light into the middle of the tree and to facilitate re-wiring in the new year.

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A few weeks ago I re-wired the tree for the second time. I think it is shaping up well. At the next re-pot, which should take place in the next few weeks, the front will be moved by a few degrees to show more of the movement in the trunk. the next picture shows how it looks at the moment.

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Starting a Shohin Common Juniper from Scratch

In April 2013, an old friend in my village who heard I had a passion for small trees gave me this tiny common juniper seedling, which he had collected while walking in the hills. It was bare rooted, when he gave it to me and I wasn’t sure that it would survive but I potted it into a 4 inch pot in a mixture of akadama and moler clay and watered it every day

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To my surprise, not only did it survive but it thrived and by 2016 it was beginning to look like a solid little tree. The next picture shows how it looked at that time in a 6 inch clay pot.

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In the spring of 2016, the root system had filled the pot in the previous picture, so it was potted up again into a larger one.

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It continued to grow strongly and by 2018 it was ready for some work. With a plan begining to form in my head I cut back the lower branches and wired some movement into the main trunk. The next picture shows how it looked after this work.

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A few weeks ago, I decided it was time to put the plan into action and start this little tree off on the road to becoming a future shohin bonsai. The foliage and bark was striped from the upper part of the trunk and the newly formed deadwood was wired to hold it in its final position until the wood dries out.

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The remaining foliage was thined and wired and a few weeks later the roots were cut back to fit it into a suitable shohin sized pot. This is how the tree looks at the moment. It will need a lot of care and attention in the coming weeks to ensure the remaining roots don’t dry out.

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Thuja Occidentalis Summer Maintenance

I spent part of today thining and cleaning My Thuja Occidentalis bonsai.

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It grows very quickly during the summer months and soon becomes untidy. This is how it looked before I started this morning.

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and this is how it looks at the moment

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This is how it looked in 2004 when it was lifted from my garden. It originally had three trunks but I removed the 2 on the left and decided to work with the one on the right.

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Refining the stump on my big Larch

Today I took the time to re-work the stump of my large larch bonsai. Regular readers will be aware that this tree was chopped back from a much larger one in March 2015. At that time I did some basic carving on the large cut with a view to returning to it at a later date.

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The original chop was at the back of the tree and not visible from the front. For that reason it can not be considered as an important element in the new look of the tree but it is important that it should look as natural as possible. This is how it looked after the initial work in 201538

This is how it looked prior to todays’ work and after 2 seasons of weathering.

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This is how it looks at the moment after a little more refinement today.

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This picture shows that the chop is virtually invisible from the front

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A reminder of how it looked before the big chop of 2015

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The reasons why this tree was chopped back and started again can be found by clicking the link to this earlier post

Raw Material for the Future

During Gerry’s visit last week, we potted  some of our raw material into wooden boxes to help with their development. I worked on trident maples that I acquired as a mini forest planting a few years ago. I am growing them in large shallow boxes to develop the nebari and it seems to be working well.

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I plan to make a shohin tree from this one, so I may begin chopping it back this week

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The nebari on this one is beginning to look nice but I would like to see it grow much bigger. This one was potted up into a wider box.

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Gerry wanted to pot a nice juniper prostrate that he brought back from Noelander’s.

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It was in a peaty soil, which had to be removed.

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This how it looks at the moment in its new box with a slight change in the planting angle.

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Its an interesting tree with future possibilities from several angles of view.

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Lanarkshire Bonsai Club Meeting 02/04/2017

I stopped off today, at the monthly meeting of the Lanarkshire Bonsai Club, for a coffee and some bonsai chat. When I arrived Robert Porch was just finishing his pre-arranged talk.

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Here are some pics of the people and trees that were there today

Dougie Smith conducting a potting class

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Club member George working on his Deshojo maple

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Ian McMaster’s chuhin Chojubai

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Gordon’s shohin Chojubai

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Robert Porch’s Prunus Spinosa in flower

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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

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And this is how it looks at the moment

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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

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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.

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

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.