Some Recently Acquired Raw Material

Here are some examples of raw material that I have acquired in the past year to create bonsai from in the future.

Pinus Sylvestris, collected last year with mature bark, a thick trunk and good movement and taper at the base. Height above the pot is about 55cm at the moment


Great future potential here I think but it will need a few years more growth before it will be ready for a first styling.

Another thin trunk Pinus Sylvestris, acquired recently from a friend, which should make a nice literati in the not too distant future. About 50cm tall.


2 purple flowering examples of Rhododendron Indicum, collected by division from a large shrub in my garden, this year. I may air layer parts from these trees to increase my stock further


The journey never ends.

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


Tall Scots Pine 2nd Styling

Over our last 2 “get together” sessions, Gerry and I have been busy styling his tall scots pine.

This cultivar of pinus sylvestris, which I think is either beuvronensis or watereri has a good nebari, excellent movement in the trunk and a good dark green foliage colour. The trunk is relatively thin for its height.

Last year Gerry took this tree to a Marc Noelanders workshop to get some advice on how to take it forward. I took the first 2 pictures at the workshop last year, unfortunately I didn’t get a picture before and immediately after this work.



This is how the tree looked earlier this year when it was re-potted.


Today we completed the work in beautiful autumn sunshine.


Halfway through the process.


Work completed for now.This is how the tree is looking at the moment.



Shohin Scots Pine First Styling

A friend gave me a number of these little pines a year or 2 ago. I potted them all up but have done very little to them since. Today I decided that I would try to compress this one down to shohin size.

This is how it looked this morning before I started.


And this is how it looks at the moment,


I may put it back in the ground to thicken the trunk a little more, when the bends have set.

Pinus Sylvestris First Styling

I acquired this scots pine in April 2010. I liked the movement in the trunk and thought that it could make a nice literati at some time in the future.

This is how it looked in 2010 (Apologies for the poor quality of the picture)


In 2011, I opened up the foliage and re-planted it into this unglazed Japanese pot


In the winter of 2012 it fell off the bench and the pot was smashed. I quickly re-housed it in the pot you can see in the next picture and changed the angle of the trunk to a more upright position.


It received its first full wiring today and this is how it looks at the moment. I like this tree very much. As the foliage develops and the ramification gets tighter I think it will mature into a nice bunjin style pine.


Re-Potting a Tall Scots Pine

I had Gerry in the garden today to get some advice on the potting of one of his large pines. In a normal year it might be considered too late in the season to attempt such a thing; but this year it has been so cold and wet that all of our trees are a bit behind where they should be at this time. As the tree is very healthy and the candles have not yet fully opened, we decided to give it a go.

His plan for the future is to train this tree in the literati style, so he wanted to get the tree out of the large oval pot and into something smaller and round..

This is how it looked at the start of the work.


This is the new pot by Ian Baillie. It’s a little deeper than the old pot and the front to back measurements are the same.


Out of the old pot and it’s just a case of shaping an oval root mass into the round.


We added additional mycorrhizal fungi to the new soil mix


And this is how it looks at the moment. The tree will be kept in the shade for the next few months and the soil will be kept slightly moist until it shows strong signs of recovery.


Re-potting My Literati Pines

These 2 Scots Pines were  given their first styling in the literati style towards the end of last season and about 1 week ago, I decided that it was time to reduce the roots slightly and re-pot them as the new seasons candles were extending but were not yet fully open.

The first one is quite an old tree with very rugged bark and this is how it looked before this most recent work


This is a reminder of how it looked last season before the initial styling


This is the pot it will be housed in for the next few years. A ceramic drum pot by Scottish potter Ian Baillie


It is quite slow growing and has been in this mica training pot for about 12 years. Now that it is out of the pot I can see that it has a very dense network of fine roots, which will have to be reduced slightly to make it fit in the new pot.


Job done for the moment. This will not be the final pot for this tree, ultimately I would like to get it into something a little smaller but this size will be useful during its’ continued development.


The second tree, which requires a change of planting angle, has been in its current pot for four years. In that time it has grown vigorously and filled the pot with roots. It requires some substantial pruning of thick roots to accommodate the new planting angle.


For the moment I have re-potted it in the training pot that housed the previous tree.


This is a reminder of how it looked last year before the initial styling.