Scots Pine re-potted Today

Today I spent some time re-potting the Scots Pine that was rewired over the winter. It also required a slight change of angle. This is a reminder of how it looked before todays’ work.

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And this is how it looks at the moment in a new Chinese drum pot, which is more in proportion with the tree.

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Here it is again, almost complete and back out on its’ plinth.

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Scots Pine 2nd Wiring

I acquired this medium sized Pinus Sylvestris in 2016 from a friend. I was attracted by the taper and movement in the trunk and I felt that given time I could make a nice bonsai from this material. The first picture shows the tree soon after I brought it home, having re-potted it into a good free draining soil mix and removed a few leggy lower branches that didn’t form part of my plan for the trees’ future.

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The second picture shows the tree in 2017 immediately after the first styling.

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The next picture was taken in 2018 and you can see that it has filled out well in that time.

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At the end of 2018, I thinned the needles to allow more light into the middle of the tree and to facilitate re-wiring in the new year.

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A few weeks ago I re-wired the tree for the second time. I think it is shaping up well. At the next re-pot, which should take place in the next few weeks, the front will be moved by a few degrees to show more of the movement in the trunk. the next picture shows how it looks at the moment.

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Some Trees in Development

This post is looking at progress that has been made this year on trees I have been developing during my weekly sessions with Gerry.

The first is a Blaauws Juniper That was given to me as raw material by Philip Donnelly of Belfast Bonsai in 2015. It had a lot of thick branches that grew off the main trunk at awkward angles. The first job in 2016 was to cut it back to a simple outline retaining the one branch that was suitably positioned for the future development of a bonsai. This is how it looked at that time.

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Since this initial work I have been feeding the tree with high nitrogen fertiliser to promote strong growth in the foliage and I have also begun to create some jins from the branches that were removed and a shari on the main trunk. This work was done in stages over the past 12 months as the pictures will show.

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In the future, I intend to reduce the apex by about half and I hope to develop the tree as a semi-cascade.

The next tree is Gerry’s large hawthorn. It has good movement and taper in the trunk but at the start of this year it had very few branches and we hadn’t decided which side would be the front. We decided to plant it in a large box to push out lots of new growth. This is how it looked at the start of the season.

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This is how it looks at the moment after a full seasons growth in the box. The first picture shows what will probably be the new front

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The third tree today is a literati pine which was wired for the first time in August 2015. This proved to be a mistake as the weather following the initial styling was very hot and the tree suffered losing several  branches. This is how it looked at that time.

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It was rewired today having had 2 years to recover and the front is now at the opposite side

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This was the original tree in 2011

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Pinus Sylvestris First Styling

I acquired this thin trunk Scots Pine a little over a year ago from a friend. Some long thin branches at the base of the trunk were removed and the tree was re-potted into a clay pot with a good free draining soil mix. This is how it looked after the initial work.

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and this is how it looked at the beginning of this week, 16 months after the previous picture was taken.

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The needles were thinned ready for wiring and I jinned the stubs at the base of the trunk.

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After thining out the foliage

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This is how it looks at the moment, not bad for a £30.00 purchase.

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Re-Potting for Development

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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Rewiring a Literati Scots Pine

I had a visit from my good friend Gerry earlier in the week. He brought along a Scots Pine to get some advice on the next stage of its development. I have had a close involvement with this tree over the past 3 years. We agreed some time ago that the best way forward for this tree would be to train it as a Literati pine.

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This is how it looked before this weeks work. After much deliberation we decided that the lowest right hand branch should be removed to emphasise the trees’ natural movement to the left

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The next picture shows the lower right branch with foliage removed and the remainder of the branch jined. The lower left branch has also been thinned and wired into place. This is as far as we got during Gerry’s visit

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He kindly left the tree with me and I was able to finish the wiring at the weekend

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This is how it looks at the moment

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This is how it looked after the previous wiring in 2015

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And this is the earliest picture I have of the tree taken in 2014

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2 Shohin Pinus Sylvestris in Development

Here are 2 future shohin Pinus Sylvestris trees that I have in development at the moment. Both have quite a way to go but it’s that journey which gives me most pleasure in the hobby.

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This is how it looked last year before its’ first styling

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I started the next one about 4 years ago while it was still in the ground. The main trunk was chopped back which forced a lot of new shoots close to the trunk in a single season, many of these are now forming branches.

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A Great Way to Spend an Evening

Its rare in my experience that I get the opportunity to visit the garden of a fellow bonsai enthusiast. This week was an exception as Sauro, a friend from Glasgow, invited me over to see his extensive collection of trees and pots. Sauro, like myself, has a passion for smaller trees. Here are a few photographs of some of the trees that caught my attention. Apologies for the quality of some pictures, this was due to the strong evening sunlight.

Sauro on the right and Gordon on the left enjoying the evening sun.

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An overview of the garden

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Shohin white pine with a lichen covered trunk

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Twisted trunk scots pine, these are a speciality of Sauro.

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Nothofagus

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Cork bark black pine

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cotoneaster

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Thyme

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Larch

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This larger semi cascade scots pine was styled over the winter by Bjorn Bjorholm, no less

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Sauro’s dog Max, a poodle with attitude.

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Many thanks to Sauro for a terrific evening and to Margaret for a lovely meal.

Lanarkshire Bonsai Club Meeting 03/04/2016

It was a busy day yesterday at Wattston Bonsai for the April meeting of the Lanarkshire Bonsai Club. The weather was kind, which meant that a good number of members attended to catch up on the news, work on their trees and stock up on supplies for the new season. Here are some pictures from the day.

Maurice, the club’s representative at the Scottish Bonsai Association, getting ready for an announcement.

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Totally focussed on their trees

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Dougie advising Gavin on the styling of a Juniper with Murray looking on.

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Stuart decided to work his hinoki outside in the afternoon sun

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A few of the members trees

Stuart’s prunus kojo no mai in full bloom

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Ian’s chuhin scots pine

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A few new arrivals on the Dougie’s sales benches.

shohin white pine

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Large cone shaped yama momiji with great future potential

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Lovely large itoigawa juniper with amazing character

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Nice multi trunked maple

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A New Home For Old Trees

I attended a local garage sale at the weekend because I had noticed that they were selling off some bonsai pots and tools. When I arrived I was surprised at the number of pots they had in their garage. I also noticed some bonsai trees sitting on a wall in the garden. I enquired about them and discovered that they formed part of the collection of the co-owner of the property, who had died a few years previously. The trees were clearly good quality specimens that had suffered in recent times due to a lack of maintenance. I asked if they would consider selling them to me, which they agreed to do.

Here are a few pictures of the trees as they arrived in my garden.

A Chinese Juniper 70 cm tall, its suffered considerable dieback in the foliage but I am hopeful I can revive it.

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A cascading Scots Pine, 40cm above the pot rim. It too has suffered considerable die back but these are tough trees and I’m confident I can restore its vigour.

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A large Hornbeam over a metre tall with a terrific nebari in a Derek Aspinall pot with a width of 80cm. Again it has suffered the loss of a few branches but nothing that can’t be replaced given time.(I’ve just been informed that this might actually be a Japanese Beech, a species I’m not familiar with. If anyone recognises this tree I would be interested to find out more about its history.)

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I’m really looking forward to working on these trees and seeing how they develop in the future

Here is a picture of the pots I acquired

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