Its been a slow start to the season and most things in the garden are about 4 weeks behind where they were last year but the weather has warmed up and the sun is out and my trees are beginning to grow again, at last.
This little hawthorn was re-potted recently into a beautiful Ian Baillie shohin pot.
This is how the same tree looked back in 2012
This is another little hawthorn, whose buds are beginning to open. Its in a nice green pot by Eimei at the Yozan Kiln.
and this is how it looked in 2012
Here are a few more trees that are beginning to glow with their new growth
3 of my medium sized larches
My shohin Japanese Yew
This little cotoneaster fell of the shelf and its original pot was broken. Here it is now in another pot by Eimei.
2 shohin Shimpaku Junipers
The rain stopped today so I was able to go outside and continue my re-potting. The first up was the first tree I ever purchased back in 1999 if memory serves me right. I keep this tree in a small pot so it has to be re-potted every year. This is how it looks at the moment. I’ve probably photographed this tree more than any other in my collection but I never tire of looking at it.
The following trees are ones that have been newly styled or re-worked recently. The next tree was chopped back to 2 branches a couple of years ago. I’ve never been entirely happy with it, the lower branch grew too thick and looked out of balance with the upper branch. I think chopping larch back to single branch gives a far more pleasing result, so I decided to cut it back severely and start again. This is how it looked at the start of the year.
and this is how it looks at the moment.
The next one had similar problems to the previous one so I decided to jin the upper part of the tree and work only with the lowest branch. This is how it looks now after re-potting into a new round pot.
The last one today was styled for the first time just over a week ago. It needed a change of angle. This is how it looks now in a new pot by Eimei.
Looks good on a root stand too
Its certainly been one of the coldest winters I have experienced since I stated out in this hobby but thankfully its almost at an end. For the past few days we’ve had some warmth in the sun during the day although its still below freezing at night. This has meant that I have been able to spend a couple of full days working on my trees; this is the first time I’ve been able to do this for almost 4 months.
This is how the garden looked this morning in glorious sunshine.
I used the time to wire my larches and prepare them for the new season. The first one has grown very well in the 2 years that have passed since it was first styled. This is how it looks at the moment.
This is how it looked after the first styling in 2016.
The next 2 were given their first styling today. The first one has a contorted trunk. I wired the trunk last year and its now holding its shape without wire. This is how it looked before todays work.
and this is how it looks at the moment. It will be re-potted in a week or twos time.
I have never been entirely happy with this next tree and felt that I had to take dramatic action to improve this one. This is how it looked before todays work.
I decided to jin the top of the tree and continue its development using only the lowest branch.
Here’s a few more that have had my attention in the past few days
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.
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 2015
This is how it looked prior to todays’ work and after 2 seasons of weathering.
This is how it looks at the moment after a little more refinement today.
This picture shows that the chop is virtually invisible from the front
A reminder of how it looked before the big chop of 2015
The reasons why this tree was chopped back and started again can be found by clicking the link to this earlier post
Here are a few more trees that I re-potted today
Potentilla Fruticosa in a new Chinese pot. This shohin tree has been developed from garden centre material.
Chinese Elm, acquired a few years ago from Homebase, planted up today into a cream rectangle from Walsall Ceramics.
Kiyohime Maple re-planted in its green pot by Heian Kosen
And finally my favourite Larch had its roots trimmed too and was re-planted in its Walsall pot.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
This tree was wired and styled for the first time in February 2016. Regular readers will remember that it was cut back from a larger one in 2015
An earlier post that explains why the tree was cut back and started again can be found by clicking on the link. The intention of the first wiring was to set the primary branches and to form a new apex. The next picture, which was taken after the wire was removed shows how successful this has been within a single season.
All the unnecessary growth has been pruned off to encourage finer ramification and the tree has been rewired today. This is how it looks at the moment.
Here are some more pictures of the autumn colour on one of my Japanese Larch bonsai. This tree has never looked better than it has this year.
From the front
From the left side
From the back
From the right side
Autumn has well and truly arrived in my part of the world. Here are some pictures taken today, of trees on my benches, which are looking at their best at the moment.