Studio Stories – A busy one to one…..

Sometimes I work on nursery trees, sometimes I work on client’s trees……and sometimes if I’ve been a really good boy I get to work on my own trees. Hopefully these regular visits will give you an insight into what goes on behind closed doors……….
Studio Stories – A busy one to one…..

Andrew recently visited the studio for a one to one and what a busy interesting day it turned out to be.

One small needle white pine basically just needed cleaning out. This tree will be fed well next year and allowed to grow freely in preparation for wiring and styling in the autumn of 2018.

Multiple trunks had to be removed from the Taxus Bacatta to create a better more impressive nebari. A first branch selection was also made. This tree will be allowed to grow freely next year.

The second White Pine had originated in Japan but had then been field grown in Europe. Needles were cleaned out, branches selected, and then together we completely wired and styled the tree.

It was decision time for the Mugo Pine. The image was not really working with the two well branched trunks. We decided in favour of the smaller trunk which was then cleaned out, wired, and styled. Bark was stripped off the taller trunk and it was made into deadwood. With a smaller pot this will develop into a very dramatic little tree.

This was a good day with much to see for our deliberations and hard work. Andrew has already booked his next session……wonder what he will be bringing with him then??….

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Studio Stories – Two of Keith’s Junipers wired and styled

Sometimes I work on nursery trees, sometimes I work on client’s trees……and sometimes if I’ve been a really good boy I get to work on my own trees. Hopefully these regular visits will give you an insight into what goes on behind closed doors……….
Studio Stories – Two of Keith’s Junipers wired and styled

These two Junipers had been in Keith’s collection for many years. They were now ready for restyling.

After spending considerable time wiring every branch, including fine shoots Keith brought his trees to the studio for branch positioning.

It was a pleasure to be involved in taking these two great trees to their next level.

Studio Stories – Student John’s Juniper Pfitzeriana

Sometimes I work on nursery trees, sometimes I work on client’s trees……and sometimes if I’ve been a really good boy I get to work on my own trees. Hopefully these regular visits will give you an insight into what goes on behind closed doors……….
Studio Stories – Student John’s Juniper Pfitzeriana

This Juniper has recently attended two classes in the studio and you can certainly see a difference.

On the first visit we discussed the tree and it’s possibilities. I pruned away all the branches that I thought we would not require. John then had to take the tree home to be wired. This included some raffia and longitudinal wires on the main trunk as we envisaged some serious bending being required.

On the second visit, with most of the wiring completed I was able to set about positioning all the branches hoping to bring the foliage much closer to the trunk. The result is quite a dramatic change.

This tree has a very impressive substantial trunk with interesting deadwood and Shari. The foliage silhouette is now much more compact and in keeping with the nature of the trunk. This tree has a great future to look forward to!

Studio Stories – Black Pine…..preparing for styling.

Sometimes I work on nursery trees, sometimes I work on client’s trees……and sometimes if I’ve been a really good boy I get to work on my own trees. Hopefully these regular visits will give you an insight into what goes on behind closed doors……….

Studio Stories – Black Pine….preparing for styling.

This tree had been in our growing beds for a couple of seasons and was lifted/ potted last autumn.

It has grown well this year, is vigorous and a good colour. It was taken into the studio for seasonal pruning and some thinning out of needles to allow light and air to penetrate the canopy. Lots of new buds inside will now be encouraged to develop further.

Hopefully the tree will be ready for a wiring and styling during the coming winter months.

Studio Stories – Taxus Cuspidata from Japan

Sometimes I work on nursery trees, sometimes I work on client’s trees……and sometimes if I’ve been a really good boy I get to work on my own trees. Hopefully these regular visits will give you an insight into what goes on behind closed doors……….

Studio Stories – Taxus Cuspidata from Japan

This very old hollow trunk Taxus originated in Japan. I am not sure how long it has been in Europe but I have had it for about 5/6 years.

At the end of April I repotted the tree and carried out some general structural pruning to prepare the tree ready for styling in the autumn.

Studio Stories – Old Sagaretia repotted

Sometimes I work on nursery trees, sometimes I work on client’s trees……and sometimes if I’ve been a really good boy I get to work on my own trees. Hopefully these regular visits will give you an insight into what goes on behind closed doors……….

Studio Stories – Old Sagaretia repotted

The before pictures in the deep Derek Aspinall pot were taken on the 23rd February. The actual repotting was carried out on the 25th.

I have had this tree for more than 20 years and kept it indoors…..so you can keep them alive! It is a seriously old tree……the cracking of the bark on the deadwood almost suggests that it may have been in a fire at some time.

There are no heavy roots in the pot only fine feeder roots……hence the need for the construction site underground to support the leaning trunk and keep it stable.

The tree was placed in another smaller Derek Aspinall pot. The foliage was then drastically reduced to take pressure off the roots.

The final picture was taken on the 5th April with the tree now back in leaf and recovering nicely from it’s ordeal.

Studio Stories – Stocky little Larch!

Sometimes I work on nursery trees, sometimes I work on client’s trees……and sometimes if I’ve been a really good boy I get to work on my own trees. Hopefully these regular visits will give you an insight into what goes on behind closed doors……….

Studio Stories – Stocky little Larch

This Larch arrived at the nursery last June. With lots of branches to choose from I thought this was a really good piece of raw material.

A few weeks ago I realised it was still for sale on the external benches. This was an ideal opportunity for us to do the styling work and repot the tree at the right time of year.

So……branches were selected and wired. Surplus ones were removed. The heavy top of the trunk was made into deadwood and extended into a Shari to   give an illusion of taper and to appear more natural.

I am pleased with the result of the first styling. We have improved our stock and helped the tree on its journey to realising it’s true potential. With the recent milder weather the buds are already beginning to burst……the start of its recovery from the work carried out!

 

Studio Stories – Kiyohime Maple…..bonsai have good days and bad days!

Sometimes I work on nursery trees, sometimes I work on client’s trees……and sometimes if I’ve been a really good boy I get to work on my own trees. Hopefully these regular visits will give you an insight into what goes on behind closed doors……….

Studio Stories – Kiyohime Maple…..bonsai have good days and bad days!

As a bonsai get’s older it often has quite a story to tell……changes of ownership, style, pot,…….times when it flourishes, times when it struggles….. so just like us it has good days and bad days.

These two Kiyohime Maple garden trees entered Europe from Korea around 2003 and arrived at our nursery the following year. You can see how large they are in that they were easier to move about the place on a pallet.

One of my students selected what we thought was the one with the best potential for conversion to a bonsai. The initial pruning/styling was carried out on a class and you can see the before and after pictures below.

I created a garden around the main entrance to the greenhouse in preparation for our Newstead Bonsai events and decided to use the remaining Kiyohime Maple. You can see things taking shape below.

The following spring disaster struck! The Kiyohime is one of the earliest maples to leaf out and following some mild weather the tree was leafing out and making a very nice image. Unfortunately we got caught out by a severe overnight frost which basically took away most of the top of the tree.

Unlike most maples the Kiyohime is not apical dominant but grows strongest to the side. This growth habit would undoubtedly hinder the trees recovery.

The tree continued to lose branches and looked very poor indeed. I transferred the tree to my garden border hoping to stimulate a quiet sheltered recovery. After a couple of years the tree stopped deteriorating and started to put out some new growth.

One side of the tree had gone and it was never going to make an attractive garden tree again. I decided the best possible future for the tree was now as a bonsai so in December 2011 I lifted the tree and potted it into a large bonsai pot. This was just before we sold off the garden centre in February and my heart attack in the March of 2012.

Fortunately we have recovered well together. The tree has been nurtured in my garden amongst my private collection and grows stronger every year. You can see how big and healthy the canopy has become.

Two weeks ago the tree was repotted into a large but much shallower bonsai container…..more appropriate for a Maple of this character. It is now actually starting to look the part even in it’s winter image. There is excellent scope for carving and deadwood on the left hand side of the tree.

This tree really does have a story to tell……but hopefully now it can recall the bad days of the past but look forward to many chapters full of good days in the future!