We’ve had sub zero temperatures in southern Scotland for a few weeks now, but today we had our first significant snowfall of the winter.
Work doesn’t stop completely at this time of year; there’s still plenty to do, but the cold certainly slows down progress. Gerry and I are still meeting regularly and we bring a few trees inside to work on but we spend most of the time chatting, drinking coffee and trying to keep warm.
Todays’ snow was accompanied by a slight rise in temperature, which enabled me to open the greenhouse door, which has been frozen shut for about a week; so I brought a few deciduous trees inside to photograph them in their winter image. I do this every winter so that I can compare the change in ramification with previous years.
Deshojo maple shohin
This is how it looked in 2013
This is how my Shishigasira maple is looking at the moment
And this is how it looked in 2013
Japananese Larch winter 2017
Same tree in 2012
Trident maple 2017
Trident maple 2014
Here’s another shohin trident in winter image. I acquired this one at the beginning of the year so I have no earlier images to compare it to…..yet!
Gerry and I have started the end of year maintenance on our pines. This normally involves the thinning of the old needles and some of this seasons too, in areas of strong growth. When the thinning is complete, the trees have to be partially or totally re-wired to accommodate the new growth.
The first one I tackled was a Scots Pine, which had its first wiring in the literati style 3 years ago. This is how it looks at the moment after a second wiring. Unfortunately, I didn’t get a picture before todays work as its absolutely freezing in the garden and time outside was kept to a minimum.
The next picture shows how it looked some time after the first wiring in 2014. You can see that its filled out well in the intervening years
This is a reminder of how the original tree looked at the start of 2014
Gerry’s large Scots Pine also required some work. This is how it looks at the moment after thinning and wiring.
Original tree in 2014
We finished off the session by restyling a small shohin white pine. this is how it looked before.
and this is how it looks at the moment
We still have plenty more to complete in the next few weeks.
I took the opportunity today to do a little more refining on the jin and shari of a shohin yew that had its first styling one year ago.
This is how it looked before todays work.
and this is how it looks at the moment.
I think I will change the viewing angle slightly at the next re-pot to give the jin more prominence.
This is a reminder of how it looked before the first styling last year.
During a recent visit from my friend Gerry, we decided to re-pot 3 shohin junipers that we have been developing for a number of years. Certain species of juniper have a reputation for reacting negatively to any intervention carried out at the wrong time of year. This can result in a reversion to juvenile foliage or worst still, a general weakening of the tree leaving it susceptible to fungal infection. From costly experience, I now re-pot all of my junipers in June or July, when the weather here in Scotland tends to be a little less extreme.
I acquired this tree and first styled it in 2011. This is how it looked at that time.
I re-potted the tree in the Spring of 2012 and it wasn’t happy at all as you can see in the next picture. The foliage grew weak and by the Summer of that year it had contracted a bad case of juniper tip blight.
The decline continued into 2013 but by the end of the season it was beginning to show signs of recovery. In 2014 I was able to do a little more work on it. The foliage had recovered but there had been a lot of dieback so it still looked thin.
Its taken a further 3 years of pruning and feeding to make the tree compact and strong again. This is how it looks at the moment after a recent re-pot and a change of angle. The next job will be to re-wire and position the new branches when it has rested sufficiently.
The second tree was given to me by a friend in 2014. This how it looked at that time.
It was an awkward looking thing with most of the growth to the right hand side. I decided to start by introducing a shari and some jins.
This is how it looked after pruning and re-potting in 2015.
2 years later, the canopy has filled out and it has had a slight change of angle
The last one for today is a needle juniper belonging to Gerry. Unlike the others this tree is very vigorous and needs regular pruning to keep it in shape . He acquired it in 2014 and this is its second re-pot. This is how it looked in 2014
This is how it looked after its first styling in 2015.
We weren’t entirely happy with the planting angle or the pot in the previous picture so that has been changed this time around. we have planted it temporarily in a training pot until a more suitable one turns up.
An idyllic way to spend a summers day.
My satsuki azalea, which I plan to train in the exposed root style has come into flower and is looking great at the moment. I put it into this deep blue pot just over a year ago to allow the roots to develop downward. When the pot has filled with roots (hopefully next year) I will take it out of the pot and begin the process of exposing the roots.
This is how it looked in 2015
I did some work on 2 of my shohin cotoneasters today. Regular readers will remember that both these trees are being developed from the single piece of material shown in the next picture, which was collected from my garden in 2011.
The first tree, which was created from the left half of the raw material in the picture above has grown strong in the intervening years but I’ve never been entirely happy with it.
It has too many branches, reverse taper in the trunk and a poor transition through to the apex. Today I have decided to change that.. In the next picture, I have removed the lower left branch, thinned the others and done a little carving to remove some of the problem areas and improve the movement through to the apex.
In the next picture the primary branches have been wired and bent into postion and the tree is tilted to the new planting angle.
This how it looks at the moment after working the roots and repositioning it in its pot.
The trunk line is visible now and the movement through to the apex is improved. The reverse taper is still visible but better than it was.. The problem I have with this tree is that both sides of the trunk have significant areas of deadwood and I have to exercise extreme care not to severe the live veins. I will return to this at a later time when the tree has had time to recover.
The second tree is being developed from the right hand side of the raw material in the first picture. This is how it looked in 2014. It had taken 3 years to get it to this stage as it didn’t have many roots at the start.
By 2015 it was looking much stronger.
This is how it looks today after a trim and a re-wire