Archive for September, 2011





These were spotted from the road as i traveled to Wangaratta .I usually call in to see Jackie , as she collects unwanted plants and tree’s from the surrounding district,most of which make  excellent material for bonsai . This privet was in a 600mm plastic pot , its base was around 120mm and just under 1 metre high . It has multi trunks and this will make a very nice clump style forest trainer . Due to the weight of the potted plant i used a large trolley

to move it to the garden bed where it was  removed from the pot . Using a small prospecting pick i teased the roots out then with a sabre saw

i  severed the root mass , the tap root which was 75mm thick was easily disposed of using the saw .A quick trim of the remainder of the roots and then a wash to expose the remainder

. This is now ready for the tray in which it will reside for the next few years , i have used some wire inserted into the drain holes to hold the tre

e upright as the weight of the foliage will topple it over during the trimming process .

.With the tree wired into the pot, it is filled with my Bonsai mix of red scoria and composted aged pine bark , then watered and allowed to drain

into a large tub to use for the next project , now it ready for a trim .

Utilizing the old pot turned upside down as a platform works well especially when it 600mm high . I have checked the trunks  and covered the tray with an old work towel to prevent the foliage falling onto the soil and saves a clean up afterwards . Now  its time to rip into the foliage

and progress from front to back working 1/3 of the group at a time,

checking the progress from the side of the tree gives a good indication of the height and depth of the finished tree’s . With 2/3 of the trimming done its progressing well

.It has been cut back very hard during it life time and the inner sections and upper section have plenty of die back creating natural jin and shari’s, the foliage will now be worked around these features and incorporate them into the finished design  .

With the majority of the foliage removed i then proceed to trim back the remaining growth to  the second set of leaves .All done and dusted for this season

This is the chosen front

left side

right side

and the rear . All up this little exercise took 3 hours to complete and that makes for a good project .Cost of the tree was $10 and the tray was $3 that makes for a $13 trainer . The base at ground level is 120mm and finished height is 550mm , the tray measures  5oomm x 50mm . Some trimming of the roots above the ground will take place over the growing period, they have been left as the root mass was reduced by 80% , a little ugly but in time and with some wiring to be done i’m more than happy with the result .

Cheers and happy Bonsai Alpineart


These are the new look grow beds that have been implemented as the stock continues to grow .I have made extra area’s to plant out progressing Trident Maples , Japanese Maples , Crab Apples , American Horn beams and  Flowering Cherries .Most of these are 2-3 year old seed grown trainers in various configurations and progressions . I have over 100 square meters of grow beds and approximately 1200 different  trainers in the ground at various stages of development .Keeping on top of these is a task and a half in its self , with and early Spring and major frost still occurring some will no doubt suffer from premature budding and leaf burn .Life in this yard is very busy even in winter when the new beds were established then there is the re-potting and root pruning of all my potted tree’s and trainers . All the work here is done with a little help from my 8 year old son .Yesthis is  one mans passion / operation obsession , no staff hiding behind the scenes doing all the work while i take the credit .Cheers Alpineart



This is the slow progression of my Big Nigra collected back in 2008 .The roots are emerging from the original single root produced in it first season after  collection .Still growing  in red scoria and composted aged pine bark as is most of my Tree’s and Trainers . I have repotted this for the third time n the same mix that has produced a healthy feeder root system from basically nothing . I have several hundred pines and conifers growing in scoria and the results are astounding .It can dry out on top however it is always damp underneath where it counts . The wire has been removed and all the needles were cut back by 50% ,this process does result in a shorter needle over time .I have managed to produced 18mm natural needles on Nigra’s which normally produces a needle around 50-70mm . As a trainer this tree has huge potentual, it will take many years to develop a good narebri and to fill out the foliage pads , but that’s what Bonsai is all about , taking time and Taking the time .There is still an issue with the bar branches ,but there is a lot of new shoots forming around the trunk and with the candle pinching i hope to redirect the growth to where it is needed. I have discovered this trunk is actually a chop top and the new leader has almost completely healed and covered the original  severed apex .This would have to be mother natures best effort at concealing a chop. Cheers Alpineart