Juniper Squamata First Styling

Today I carried out the first styling of a Juniper Squamata, which was dug from my garden 3 years ago


The next 2 photographs are a reminder of how it looked immediately after it was removed from the ground



This is how it looked after the removal of some branches and a re-pot in 2016


This is how it looked at the start of todays work, the top has filled out well in the past year. I have decided that this side will be the future front of the tree. As I looked at this image, I felt that the top of the tree was too straight and there was more foliage at the top of the trunk than I needed to complete the image I was aiming for.


This is how it looked when the work was completed. The foliage was removed from the top of the trunk and the branches were jinned. Now, the relative proportion of the remaining foliage seems more balanced with the long thin trunk. I was also able to introduce more movement at the top of the trunk with a combination of coiled wire and guy wires


The next stages in this trees development  will be to correct the planting angle at the next re-pot; develop the foliage pads and introduce a long shari which extends the length of the trunk.


Juniper Squamata Summer Update

While working on my juniper squamata today, I took the time to look at the photographic record to compare its current state of development with how it looked in previous years. This species grows relatively slowly in a pot sized for the show bench and as is the case with most trees, the apex is far more vigorous than the lower branches.

Look how the foliage has developed over the last five years.







And now in 2016


The apex is beginning to get too wide and its starting to prevent the light from reaching the lowest branches. In the coming weeks and months, I will have to start pushing this growth back. It could be done in a single operation but the tree would look unsightly in the intervening period. The next photograph is a virtual of how I would like it to look by next summer.


Bonsai on a Summers Evening

On Wednesday evening I was invited to the garden of a friend, Peter Thorne, to see his bonsai collection. Peter is an active member of the Ayrshire group and each Wednesday during the summer he invites fellow club members along to the shed at the bottom of his garden, to work on their trees. This week 8 members turned up including myself so workspace in the shed was at a premium.


Here are some photographs of some of the trees on Peters benches, which I managed to take before it got too dark.

Large Yew with a good nebari and interesting deadwood


European Hornbeam


2 blue cedars and a Chinese juniper. the one in the centre is a stunning tree


Here are other pictures of the blue cedar and the large yew that I took at the Gardening Scotland Show last month.





A large Juniper Squamata with good future potential, I think.


This is Peter. He has his own bonsai blog, where he documents the progress of all of his trees. It’s well worth a look.


Juniper Squamata in Development

Today, I had a look at a piece of raw material that was collected from my garden 2 years ago. It is a procumbent needle foliage juniper, commonly found in gardens, that given time, makes a really nice bonsai.

This is how it looked when it was removed from the ground 2 years ago.


And this is how it looked one year on from the previous picture. They are relatively slow growing trees and in its first year of pot culture it didn’t put on much new growth. I decided at this point to leave it for another year.


After another year in the large pot it is looking a lot stronger, so I can do some more work on it now.


Today I took it out of the plastic pot, removed the remaining old garden soil and re-potted it in a good free draining soil mix, in this round drum pot. It will stay in this pot for the foreseeable future while its’ development continues.


Here is another of the same variety that was started about 12 years ago.


my juniper

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


Ayr Bonsai Club Winter Image Display

Ayr Bonsai Club are holding their Winter Image Display in the Alloway Village Hall this Sunday between 9.30 am and 3.30 pm. This is an open event and other clubs are encouraged to participate. For the past 2 years I have displayed shohin trees at this event but I am planning to rest them this year. I think I will tidy this chuhin juniper squamata in an Ian Baillie drum pot and take it along for a change. I have never displayed this tree at a show before.


Relaxing Afternoon with my Juniper Squamata

Today, in between the autumn showers and doing the final preparation of my trees for our club display at Bonsai Europa this weekend, I enjoyed a relaxing hour pruning and thinning this seasons growth on my juniper squamata.

Although it grows with great vigour that new growth is rarely placed where I would like it, so most of it has to be removed to maintain definition in the foliage pads and allow the winter light into the interior.


This is how it looked before today’s work


And this is how it looks at the moment. I will fully rewire it next year to open up the branches even more.


Juniper Squamata in Summer

My Juniper Squamata is enjoying the warmer weather at the moment and pushing out a lot of new growth. The roots of this tree were severely pruned last year to get it into this stunning pot by Ian Baillie and I am relieved to say there has been no ill effects on the trees’ vigour.


I will let it grow on throughout the remainder of our summer and redefine the foliage pads later in the year.