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Classroom Corner – Pines in Class

An open window into the comings and goings of students and their trees attending our regular weekend and midweek bonsai classes under the ever watchful eyes of John Hanby.

Classroom Corner – Pines in Class 
We run three classes a year devoted exclusively to pines….pines one, two and three held in the spring, summer and autumn enable the student to obtain advice and help in taking their trees through the bonsai year……applying the right techniques at the right time.
Students don’t have to rely on these sessions alone. They can bring pines to open or midweek workshops at any time of the year. The pines featured in this blog turned up at ordinary workshops within the last few weeks.
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Frank’s Mugo pine had it’s first styling about 3 years ago just before he purchased it from the nursery. As you can see it had been largely left to grow and had now lost it’s shape. It was time for some serious thinning out and the middle picture shows the tree ready for wiring. This tree has a very powerful base and excellent taper in a short distance.
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The two jins to the right in the first picture above need to be removed completely. Phil’s Scots pine needed a little bit of pruning…for example the branch half way up the right hand side was removed completely. It was then a case of rewiring and restyling to bring the tree back into shape.
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Dave’s Scots pine was totally rewired before the class so now the branches needed repositioning. A heavy branch towards the rear of the tree came out at a poor angle and was removed. There is ample foliage on the tree without this branch. This tree is really beginning to arrive. The foliage is becoming more dense and creating a classic Japanese pine image… we can begin to refine.
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Keith treated himself to this little pine from our sales bench. We have a good selection of dwarf pine cultivars that are ideal bonsai material. This one has a really stocky fat little trunk with three large branches emerging. The middle one was removed and we will create the tree from the remaining two.
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Keith brought the tree back with all the branches wired and the middle picture shows the tree after styling. As the foliage silhouette is compacted this tree has potential to become an excellent shohin bonsai.
The final picture is of Alan’s dwarf variety of Black pine. While everyone else has been wiring Alan was doing the opposite and removing his wire. It’s shape is not too bad and we will develop the canopy with some pruning next year.
This was an interesting batch of trees. Often the hardest thing for a bonsai enthusiast on their own is deciding which branches to prune away before wiring. Often it’s just one or two branches but usually these are crucial decisions…get it right and the styled tree works well….it is improved…….but get it wrong …………???