Shohin JBP Summer Maintenance

Today I pruned off the strong new shoots on my Japanese Black Pine shohin tree. Growth on this species is a lot slower in Scotland than it is in Japan due to our unpredictable weather and the shorter length of our growing season. It’s not guaranteed that you will get a second flush of growth at the base of pruned shoots in a single season, as far as I can tell, with only one tree to work with at the moment.

This is how it looks at the moment


and this is how it looked before todays work


I will thin out the old needles at the end of the summer and open out the new growth with some wire


Ayr Winter Image Show 2016 Pictures



I drove through blizzards and flood water yesterday to attend the third Ayr Bonsai Club Winter Image Show in the historic village of Alloway on the Ayrshire coast. The numbers of people attending this year were slightly down on previous years due to the weather but those who braved the elements and made the effort to get there were not disappointed. This show grows from strength to strength with each passing season and the quality of the trees and the way they are displayed just gets better. This year, the organisers set up an area to photograph the trees in an adjacent room, which has made a terrific difference to the picture quality.

I think my favourite tree on the day was this larch over rock created by Ian McMaster and planted on a natural stone that was collected from a beach not very far from the show venue.


There just wasn’t enough time to photograph every tree at the show so here is a gallery of those that made the biggest impact on me.

To see a larger image in gallery mode, click on any image


Some More Shohin for The Record

Following on from last weeks’ post, here are a few more recent pictures of some of my shohin trees. These are the shots that I use to measure progress over time.

I’m particularly pleased with this cotoneaster, it’s shaping up nicely and has good potential for the future


This is how it looked in March last year


The next 2 are relatively recent acquisitions, which haven’t changed much in the period I have had them.

Japanese black pine in a bigei pot. I purchased this tree at the end of last season and re=potted it this year


Japanese white pine. This tree was imported from Japan earlier this year and will be re-potted next season


Getting Ready For The Show Part 2

Here are some more pictures of the other trees that I will be taking to the Scottish Bonsai Show in Troon this Sunday.

Japanese Black Pine in a new pot by Bigei.


Dwarf Hinoki Cyprus in a pot by Hokido


Zelkova Serrata in a pot by Watanabe Ikkou


Another Zelkova Serrata in a new pot by Walsall Ceramics


The first three will be in our club’s display and the last one will be entered in the separate shohin competition.

Re-Potting Some Shohin Pines

Although the weather, so far this year in my part of the world, has been less than ideal for working on my trees, there is still a lot of re-potting to be done. This week I have started work on my pines.


The first to be tackled is this small Japanese Black Pine, which was imported from Japan last year. It’s a lovely little tree and it is growing very well at the moment but I would like to put it into a slightly larger pot to ensure that this vigour continues. The left hand side of the tree needs to fill out a little more to complete the image and the new pot should help to achieve this in the shortest possible time


Here it is in it’s new pot by Bigei


This white pine needs a new planting angle. It was styled last year and put into this Yamaaki semi-cascade pot. I have noticed since then that although it continues to grow the needles are a little more yellow than they were last year. When I removed it from the pot, I saw that there was no micorrhizal fungus in the soil, which might explain why it’s looking slightly off colour.

Japanese White Pine After (2014)

I have changed the planting angle and re-potted it into this slightly larger Bigei pot, having first given the roots a good dusting with micorrhizal fungus, Hopefully this should improve the foliage colour.


New Spring Growth

Spring is still in its early days here in Scotland, but the slight increase in light and temperature are having the desired effect. Here are some pictures of trees that are beginning to shine at the moment.

Larches are at their best as the new growth emerges.


My acer Shishishigira is well ahead of my other maples.


This Japanese black pine is beginning to respond and the foliage is taking on a richer glow.


This little prunus is well ahead of the others on my benches.