Re-potting Shohin Junipers in Summer

During a recent visit from my friend Gerry, we decided to re-pot 3 shohin junipers that we have been developing for a number of years. Certain species of juniper have a reputation for reacting negatively to any intervention carried out at the wrong time of year. This can result in a reversion to juvenile foliage or worst still, a general weakening of the tree leaving it susceptible to fungal infection. From costly experience, I now re-pot all of my junipers in June or July, when the weather here in Scotland tends to be a little less extreme.

I acquired this  tree and first styled it in 2011. This is how it looked at that time.

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I re-potted the tree in the Spring of 2012 and it wasn’t happy at all as you can see in the next picture. The foliage grew weak and by the Summer of that year it had contracted a bad case of juniper tip blight.

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The decline continued into 2013 but by the end of the season it was beginning to show signs of recovery. In 2014 I was able to do a little more work on it. The foliage had recovered but there had been a lot of dieback so it still looked thin.

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Its taken a further 3 years of pruning and feeding to make the tree compact and strong again. This is how it looks at the moment after a recent re-pot and a change of angle. The next job will be to re-wire and position  the new branches when it has rested sufficiently.

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The second tree was given to me by a friend in 2014. This how it looked at that time.

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It was an awkward looking thing with most of the growth to the right hand side. I decided to start by introducing a shari and some jins.

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This is how it looked after pruning and re-potting in 2015.

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2 years later, the canopy has filled out and it has had a slight change of angle

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The last one for today is a needle juniper belonging to Gerry. Unlike the others this tree is very vigorous and needs regular pruning to keep it in shape . He acquired it in 2014 and this is its second re-pot. This is how it looked in 2014

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This is how it looked after its first styling in 2015.

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We weren’t entirely happy with the planting angle or the pot in the previous picture so that has been changed this time around. we have planted it temporarily in a training pot until a more suitable one turns up.

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An idyllic way to spend a summers day.

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Get Together in the Sun

I had my friend Gerry in the garden today for our regular bonsai get together. It was the hottest day of the year so far and with the trees growing like wildfire there was plenty of maintenance needed.

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This is Gerry’s shohin juniper rigida,  a very vigorous little tree, which was needing to be trimmed back into shape.

This is how it looked before todays’ work.

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And this is how it looked after the work. We will probably re-plant this into a small round pot in the next week or 2.

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This Chinese juniper also needed a trim

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Thinned out to allow light into the interior. We are only at the start of the growing season here and this tree will put on a lot more growth before its over. It will need to be thinned again and fully re-wired towards the end of the season.

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I even manage to wire a few of my own trees in the late afternoon.

This white pine was wired to open up the foliage a little.

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This potentilla stump, collected from a friends garden and started as a bonsai last year, was wired for the first time today. Still a long way to go with this one but terrific potential in there.

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All in all, a great day in great company with great weather too.

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Lanarkshire Bonsai Club Meeting 03/04/2016

It was a busy day yesterday at Wattston Bonsai for the April meeting of the Lanarkshire Bonsai Club. The weather was kind, which meant that a good number of members attended to catch up on the news, work on their trees and stock up on supplies for the new season. Here are some pictures from the day.

Maurice, the club’s representative at the Scottish Bonsai Association, getting ready for an announcement.

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Totally focussed on their trees

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Dougie advising Gavin on the styling of a Juniper with Murray looking on.

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Stuart decided to work his hinoki outside in the afternoon sun

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A few of the members trees

Stuart’s prunus kojo no mai in full bloom

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Ian’s chuhin scots pine

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A few new arrivals on the Dougie’s sales benches.

shohin white pine

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Large cone shaped yama momiji with great future potential

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Lovely large itoigawa juniper with amazing character

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Nice multi trunked maple

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A New Home For Old Trees

I attended a local garage sale at the weekend because I had noticed that they were selling off some bonsai pots and tools. When I arrived I was surprised at the number of pots they had in their garage. I also noticed some bonsai trees sitting on a wall in the garden. I enquired about them and discovered that they formed part of the collection of the co-owner of the property, who had died a few years previously. The trees were clearly good quality specimens that had suffered in recent times due to a lack of maintenance. I asked if they would consider selling them to me, which they agreed to do.

Here are a few pictures of the trees as they arrived in my garden.

A Chinese Juniper 70 cm tall, its suffered considerable dieback in the foliage but I am hopeful I can revive it.

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A cascading Scots Pine, 40cm above the pot rim. It too has suffered considerable die back but these are tough trees and I’m confident I can restore its vigour.

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A large Hornbeam over a metre tall with a terrific nebari in a Derek Aspinall pot with a width of 80cm. Again it has suffered the loss of a few branches but nothing that can’t be replaced given time.(I’ve just been informed that this might actually be a Japanese Beech, a species I’m not familiar with. If anyone recognises this tree I would be interested to find out more about its history.)

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I’m really looking forward to working on these trees and seeing how they develop in the future

Here is a picture of the pots I acquired

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