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
I collected this hawthorn from farmland about 17 years ago. Its been in a pot all of that time but never produced any flowers. In recent years, its been subjected to a lot of work, a number of re-pots and several transformations to get it down to the size it is now.
About 6 years ago, before it was chopped back to its current height, I took a hardwood cutting from this tree and placed it in a pot to root. It rooted quickly and was placed in the pot you see in the next picture about 5 years ago. I have done very little to it since. It is pot bound and has never been re-potted. It is rarely fertilised and gets no winter protection in my greenhouse. The following picture was taken this week and shows the result of this neglect.
If there is a lesson I can learn from this that will encourage my other shohin hawthorns to flower, it is this. I will delay any future re-potting to ensure the roots are truly filling the pot to their maximum extent. I will reduce fertilising to the minimum necessary to maintain the health of the tree and I will only provide winter protection if freezing conditions become unusually prolonged and there is a danger of loosing the tree.
During Gerry’s visit last week, we potted some of our raw material into wooden boxes to help with their development. I worked on trident maples that I acquired as a mini forest planting a few years ago. I am growing them in large shallow boxes to develop the nebari and it seems to be working well.
I plan to make a shohin tree from this one, so I may begin chopping it back this week
The nebari on this one is beginning to look nice but I would like to see it grow much bigger. This one was potted up into a wider box.
Gerry wanted to pot a nice juniper prostrate that he brought back from Noelander’s.
It was in a peaty soil, which had to be removed.
This how it looks at the moment in its new box with a slight change in the planting angle.
Its an interesting tree with future possibilities from several angles of view.
Here are some recent pictures of some shohin trees that I have been working on this week
Cork bark elm pushing out new seasons leaves
Small larch in a new cream pot
Potentilla Fruticosa re-potted this week
2 white pines responding to the Sring sunshine
My new trident coming into leaf
My 2 Zelkova Serrata shohin trees are generally the last of my deciduous bonsai to be re-potted. The first one has been in its Watanabe Ikou pot since I acquired it in 2013 and its been 2 years since the roots were last trimmed. The Ikou pot is quite small and shallow and doesn’t provide much room for development. This year I have decided to give the tree a rest and plant it in a much larger pot to restore its vigour and hopefully thicken up the trunk a little. The first picture shows how it looked after the last root pruning in 2015.
The second picture shows how it looked when it was removed from its pot at the weekend, Plenty of long roots there.
This is how it looks at the moment in the larger pot, not so pretty. It will stay in this pot for next 2 years while I continue to develop the tree and after that time it may be returned to a smaller pot if I am happy with its progress.
The second tree has been in this Wallsal pot for 2 seasons. Both trees were acquired at the same time but this one has spent its time in slightly deeper pots than the first one and has grown much stronger.
I have repotted this one into the Ikou pot this year
This is how the second tree looked 4 years ago