Memory Lane – My first Privet bonsai continues to evolve!

Looking back….we can tell a tree’s story…..admire an image…..capture a moment…..remember a special event…..be inspired – to create a memory for tomorrow. I hope you enjoy this regular peep into some of John’s bonsai history.
Memory Lane – My first Privet bonsai continues to evolve!

Look at the first two pictures……taken on the 25th August 2001. The tree was in its first few years of training having been dug out of a hedge in November 1999.

After just over 18 months the tree is at least beginning to show some vigour and signs that it is recovering from the digging out process.

Hard to believe how it looks today. The very low right hand branch had gradually been getting weaker and this winter the tree decided that he didn’t need it anymore……..must admit that on reflection this was not such a bad decision!

The tree was repotted in spring so to help him recover I just let him grow and flower unchecked. The flowers have faded now so this afternoon I took him into the studio and gave him a really good pruning and thinning out.

He certainly looks a lot better for it……and is both healthier and happier. Good job you keep those old pictures to stimulate the memory……it is so easy to forget how far you have come with a tree!

 

Memory Lane – Juniper Styling…..May 2013

Looking back….we can tell a tree’s story…..admire an image…..capture a moment…..remember a special event…..be inspired – to create a memory for tomorrow. I hope you enjoy this regular peep into some of John’s bonsai history.
Memory Lane – Juniper Styling…….May 2013

This innocuous little Juniper Ittogawa originated in Japan. It appeared to have lost it’s way …….long branches out of scale with the trunk, a wild design, and no signs of individuality or character.

Branches were selected and some were removed but the defining element in the trees transformation was the creation of a shari running the full height of the trunk.

This was carefully created and engineered to run along side the trees main live vein. Not only was this aesthetically pleasing but it also ensured the tree’s continued good health and vigour.

What a huge difference a little restyling can make………

 

Memory Lane – Do not be lazy…cut back on the mesh!

Looking back….we can tell a tree’s story…..admire an image…..capture a moment…..remember a special event…..be inspired – to create a memory for tomorrow. I hope you enjoy this regular peep into some of John’s bonsai history.
Memory Lane – Do not be lazy…..cut back on the mesh!

You may recall this Pine when we first reported it in March 2013….but it’s worth repeating.

This old excellent Scots Pine almost died. Some people when they are repotting their trees can’t be bothered to cut up small pieces of mesh that just cover the draianage holes. They simply stick a full sheet of mesh in the bottom of the pot.

Easier but extravagant…..and potentially life threatening!

It becomes easy for the roots to engage with the mesh and create a solid mass that then blocks the drainage holes and leads to wet soil which then causes root rot. The problem is even worse when mycorrhizae is present.

If the roots and tree manage to survive problems then occur with the next repotting. There is a high risk of serious damage to the trees roots just from trying to separate the mesh from the rootball as the two are often completely entwined by this time.

This tree was lucky….we got to him in time…. your favoured tree might not be so lucky……..just think what you are doing next time you repot!!

 

 

Memory Lane – March 2013……

Looking back….we can tell a tree’s story…..admire an image…..capture a moment…..remember a special event…..be inspired – to create a memory for tomorrow. I hope you enjoy this regular peep into some of John’s bonsai history.
Memory Lane – March 2013……

…….and whilst this Juniper Chinensis was being restyled and repotted inside…………..outside had a somewhat familiar ring to it!!!……

Memory Lane – Inside out repotting!!

Looking back….we can tell a tree’s story…..admire an image…..capture a moment…..remember a special event…..be inspired – to create a memory for tomorrow. I hope you enjoy this regular peep into some of John’s bonsai history.
Memory Lane – Inside out repotting!!

March 2013 and this Taxus Baccata arrived at a workshop. We wanted to repot the tree but on examining the rootball it was not possible to carry out a normal repotting.

The soil in the centre of the rootball was probably original garden soil and it had deteriorated very badly. Most of the roots in the the central area around the base of the tree had rotted away.

The outer section of the rootball was left untouched and only the soil in the middle area was removed. It now resembled a polo mint in design and this hole was then subsequently filled with fresh free draining compost.

The same tree was brought along on a one to two workshop a few weeks ago. Just look how strong he is now. All the branches had been wired and the tree was ready for styling.

This tree has come a long way since it was dug out of a hedge and is now making a really fine bonsai. It could have been a totally different story if we hadn’t got the repotting right in 2013!

Memory Lane – Cascade Juniper February 2013

Looking back….we can tell a tree’s story…..admire an image…..capture a moment…..remember a special event…..be inspired – to create a memory for tomorrow. I hope you enjoy this regular peep into some of John’s bonsai history.
Memory Lane – Cascade Juniper February 2013

This tree came from the sales bench into the studio for a makeover. The live veins and deadwood had been cleaned up and all the branches wired.

The way the live vein wraps around the deadwood is very interesting and needed to be exposed. In styling the tree I had to make the foliage mass more compact and several branches had to be removed.

You can clearly see the difference between the weaker inner foliage which was removed and the stronger greener foliage around the exterior. A thin shari was also opened up on the lower trunk.

This really was a big improvement and well worth the effort.

 

Memory Lane – Dianes Scots Pine Forest

Looking back….we can tell a tree’s story…..admire an image…..capture a moment…..remember a special event…..be inspired – to create a memory for tomorrow. I hope you enjoy this regular peep into some of John’s bonsai history.
Memory Lane – Diane’s Scots Pine Forest

Diane started this forest from young saplings with virtually no branches, a few shoots and long needles. To say she started this on her own with very little knowledge and experience the result is quite amazing.

I think I have been involved since about 2009 providing advice on cultivation and carrying out an annual pruning/thinning out of shoots and branches. I helped her repot the tree in 2013 and again in 2017.

It is just so nice to see a forest planting of Scots Pines in this size where everything is now in scale…..the trunks, branches, and needle length. This is shaping up to be an excellent bonsai and Diane should really be proud of what she has achieved.

I have tried to put the pictures in chronological order so hopefully you can appreciate the development process.

 

Memory Lane – Juniper Ittogawa January 2013

Looking back….we can tell a tree’s story…..admire an image…..capture a moment…..remember a special event…..be inspired – to create a memory for tomorrow. I hope you enjoy this regular peep into some of John’s bonsai history.
Memory Lane – Juniper Ittogawa January 2013

Chris’s Juniper Ittogawa had been exhibited at our last Newstead Exhibition and had been extremely well received by visitors. It just looked so natural in this landscape setting surrounded by rocks and moss.

The tree had been brought along to a workshop for wiring and placement of the branches. A heavy branch near the crown was removed. Notice how precise and detailed the wiring is even on a small tree like this one.

Once the branches are positioned the tree looks much more compact and refined.

Memory Lane – Is this the shape of things to come?

Looking back….we can tell a tree’s story…..admire an image…..capture a moment…..remember a special event…..be inspired – to create a memory for tomorrow. I hope you enjoy this regular peep into some of John’s bonsai history.
Memory Lane – Is this the shape of things to come?

The pictures below were taken in March 2013 and January 2015. Just looking at them brings an icy chill around you. Some of the pictures may have a certain charm to them but there is still that overriding sense of dread.

The last few winters have been very kind to us Bonsai lovers but it’s best that you don’t get complacent. Keep an eye on the forecasts and be prepared to protect your trees from the extremes of the weather.

Long periods of sub zero freezing temperatures is not good for your trees especially if this is accompanied by cold winds. Just remember it’s better to be safe than sorry!!

Memory Lane – Christmas Special December 2012

Looking back….we can tell a tree’s story…..admire an image…..capture a moment…..remember a special event…..be inspired – to create a memory for tomorrow. I hope you enjoy this regular peep into some of John’s bonsai history.
Memory Lane – Christmas Special December 2012

Every year I try and do a Christmas Special for students and in 2012 the selected trees were small shohin size Ittogawa Junipers.

Each tree was discussed, thinned out, and branches were selected. The trees were then wired and given their first styling.

Wonder how they are doing today?