Japanese Black Pine Twins

A few years ago I had the opportunity to dig three Japanese black pines from a garden in my area. According to the owner they were 20 years old and were growing in the wrong location. Before seeing them and digging I had an idea in my head that they would be thick trunked short little trees but alas they were growing from under other large trees and were long skinny things with foliage only on the outer branches.

I gave one of the three away and kept two for myself. Of the two I decided I would develop one into a literati style and the other one was left to grow on in a plastic pot.

I call them the twins because they were planted on the same day and then dug on the same day but after a few years of training one, they now look quite different.

Literati style after its autumn needle plucking and trim. The needle length is quite small after a few years work.
No “bonsai work” has been done to this tree yet and you can see the difference in the needle length is quite dramatic.
The twins side by side.

English Elm in Winter

Just showing off how beautiful deciduous trees are in winter. This English elm has been with me for many years and it takes many years to develop a reasonable ramification and this one is now coming along.

Hope you also enjoy the tree in its naked glory.

The Next Step for this Hawthorn

Now that all the leaves have fallen from this tree it is time to put some wire on and continue the shaping process. As I have mentioned previously I believe the “feature” of this tree is the hollow trunk and I am working towards framing this aspect.

It was extensively wired in November 2019 and this is the second major wiring. Most of this wire will be removed just before bud break and that is usually early September, so in effect about four months and I hope that is sufficient time for it to set. I think I will need at least one more major wiring and then there will only be the need to conduct minor adjustments and good pruning technique.

A look at the hollow trunk.

Japanese Maple – Colour Differences

This maple is quite big and difficult to move around so the photo showing the autumn colour was taken in situ to save the old backs. The autumn colour is almost iridescent red and the brightest I have seen on this particular tree which is nice.

Hope you also enjoy. It looks great in the garden at the moment.

Late summer look
Now in full autumn colour

Another Hawthorn

This Hawthorn is not showing the same colour as the previous Hawthorn despite being dug from a similar location and probably being of similar age (and size) as the previous one but none the less it is still attractive in its yellow hues.

This tree has been extensively worked over recent years and the next phase is due in a few weeks, as soon as the leaves fall. It has a remarkable hollow trunk from being in a bush fire and the trunk movement is from floods, so a hard start to life has given it many characteristics that are beautiful in bonsai terms.

The next phase will be to bring all the foliage in closer to the trunk and to also highlight the hollow of the trunk which I think is the trees main feature.

Hawthorn Showing Autumn Colour

In my garden the autumn colour this year has been patchy but this large Hawthorn looks good with the yellow and orange tones. This tree has improved over the last couple of years and is one of my favorites. Hope you enjoy the colour as much as I do.

And a close up of the foliage.

A Few New Pots

One of the great things about making pots is the opportunity to make a pot for a specific tree, and the thrill if that comes true. You know, the tree actually looks good in the pot made for it.

So a kiln opening brings much anticipation as well as excitement and when you see your work come out you are either proud or think you could have done better. Under the tutelage of my teacher I think I have improved and I am really enjoying the process.

The results of this kiln opening are an improvement and I am pleased, and as such here are a few photos.

The rock wall look
Another rock wall look
This is for an Australian native and has a mulberry ask glaze
More classical style
A small classical look pot. I think the glaze turned out quite nice

It will be a few months before another kiln opening so that will teach me some patience.

Taxus Baccata – English Yew

One of the great benefits of being part of a bonsai society is the opportunity to talk with other members about trees you are having difficulty with. This Yew is one such tree.

It was purchased from the owner of a closed nursery and they had no further use for a couple of yews and this is one of them. When I first bought them the height was about three metres and I had to cut it down to two metre just to get them home. After that this one was cut down again to about one metre and some branches that were unhealthy converted into jins. This tree then sat for a couple of years gaining strength.

The growth pattern of this tree caused me to wonder how best to style it so I took it along to a meeting of the local bonsai society and a couple of people assisted me in finding a style and direction. That was a couple of months ago and I only got around to commencing the styling recently but I think it now has a future and I hold great hope for its continued development. As all bonsai demonstrators say now, just five years of refinement before it will be anything.

So on to the few photos of a very enjoyable day.

How it looked before work started. I was thinking this might be the front prior to the discussions at the bonsai meeting
I thought the nabari looked OK and if I removed a couple of old jins the taper would be improved
The other side showing all the old jins. Either of these two sides could have made a reasonable front, one with the jins peeking through the foliage and one with the jins dominate in the front of the piece.
After much discussion it was decided this would make the best front, jins on one side and the foliage on the other
Interestingly it comes with its own accent plant!
A tilt, a trim and some wire and it was on its way
More trimming and more wire
The first stage completed for now. Time for it to recover before winter hits. The next stage will be to put it in a pot to reflect the new angle and then the next trimming in about December
The standard size conparison

Australian Plants as Bonsai Exhibition – Part 3

This is a short post and only has my display that was in the exhibition. I went to considerable lengths to design a display that was different to the usual and to put it mildly was quite “miffed” when I saw it set up around the wrong way, completely destroying the feel I wanted to engender. It was set up correctly in the staging area but some how got messed up in the process of moving. That said you would imagine that the experienced people who set up this exhibition would know the subtlety in how a box stand must look but alas I was very disappointed.

Anyway, here is my display for the exhibition even though it is set the wrong way around.

Bottlebrush and wattle with an Australian flowering accent.

The box stand was made with the Shou Sugi Ban technique and the colour of the stand is the natural effect of that process and although it looks black in the photo up close you can see the natural indentations and wood grain.