Lonicera Nitida in Development

It’s the middle of Summer and the trees are growing vigorously so I thought I would take a break from the endless routine of pruning to review the progress of a piece of raw material that was removed from my garden 3 years ago. It’s a Lonicera Nitida, a shrub that is used extensively in the UK as a hedging plant and more commonly in recent years, as a substitute for box hedging, which has fallen victim to the dreaded box blight.

This is how it looks at the moment It was re-potted into the pot you can see in the following photographs in the Spring with a change in the planting angle. This will facilitate its’ continued development as a semi cascade bonsai. The ramification has a considerable way to go but already after only 3 years you can now see the future potential in this little tree.


Here are some earlier images which show its progress over the last 3 years.

May 2015


The beginning back in May 2014



Larches in Development

Its still far too cold and wet here, for working outside.


So I’ve brought a few larches in development indoors to continue working on their progress. The first 2 have featured in an earlier post, which can be accessed by clicking on the following link Reworking Some Larches. There you will find some  pictures of the trees in their earlier form.

The first one was chopped back to 2 branches in March 2015 and the branch on the right was wired upward to form a new upper trunk and apex. In the first picture, the wire has been removed and the new apex is supporting itself. It’s still a little straight and will be wired again to create more movement. The lower branch has grown with great vigour in the past year. There is a risk that the secondary branches will thicken too quickly if left untouched. This branch will be pruned heavily to restore an overall balance in the whole composition


This is how it looks at the moment after some pruning, branch selection and rewiring.


This second tree was started a year earlier than the last one. Its growth, this year, has been less vigorous than the previous tree but it does continue to move forward


Here is how it looks today after rewiring. I think next year, I will prune off the top 3 inches of the apex, which hopefully will give the tree a more mature look.


I don’t think I have ever photographed the next tree before. It too was started in March last year from a piece of raw material that was collected several years before. The lower trunk is very straight, lacks taper and has no perceptible nebari. All the interesting movement and taper is in the central third of the tree.


This is how it looks at the moment. The top has been cut back and the central section rewired. The tree will  be air layered this year at the point where the red line intersects the trunk in the next picture. This should hopefully create a more pleasing image in the future


Collected Potentilla Fruticosa

I collected this potentilla fruticosa from a friends garden last year. I was attracted by the movement and character in the old trunk. I think it has the potential to make a nice semi cascade bonsai in the coming years. Earlier today, I did a little carving on the chopped ends of the old branches. This is how it looks at the moment.



Acer Shishishigira gets some Late Summer Maintenance

My Acer Shishishigira has been a little neglected in recent weeks and is badly in need of some TLC. The canopy is very full and needs to be thinned out to allow light into the interior; and the moss is obscuring one of the best features of the tree, the nebari.


After about an hours work, I’ve removed about half of the foliage (although you wouldn’t think so from the picture) and the nebari is visible again.


This is how it is looking at the moment.


Buxus Sempervirens Kifu Bonsai

It has been just over a year since this boxwood last featured on my blog.

This is how it looked in June 2014, when it was re-potted into this blue glazed rectangle


I have kept this tree in a sheltered shaded position to avoid the scorching of the foliage, which is so common on potted boxwoods, grown in full sun, in this part of the world. It has worked  well, as this year it has pushed out a lot of new healthy green growth.


This is how it is looking today after a much needed trim.


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.


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


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.


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


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


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







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.



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.



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.

Kifu Itoigawa Juniper Re-Pot

This is the last of my trees to be re-potted this year. It’s my workshop Juniper from last year. Regular followers may remember that this is the tree that I took to the Marc Noelanders workshop last summer.

Here are the before and after pictures from the workshop last year

Itoigawa Juniper Before

Itoigawa Juniper After

And this is how it’s looking at the moment in a rather large Yamaaki pot. I had to remove a few large roots to get it into this pot and a few more will have to be removed in the future to get it into a well proportioned show pot.


I think it is looking great considering that its only a year since it’s first major styling. It promises to be an excellent tree in the future


Getting Ready For The Show Part 1

For the past few days, I have been making the necessary preparations to get my trees ready for the Scottish Bonsai Show, which takes place in the seaside town of Troon, this coming Sunday. I will be entering four of my trees in our club display and one other in the separate shohin competition.

My kifu Acer Shishishigira will be displayed on its own at one end of the club’s small tree display. I have 2 options for a display table for this tree.

Option 1 Large table


Option 2. Smaller Table


I think I might go with the larger table but I would be interested to hear what others think

I will post pictures of the other trees tomorrow.