More trees re-potted today

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.

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Chinese Elm, acquired a few years ago from Homebase, planted up today into a cream rectangle from Walsall Ceramics.

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Kiyohime Maple re-planted in its green pot by Heian Kosen

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And finally my favourite Larch had its roots trimmed too and was re-planted in its Walsall pot.

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Winter has come to Scotland

The night time temperatures have plummeted in my part of Scotland this week to around -5 degrees C., heralding an early start to our winter. I still have some trees outside but they will all have to come inside today.

Here is a photograph of one of my Scots Pines, which I took this morning. It will give you an idea of the conditions that the trees are putting up with at the moment.

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Remarkably, this Kiyohime maple, which has been in the greenhouse for about a month is still managing to cling on to its’ Autumn colour. It’s the last of my deciduous trees to do so.

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Defoliating Deciduous Bonsai

The process of defoliation is an essential technique in the development of deciduous bonsai. It allows light into the interior of the tree, which encourages back budding resulting in denser ramification of the branches. The second flush of new leaves that are produced as a result of defoliation are normally much smaller than the first flush.

Trees can be either fully defoliated or partially defoliated. It is a stressful process for a tree to have all or most of its leaves removed during the growing season and it should only be carried out when you are sure that the tree is strong and healthy. Full defoliation is the more stressful of the two. It’s a useful technique to use on a finished tree, when you are thinking of putting it into a show and you want the leaves to look as small and as fresh as possible. Partial defoliation is less risky and is the ideal option for tress in development.

Here are some trees that I have partially defoliated today.

Trident Maple before

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Trident Maple after

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Small Trident over Rock before

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Small Trident over Rock after

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Kiyohime Maple before

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Kiyohome Maple after

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Deshojo Maple before

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Deshojo Maple after

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Small Deshojo before

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Small Deshojo after

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Midweek Getogether with Gerry

My good friend Gerry paid me a visit today to catch up on the local bonsai news and to see how my trees have been progressing in the early spring sunshine. Gerry and I live about 75 miles apart and the climate in both our backyards is quite different. I have had a little more sun recently so my trees are slightly ahead of his.

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Here are a few trees that had our attention today.

One of my shohin hawthorns. This tree was re-potted last year so it only required some weeding, moss removal and refreshment of the top layer of soil.

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This kiyohime maple was also re-potted last year so only required a clean up today.

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Gerry brought along a small trident over rock and a seka hinoki for discussion. The trident has some nice ramification already but the new growth in the lower right branch needs to be developed outward to accentuate the movement in that direction. I think he’s also planning to re-pot it next week.

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This little hinoki definitely needs a change in planting angle this year.

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This is one possibility that we considered. It might also benefit from a slightly deeper pot.

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Gerry also brought me news that Wattston Bonsai will be receiving their new stock from Japan on Friday. I will certainly have to make a trip up there this weekend.

Deciduous Shohin in Late Winter

Now that the winter maintenance on my larches has been completed for another year it’s time to start work on my deciduous trees. Here is a group picture of some of the better ones I will be working on this week, weather permitting of course.

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The daytime temperatures in my greenhouse are beginning to rise and the buds are starting to swell but with night time temperatures likely to fall below zero, extra vigilance is required to ensure that no damage is done. This is the riskiest time of year for small trees in small pots.