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 Year Begins

 

 

As I sit here at my laptop, reflecting on what was for us here in Scotland, one of the most challenging growing seasons in my experience. A season, which began with a bitterly cold Spring, followed by a Summer with very little sunshine; saved only by some good weather in the autumn, I thought I would share again some of the photographs which are my personal favourites and mark the highlights in my bonsai year.

Without a doubt my favourite tree this year is my Lions Head Maple which just goes from strength to strength with each passing season. It looked particularly good in Autumn this year.

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This cotoneaster has been another favourite of mine, more so because it was collected from my garden for free. It was planted in this red glazed pot by Eimei in the Summer to show off the berries and had its first outing to Bonsai Europa in October.

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This hobby is as much about the people you do it with as it is about the trees and my life would be a lot duller without my good friend Gerry and the members of The Lanarkshire Bonsai Club who feature regularly on these pages.

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The next photograph was taken in late May and it was the first occasion that all my trees were outside at the same time.

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My highlight of the Summer was our winning club display at the Scottish Bonsai Show. It’s always a joy to see trees that you have cared for displayed at their best.

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My 2 favourite junipers were both re-potted this year.

The first is a Blauws Juniper, which is almost complete. It will need a fine wiring and a good display table this year

Blauws Juniper After (2015)

The second is an Itoigawa Juniper. It is coming along well but the foliage needs more refinement and it will have to be re-planted into a slightly smaller show pot.

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A few more that are beginning to come into their own, that may venture out to the show bench this year.

Zelcova

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Potentilla

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Japanese Larch

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Cork Barked Elm

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Finally, I would like to thank all of the people who take the time to look and comment on my posts, It’s you guys that make the effort worthwhile.

HAVE A HAPPY NEW BONSAI YEAR

All Ready for Bonsai Europa

As I set off on the journey south to Bury, here’s a preview of the trees I will be contributing to the Lanarkshire Bonsai  Club display at Bonsai Europa this weekend.

Juniper over rock in a Chinese pot

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Dwarf Hinoki in a pot by Hokido

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Trident maple in autumn colour ( I just hope the leaves don’t drop off)

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Cotoneaster in a red pot by Eimei

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Zelkova in a pot by Ikkou

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Itoigawa Juniper First Wiring

Today at my midweek get together with Gerry we carried out the first wiring of a juniper that has featured in a few posts over the summer as we took a relatively inexpensive piece of imported raw material through the initial stages of the design process.

Here is a little photographic summary of the work carried out in the past few meetings.

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Front of the tree at the start of the work.

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Creation of some jins and shari.

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Foliage thinned a little more and the deadwood lime sulphured.

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This is how it looks at the moment.

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It needs to be left for a year to settle and to allow the foliage time to fill in the gaps. The deadwood will also need further refining at the next styling.

Itoigawa Juniper (late Summer Update)

I re-potted this juniper several months ago and surprisingly it has continued to grow unchecked. It has put on so much new growth in fact that there is a danger that the foliage pads could merge into a single undefined mass. Some seasonal pruning is required to allow light into the interior and keep it in shape.

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This is the tree that had its first styling one year ago, when I participated in a Marc Noelanders weekend workshop.

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It has developed very well in the past year but will probably need another growing season to get the foliage balanced precisely as I would like it.

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After half an hour I have removed a considerable amount of foliage from the interior and also a rather large branch which was obscuring the jins at the back of the tree

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With the foliage opened up a little I took the opportunity to carry out some refinement of the deadwood.

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Cleaned up with a fresh coat of lime sulphur. I just have to find the right pot and display table for this now.

Front

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Side

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Back

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Midweek Get Together

It was warm and sunny yesterday when Gerry arrived in my garden for our regular midweek “get together”. He brought along a few trees that required some work and we quickly got started on a variety of seasonal tasks.

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First up was the Juniper that we worked on last time. The deadwood that was created a few weeks ago has now dried sufficiently to allow a little more work with a power tool. We also applied a coat of lime sulphur and removed a few more unnecessary branches.

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This is how it looks at the moment, the initial wiring will be carried out in September when the growth slows down

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Here are some other small trees that needed a little seasonal maintenance.

This Chinese Elm was trimmed back and had its first wiring

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This Malus needed a trim

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Some branch selection and wiring was carried out on this little Cork Barked Elm.

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3 Recently Re-Potted Trees

Here are some studio pictures of 3 trees which have been re-potted in the past month, which are all showing good strong signs that they have been  unaffected by the root disturbance .

My new Ilex Serrata is just coming into flower.

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My root over rock juniper, still pushing out new extension shoots

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Blauws Juniper also pushing out new growth.

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Getting Decisive with a Juniper

This is another tree that we worked on yesterday, when I visited my friend Gerry. It’s an Itoigawa Juniper. Gerry has had this tree for some time but has been struggling to find the direction to take it forward. We spent about an hour studying the material and considering it’s pros and cons. At the start of our deliberations there was foliage on the lowest jinned branch in the first picture but we quickly agreed that because it was so low on the trunk, it’s contribution to any potential design solution for the tree would be limited.

Any good design for a juniper should include an impressive area of shari and jins and the remaining foliage should be arranged to display these features at their best.

With this in mind we then discussed the contribution that each of the remaining branches would make. The remaining unnecessary foliage was then removed.

The first 2 pictures show the tree at or near the start of our critique.

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The result of our initial deliberations can be seen in the next 2 pictures. We have taken the initial steps to creating an interesting area of deadwood.

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The newly cut sharis and jins will be allowed to dry for a few weeks, refined a little more and then lime sulphured. At that time we will also give the tree it’s first full wiring. I am looking forward to continuing work on this tree in a few weeks time.