About a week ago I was thinking that Winter might be over, but its still very cold, wet and windy here. As I write this post, the snow is falling outside…again, there seems to be no end to it this year. Many of my deciduous trees, which were beginning to bud 2 or 3 weeks ago seem to have stalled, preferring to wait until the weather gets warmer. So this weekend I turned my attention to a couple of evergreens that needed some attention in preparation for the new season (whenever that may come).
The first one is a Blaauws Juniper that I acquired 2 years ago from the wife of a man who had passed away some years earlier. The first picture shows how it looked when I acquired it. It was in poor condition and much of the inner foliage and many branches had died.
I re-potted it immediately and started to give it a lot of high nitrogen fertiliser to restore the foliage colour and encourage back budding. My plan was to get new growth closer to the trunk and shorten all those branches which had become weak and over extended during the period that the tree was not being cared for. I have been following that plan for 2 seasons now and the result can be seen in the next picture.
As you can see, the foliage colour has been restored and the tree is growing much stronger. Last year I was able to remove all of the weak leggy growth in the apex. The next picture shows how it looks at the moment after shortening some of the lower branches. It still needs a few more seasons to fill out but its getting there.
The next tree today is a chuhin white pine that I have been styling for my friend Gerry. The next picture is a reminder of how it looked last year before any work.
Our first task last year was to bend the apex into an alignment above the lower trunk. This was quite a severe bend but it had set in position by the end of the season This is how it looked after last seasons work.
Its had a full seasons growth since that last picture was taken and needed some fine wiring to fill a few gaps and open up the foliage. This is how it looks at the moment.
Another seasons growth and I will be really happy with this tree but I really need to find a good pot for it this year
My chuhin potentilla has come into its’ peak flowering period and is looking good at the moment
Its amazing how quickly this tree has developed in the last 12 months. This is a reminder of how it looked in 2016
and this is how it looked in 2015
This tree has to be pruned regularly throughout the summer to maintain its shape. The leaves on the secondary branches are formed in pairs and each pair of leaves produces a new extension shoot at their union. To keep the tree in shape I prune all extension shoots back to the first pair of leaves. Flowering shoots are also produced at the point where the leaves connect with the secondary branches. I re-potted the tree in the spring but unfortunately it fell off the bench and the original pot was smashed. I’ve re-housed it in this green glazed drum pot as a temporary measure until I can have a more suitable pot made.
This is how it looked before work commenced this morning
And this is how it looks at the moment
For over a year now, I have been feeding this tree with tomato fertiliser to try and encourage more flowering and fruiting shoots. It seems to be working. Slowly but surely, as each year passes it is producing more flowers and berries.
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.
Here are some pics of the people and trees that were there today
Dougie Smith conducting a potting class
Club member George working on his Deshojo maple
Ian McMaster’s chuhin Chojubai
Gordon’s shohin Chojubai
Robert Porch’s Prunus Spinosa in flower
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
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
And this is how it looks at the moment
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
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.
And this is how it looks at the moment with the new growth wired in
This is how it looked last September with a few late flowers on it.
I de-wired and pruned my big Blaauws Juniper at the weekend in preparation for another fine wiring to open up the foliage pads. I hope to complete this work over the festive period but things sometimes take longer than expected at this time of year with the short daylight hours and the preparations for Christmas and the New Year.
This is how it looks this morning with no wire on.
This tree has come a long way in recent years and is almost at the stage where I might consider it finished, for the moment.
Here is a reminder of its’ progress
2014, after the second wiring
2013, first styling for the current look
2012, a different look
Early 2012, my first attempt at styling this tree
2011, the raw material