New Look for Atlantic Cedar in Training

I have been training this cedar for a few years now and this week I decided to give it a new front. In the next couple of years I may change my mind again but for now this is the look and I hope the tree agrees.

In 2018 this was the look I was hoping would be successful.

However over time the foliage below the soil level, or pot level didn’t appeal to me. So in 2019 I stood the tree in a more upright fashion and I thought that looked OK.

After further study, some wire and a trim this is the latest look and I think it has potential. I will let it grow into the new front over the coming months and then start the refinement stage with the idea to keep the foliage contained within the trunk and the branch lines. As things progress I will update.

Are Tall Thin Bonsai Out of Fashion?

Tall, thin and elegant bonsai appear to be out of fashion. There is a real emphasis on trunk width to tree height ratios, and that ratio also appears to be moving in a shorter fatter direction. To be fair I often try to design my bonsai with thick trunks and as short in stature as I can, but I do think there is a place for the tall thin examples.

The largest trees in the world would never make it as bonsai simply because they are far too tall in relation to their trunk thickness and the oldest trees in the world also fit in this category.

This plum is tall, skinny and I think elegant. It stands 115 cm tall and I have never done the measurements to determine the thunk width to tree height ratio because it would be pointless. The tree still needs a lot of work and the next phase is planned for just after leaf fall where most probably all branches will be wired (to take out those that are straight) and some other work around the trunk transition.

This English elm was dug by me a few years ago and it was pre-styled by horses who ate half the bark off the trunk almost all the way along the length of the trunk. This tree also needs a lot of work especially a new pot. It needs work on the nabari, work on the dead wood and probably a reduction in the size of the crown to bring it more in line with the literati look I am aiming for. Again it is tall, thin (probably not elegant though) and stands about 120 cm high.

I think both these trees have something to offer as bonsai and I hope others will also be bold enough to add a few tall thin bonsai to their collections.

Acacia howittii

In my last post I showed a pot I made specifically for a Acacia howittii ‘Green Wave’ and so here it is, with a friend of the same species.

Both were potted up recently and are looking quite good so far. Only another ten years or so before they start to look good but you have to start somewhere.

I like these because they have some movement in the trunks, good healthy foliage and should flower in the spring. If they do flower next spring I will post a photo or two.

A Couple of New Pots

I’ve been making a few bonsai pots over the last few years and I’m still loving it. It is a thrill to see one of your bonsai in a pot that you designed and made. I am still very much an amateur but if I say so myself I am gradually improving.

Here is a few from the last batch I made.

I have an Acacia howittii destined for this pot

Stick in a Pot – Why Not?

The “stick in a pot” terminology is often used in bonsai and almost always in a derogatory way. People new to bonsai then get discouraged about the art and often don’t pursue it.

Many times a stick in a pot is a starting point and hopefully people will continue and enjoy the art/craft.

Some time ago I dug a few crab apple seedlings I decided to plant it into a bonsai pot to see how it goes and I think it is going along just fine. While it will never be an exhibition winner it will be OK and give me, or perhaps someone else many years of enjoyment. Isn’t the enjoyment factor a large part of owning bonsai? I think yes.

Crab apple pre trim
Crab apple post trim and a little wire

A Couple of Accents

Accents plantings are needed when exhibiting your bonsai and I generally have a few “on the go” so I can use them if required.

Here are two that are currently looking OK so I thought I would share.

Close up of the flower

The first planting is in a pot hand made by Janet Selby (love the little frog on the side) and the second planting is in a pot by James Tranter, again hand made by an Australian potter.