Shohin Yew Progression

This little yew was imported into the UK in 2013 and I acquired it a year later in 2014. Growth in that year was very poor and I was concerned that there was a problem with the roots or the soil


In 2015 I took it out of the pot shown in the previous picture to discover that much of the original root system had died. I immediately re-potted it into a good soil mix and slowly introduced the fertiliser to bring it back to health. The next picture shows the tree at the time of the re-pot.


A year later in April 2016, when the next picture was taken, it still hadn’t put on much new growth but there were new buds forming. For the first 2 years that I owned this tree, I thought the side shown in the first 2 pictures would be the front of the tree, but after 2 years of studying it, I eventually opted for the other side as shown in the next picture.


3 months later in July of 2016 it had an explosion of new strong growth It was now ready for a first styling.


The tree was pruned and wired and a jin and shari were created


Over the 3 years that have elapsed since the first styling, I have continued to develop the ramification. I have also done additional work of the shari, jin and live veins. I wasn’t entirely happy with the planting angle in the pot. The top of the tree was leaning away from the viewing position at the front and the dramatic jin was not showing its’ best side. At re-potting time this year I was able to correct these faults. This is how the tree looks at the moment.



Taxus Baccata from raw material to first styling.

This post shows the progression of a taxus that was purchased as raw material in the autumn of 2016 by my friend Gerry. The first picture was taken round about the time he acquired it. The most interesting part of this tree was in the lower trunk and the low hanging first branch with movement to the right. The upper trunk was quite thick and had no taper, so I suggested that we cut it back to a lower branch and thin out the foliage so that we could see what we were working with.


This is how it looked at the start of 2017. We decided to leave it like that for the time being and began to feed the tree regularly to encourage back budding.


The next picture shows how it looked earlier this week, 14 months after the previous picture was taken. As you can see, it has filled out well and is now ready for branch selection and the first full wiring.


The first task to be tackled was the carving of the stump left after last years’ trunk chop.


Gerry, getting on with wiring the lower branches


I finished off the top of the tree and placed the wired branches


This is how it looks at the moment. Next year we will work on the jins and shari and maybe plant the tree into a smaller pot


Shohin Yew First Styling

This is a shohin taxus cuspidata that was imported from Japan 4 years ago, which I acquired about 3 years ago. It has taken all of this time to acclimatise the tree, to re-pot it into a medium which is appropriate for our weather and to get it growing with sufficient vigour to continue its development.

This is how it looked before any work was carried out.


After the creation of a jin, some shari and an initial pruning.


After a little more pruning and the addition of some wire to open up the branches


And from the other side before


During the work


And after


I think this little tree has great potential and I look forward to its continued development in the future.


Bonsai on a Summers Evening

On Wednesday evening I was invited to the garden of a friend, Peter Thorne, to see his bonsai collection. Peter is an active member of the Ayrshire group and each Wednesday during the summer he invites fellow club members along to the shed at the bottom of his garden, to work on their trees. This week 8 members turned up including myself so workspace in the shed was at a premium.


Here are some photographs of some of the trees on Peters benches, which I managed to take before it got too dark.

Large Yew with a good nebari and interesting deadwood


European Hornbeam


2 blue cedars and a Chinese juniper. the one in the centre is a stunning tree


Here are other pictures of the blue cedar and the large yew that I took at the Gardening Scotland Show last month.





A large Juniper Squamata with good future potential, I think.


This is Peter. He has his own bonsai blog, where he documents the progress of all of his trees. It’s well worth a look.


Shohin Yew (Update)

I’ve had this twisted old shohin yew for 2 years and it hasn’t put on any new growth in that time until now.

In the first year I had it, it didn’t look healthy at all and I was concerned about the condition of the original soil and the effect that might be having on the roots. At re-potting time in April of last year I noticed that the original soil was badly decomposed and and there was only live roots in the lower half of the original clay pot. I removed as much of the old soil as possible and replanted the tree in a coarse mix of akadama and kiryu in a slightly oversized rectangular pot by Zenigo. Throughout last year it was slow to respond but this year, I’m pleased to say, it is pushing out new buds all over the place.

I will let it grow throughout the spring and summer and give it its first major styling later in the year. Here are some pictures showing both sides of the tree, I haven’t decided which side will be the front, at the moment, hopefuly, that will become apparent when the tree gets its’ first styling.l


For comparison, this is how it looked 2 years ago.


Lanarkshire Bonsai Club Meeting 08/11/2015

It’s that time of year, when the trees have stopped growing and the weather is throwing its worst at us that the club comes into its own. Yesterday about 20 members and visitors braved the elements on a stormy day to attend the monthly meeting of the Lanarkshire bonsai club at Wattston Bonsai. Some were working on trees while others were happy to drink tea and talk bonsai with those who share their passion. Here are a few pics from the day.



Ian McMaster tackling an initial styling of a collected cotoneaster


Robert Porch advising Stuart on the fine pruning of a Chinese juniper with Mike Box, who travelled up from south of the border hiding in the background (nice to see you there Mike).


New member Artur Powszek, who was one of the interpreters for the demonstrators at Bonsai Europa, contemplating a white pine with our Gordon. Cheer up Gordon it will soon be Spring again.


Shohin Yew Gets a New Pot

This shohin yew that I acquired last year was re-potted into its first bonsai pot today. When I first brought it home, I was concerned about the soil condition and the drainage in the pot. It was a little late in the season for a full re-pot so it was lifted out of its original pot and placed in the larger one you can see in the first picture with a fresh drainage layer of kiryu.


When I removed it from its pot today I could see that the upper layer of old soil was very decomposed and contained very few live fleshy roots. The soil in the lower layer was still in good condition and contained all of the live roots. I removed as much of the old soil as possible and re-potted it into this deep Zenigo pot. The tree will be rested now until it shows good signs of recovery


This is a lovely tree and I am looking forward to developing it further.