Yesterday was the monthly meeting of the local bonsai society and I took along a cotoneaster that was in desperate need of a trim. I had deliberately let this grow to allow the tree to gain some strength but the time had come.
An hour or so with the scissors and it was back to a more reasonable size. A few members and I also took the opportunity to discuss the tree for possible improvements (it really does need a lot of improvement) so we turned it around, put it at different angles and generally critiqued it. I have made a few decisions on the future for this tree and I will post the “new look” in six or eight months time.
This plant is sometimes call Deodar Cedar and some time it is called Himalayan Cedar but in any case it is Cedrus Deodara. Used for bonsai sometimes but is less favored than its cousin the Atlantic Cedar because of its longer needles, but none the less it is a good tree for larger bonsai in my opinion.
I have had this tree for many years and it has gone through many changes but it just keeps on going. This month it was time for a trim and perhaps some more wire. First is a before shot and it looks hairy and unkempt.
And now for the post trim photo.
I am thinking that this will be the new planting angle when it gets a repot this coming spring as it brings the apex more towards the viewer. There is an alternate and that is following.
I might need to think about it for a little longer. By the way, I didn’t get around to putting any new wire on it, hopefully at the repotting stage.
This is a lucky tree because it has been to two workshops with talented people. The first one was in 2016 with Grant Bowie and the intent of the workshop was “heavy bending” which took some thick straight trunk section to one with some gentle curves. The second was with Carlos van der Vaart at Bonsai Week 2018 in Canberra which was arranged by the National Bonsai & Penjing Collection of Australia.
The tree was originally a gift from some of my family and after an initial inspection I decided on literati style and I have been working towards that goal every since. So following are a few photos of its development to date, in reverse chronological order.
All in all it has had a journey all working towards getting that literati. The next step is to get it into a transitional pot and that will be done this year.
The “one more spring” saying in bonsai is often heard when a special plant is under threat of not surviving and it is one of my personal favorite bonsai sayings.
In August 2018 I dug a very different looking trident maple from the garden and I had great hope that I could turn it into something distinct and unusual. This is it when I dug it out.
In retrospect I should have removed all the branching that was on the tree but I didn’t bother as it was a trident maple and should have burst many buds in a couple of weeks. Well, a month passed and no leaves, two months passed and still no leaves, then when three months passed and still no leaves I was starting to get really worried, and then the famous words started when anyone looked at it – one more spring.
It was very late December 2018 when I was doing the watering I noticed a bit of green popping on the branches and within a couple of days I had signs of life – it lives. I was most relieved that after four months of waiting the tree was finally on the road to where I had expected it in September. The photos are not that good but you get the idea.
It will be a year or two before I do anything with this tree now, but I am just thankful that it has finally given me a few leaves.
The European Yew is not grown as bonsai much in Australia and that is a shame because I think it is a very good specimen for bonsai cultivation. It has all the attributes and it even buds back on old wood so some time ago I bought a small plant at a nursery and put it in the ground to thicken up the trunk. While that was happening I managed to acquire a couple of large specimen potted examples from an old nursery where they used the plants for creating cuttings.
This is the story of one of those trees. July 2016 I acquired them and they needed a trim just to get them in my van, and then in October 2016 one got a proper trim and put into a bonsai training pot.
In August 2016 it got its first real trim.
In early October 2016 I decided it was time for a look at the roots and a repot for the tree.
It sat in the garden until October 2018 when it was time for another trim. My apologies for the quality of the photo but it is heavy and difficult to move around.
Just after Christmas and the cricket was boring so time to do some work on this, proper work on setting the future direction.
It needs an angle change and another repot but it has been substantially reduced, some jin and shari created and it is on its way.