The rain stopped today so I was able to go outside and continue my re-potting. The first up was the first tree I ever purchased back in 1999 if memory serves me right. I keep this tree in a small pot so it has to be re-potted every year. This is how it looks at the moment. I’ve probably photographed this tree more than any other in my collection but I never tire of looking at it.
The following trees are ones that have been newly styled or re-worked recently. The next tree was chopped back to 2 branches a couple of years ago. I’ve never been entirely happy with it, the lower branch grew too thick and looked out of balance with the upper branch. I think chopping larch back to single branch gives a far more pleasing result, so I decided to cut it back severely and start again. This is how it looked at the start of the year.
and this is how it looks at the moment.
The next one had similar problems to the previous one so I decided to jin the upper part of the tree and work only with the lowest branch. This is how it looks now after re-potting into a new round pot.
The last one today was styled for the first time just over a week ago. It needed a change of angle. This is how it looks now in a new pot by Eimei.
Looks good on a root stand too
Today was the warmest day this year: in fact it was the first day this year that the automatic vents in my greenhouse have opened, Spring is not far away.
I acquired this yamadori hawthorn from a friend in August last year. It has interesting movement and old bark in the lower trunk and I have been keen to get it out of the organic soil mix it has been growing in and into a mix with better drainage. This is how it looked when I acquired it.
This is how it looked this morning without the leaves. Most of the branches are too thick to be of use in the future design.
The next picture shows the new front after re-potting and the removal of many unnecessary branches. I am very happy with this purchase and look forward to see how it develops in the future.
As the days get longer and a little warmer, the buds continue to swell and the window of opportunity for the re-potting of deciduous trees is coming to an end. I still have quite a few to do and they will all have to be completed before the weekend
Here are 2 that I did this morning. The first is a shohin cotoneaster microphyla. I have been developing this tree from garden centre stock for about 5 years now and its really beginning to look good. The last of the thicker roots were removed today and it has been re-planted in its yellow Shibakatsu pot with a slight change of front.
This is a reminder how it looked when I acquired it
I also re-potted my latest acquisition, this shohin trident maple. It’s now housed in a nice old blue glazed rectangle by the second generation Tosui potter, Mizuno Masao
When Gerry visited me this week with some trees, we decided to re-pot this Chinese elm which had been attached to a rock by Gerry 3 seasons ago. After its first year in a pot, it was re-planted into the pond basket that you can see in the following picture. The purpose of this was to allow roots to develop in the area below the rock.
This is how it looked from the front before todays’ work
And from the back
After 2 seasons in the pond basket, it had grown enough new roots for it to be re-planted in a shallower bonsai pot. This is how it looks at the moment from the front. After it has settled in the new pot, the fine roots that are still visible above the soil will be removed with scissors.
This is how it looks from the back
This is the oldest picture I have of the tree from 3 years ago
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.
Chinese Elm, acquired a few years ago from Homebase, planted up today into a cream rectangle from Walsall Ceramics.
Kiyohime Maple re-planted in its green pot by Heian Kosen
And finally my favourite Larch had its roots trimmed too and was re-planted in its Walsall pot.
Its been about 3 years since the trees that I worked on today were last re-potted. In that period, the roots have filled the pots and growth has slowed down as a result of that. The first 2 are larches in development that are beginning to look good and now deserve to be planted in better quality pots.
Larch 1 before
When deciding when to re-pot a larch, I tend to wait until the weather warms up and the buds begin to swell as can be seen in the following picture.
Often, in the past, when I’ve re-wired trees into their new pots, I have discovered that the desired centre line of the tree in the pot is not where I planed it to be. It is worth taking care at this stage to ensure that the tree is positioned exactly where you want it to be; because if it isn’t, it may be a few years before its corrected.
This is how the first tree looks at the moment in its new Walsall Ceramics pot.
The second larch before
And this is how it looks now in a new oval pot by Walsall Ceramics
Next up was my Shishigashira maple which has been in this nice Walsall pot for several years now.
This is how it looks at the moment in a new oval pot by Eimei at the Yozan kiln.
And finally, I finished today by re-potting my shohin cork bark elm. Its been in this little green Erin pot for a few years now and will remain there for the foreseeable future. It needed a clean to remove the winter algae and moss. This is how it looked before todays work.
And this is how it looks at the moment
When I met up with Gerry this week we decided to re-pot 2 recently acquired pieces of raw material into large wooden boxes, to speed up their development.
The first is a fairly large hawthorn with lovely movement in the trunk and nice aging bark but it lacks ramification. The pot that its currently housed in is ideal for a finished tree but a little small for a tree in development. The visible roots also need some work; that large root moving off to the right will have to be removed at some stage.
When the tree was removed from the pot, we could see that it had not been in there very long as the soil was not full of fine roots. The tree was potted up into the large wooden box you can see in the next picture without any further work for the present. It will remain here for the next few years, while the lower branches and roots continue to develop.
The second tree is a scots pine. When acquired, it came in a plastic washing up basin and the soil had a high proportion of soggy organic material in it. I do not like to see trees planted in wash basins because they are flat bottomed and when they are placed on the ground, this can inhibit drainage.
Our first priority was to remove it from the basin and get it into a better draining soil mix of akadama, kiryu and pumice.
This is how it looks at the moment. The plan for the immediate future is to fertilise this tree regularly to encourage back budding and reduce the length of the lower branches
With the recent warmer weather, the buds on some of my hawthorns are beginning to swell which is a sure indicator that it’s time to re-pot those that were missed last year.
The first is an air layer that was severed from the parent tree 2 seasons ago. At the time, it didn’t have many roots so it was planted deep in a clay training pot to strengthen it up. The first picture is a reminder of how the roots looked before planting in the clay pot.
With the tree out of the pot, you can see that there are a lot more roots now and the tree is ready to be placed in its’ first bonsai pot.
I have chosen a nice cream oval by Walsall Ceramics for this one. I love the quality of this range of pots; plenty of holes for drainage and the securing wires.
I’ve used a 50/50 mix of pumice and akadama to pot these trees. The nebari on this one is buried in the soil for now to make the tree more stable on the pot. It will be raised above the soil when the roots have developed further. This is how it looks at the moment.
This is how it looked in 2012
I am developing this second tree from a contorted root. It hasn’t put on much new growth in the past 12 month and I suspect it is because the tree has become pot bound.
With the tree out of the pot and the roots trimmed ready for re-planting.
This new pot by Eimei is a little larger than the previous one so I should see a lot more growth on this tree in the coming year
This is how the second tree looked in 2012