Shohin Juniper Rigida; 3 Years Development

This shohin Juniper Rigida belongs to my friend Gerry but I have been closely involved with its development over the past 3 years. I have had difficulty maintaining the health and vigour of this species in the past but this one is quite different. It has grown with strength  right from the start and it responds well to interventions like re-potting and wiring. This is how it looked in 2014 when he acquired it.


I gave it an initial styling in 2015 and it was potted on into the larger pot you can see in the next picture to build up some energy in the roots.


As we looked at this tree we were happy with the styling but the planting angle wasn’t quite correct; it needed more of a tilt to the right. Early in 2017, the roots were trimmed and the tree was re-potted at the correct angle. This is how it looked at that time.


Today, I trimmed back the foliage and wired the tree for a second time. I also transferred it to a nice pot by Peter Krebs. This wasn’t strictly a re-pot as there was virtually no root disturbance. This is how it looks at the moment.




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.


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.


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.


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.


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


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.


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


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


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


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


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.


An idyllic way to spend a summers day.



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.


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.


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.


This Chinese juniper also needed a trim


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.


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.


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.


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


Juniper Rigida Shohin in Development

This is another tree belonging to my friend Gerry that received some seasonal maintenance at our “get together” last week. It’s a shohin sized juniper rigida that was repotted earlier this year.


This is a reminder of how it looked when he acquired it last year.

Juniper Rigida Before

And this is how it looks one year on. It’s proving to be a very vigorous grower indeed.


We cleaned it up and gave it a little trim. I think next year it would benefit from a slight tilt to the right.


Juniper Rigida Shohin Re-Pot

I have finally got round to re-potting my Juniper Rigida shohin. It has been in this unsuitable semi-cascade pot since I acquired it last year.


Those of you who follow my blog on a regular basis will know that I have been concerned about the health of this tree since I bought it. A significant part of the dead wood was rotten and the new shoots that emerged over last summer were very yellow and never really hardened off to a healthy green colour despite the application of copious amounts of balanced fertiliser. The rot, which suggested neglect of the tree in the years before I acquired it, has been removed and the remaining dead wood treated with a wood hardener. The yellow shoots are still a bit of a mystery at the moment but I suspect that it may be the result of a mineral deficiency in the soil, possibly a lack of magnesium. Time will tell.

I had some difficulty removing the tree from the old pot, which suggested that it hadn’t been re-potted in a long time. The top layer of soil was very decomposed and wet and contained no live roots. The lower half was slightly better and contained all of the live root.


Here it is today re-potted in fresh soil, which will let the roots breath, in a new pot by Ikkou Watanabe. I haven’t decided which side will form the viewing front of the tree, both have good potential, I think. I have covered the soil in sphagnum moss to help mitigate the stresses of the re-pot.



Sun, Small Trees and Good Company

Yesterday, I travelled northward to meet up with my good friend Gerry for our customary mid week get together to discuss and work on our trees. I really look forward to these days, it’s a real pleasure to meet up with friends and be able to share in joy of bonsai with others, who enjoy it as much as I do.


Gerry preparing his Fuji cherry in readiness for a re-pot


Gerry’s first attempt at air layering a horse chestnut has been very successful.


Transplanted into a pond basket to develop the roots further


This juniper rigida, which I initially styled last year, which appears on my new before and after page, needed a more appropriate pot and a slight change of angle.


This is how it’s looking at the moment in a new zenigo pot


This small white pine was chopped back and re-potted


Her it is after the work in a new yamaaki cascade pot


As always, the time passed all too quickly, but we do have next week to look forward to. Lets hope the weather stays fine.