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.
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!
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.
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
I paid a visit to my local bonsai supplier ( Wattston Bonsai) yesterday, to get an early look at the newly arrived stock from Japan. The new stock this year consists mainly of small and medium sized specimens of partly developed material,reflecting the current popularity of shohin and chuhin sized trees. The species represented are all ones that do well in our challenging climate and include seigen, deshojo and trident maple: prunus, callicarpa, pyracantha and rhododendron indicum; as well as the usual junipers and pines.
Lots of new tools and pots
An impressive selection of new Japanese pots by makers including Eimei, Bunzan, Shuho, Yamaaki, Bigei and many others
Here are a few trees that grabbed my attention
Shohin Trident Maple with nice movement and ramification
Deshojo maple shohin
Shohin Trident with an impressive nebari
Shohin white pine with a good nebari
Exposed root Callicarpa Japonica
Chuhin Rhododendron Indicum with a great trunk and great taper