One of my favourite species for bonsai, they bring joy to my heart in summer when they flower and again in autumn and winter when they are covered in red berries. Here are a few of my favourites at the moment
I’ve been developing this one for 6 years and I have never seen it look better that it looked this week
This is a reminder of how it looked at the start of its’ journey in 2012
The next 2 were made from 1 piece of raw material. This is how they look at the moment.
This is the original material in 2011
Here they are shortly after separation
This is the other one slightly earlier in 2012
Finally today, this is a new piece of raw material, that I acquired last year from a Spanish trader. I will air layer the top off and I should get 2 nice shohin cotoneasters out of this.
After one of the longest Winters in recent memory and a very poor start to the Spring some of my small trees have had difficulty in getting started this year. A few deciduous trees like maples and elms have suffered some dieback, while others have been very slow to leaf out.
Here are some recent pictures of some of my shohin trees that are looking good at the moment.
2 shohin white pines
5 shohin hawthorns
Potentilla in flower
Here are some that haven’t done so well. Incidentally, all the pictures in todays’ post were taken this morning 27/5/18.
This is a cork barked elm that was severely cut back and had its roots reduced in April. There is no dieback on this tree but its taking an awfully long time to leaf out.
This Chinese elm, also re-potted in April isn’t looking good, most of the new growth is coming off the main trunk.
This trident appears to have lost a lower branch.
This one belonging to my friend Gerry is in a very poor state at the moment.
Its not all bad. At least all of these trees are still alive and with care and attention they will look good again.
Its been a slow start to the season and most things in the garden are about 4 weeks behind where they were last year but the weather has warmed up and the sun is out and my trees are beginning to grow again, at last.
This little hawthorn was re-potted recently into a beautiful Ian Baillie shohin pot.
This is how the same tree looked back in 2012
This is another little hawthorn, whose buds are beginning to open. Its in a nice green pot by Eimei at the Yozan Kiln.
and this is how it looked in 2012
Here are a few more trees that are beginning to glow with their new growth
3 of my medium sized larches
My shohin Japanese Yew
This little cotoneaster fell of the shelf and its original pot was broken. Here it is now in another pot by Eimei.
2 shohin Shimpaku Junipers
I have been concentrating on my deciduous bonsai over the past few days. Here are some of my shohin bonsai that were re-potted.
Chinese Elm in a pot by Walsall Ceramics
Here is an earlier picture of the same tree in 2012, when I acquired it.
Trident Maple in a new pot by Koyo
Cork Barked Elm in a pot by Erin
And for comparison, the same tree in 2012
And finally for today, my other little trident in a new pot by Walsall
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
For a number of years I have been growing trident maples with a view to creating my own shohin trees. Most of my stock started life as pencil thin saplings and have been growing in boxes to thicken them up and create nice spreading root bases. A few are now at the stage where the next step in the process, chopping back the trunk, can begin.
Today I completed the work on the first of these. It’s the one you can see in the foreground of the next picture, taken last Spring.
The following pictures show a closer view of the base of the tree before the chop was carried out.
I decided to err on the side of caution and chop the tree in 2 stages. The first chop was made last Spring and this is how it looked at that time.
I am glad that I decided to complete this task in 2 stages because the tree pushed out a lot of new shoots below the first cut, which allowed me to position my second cut more accurately in relation to the new branch which will form the apex of the tree. This was how it looked at the end of last season. That tall branch in the centre wasn’t there at the start of the season.
The second chop which was carried out this week was positioned just above that tall branch in the centre. The next picture shows how it looks at the moment. You can see that the nodes on the thick branch are too far apart for a shohin tree but fortuitously there is a short thin branch right next to it with short internodes and 5 nodes. This is the branch that will form the top of the tree and the thicker one will be removed in due course.
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!