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March 17 - Bring a tree to repot; more to come




For those who have worked with a lot of collected junipers, this post can be summed up with two photos.

The first batch of cascade black pines I started are now five years old. After decandling the trees last spring, it’s time for cutback and wiring.

I’ve been pruning and wiring my young quince twice a year – once in spring and once in fall or winter. I’ve been doing this work to set the shape of the trunk before I let the trees grow on and thicken up.

The small Japanese maple below has proved to be quite vigorous. In an effort to slow the tree down and produce shorter internodes, this past year I pinched spring growth, applied very little fertilizer, and fully defoliated the leaves and cut back the branches in spring. Here’s the result.

I like Scots pine, Pinus sylvestris and also many of it’s different cultivars. This bonsai is the common Scots pine, not a special variety. It began as a one gallon pot seedling in 1970 which cost me $5. The tree developed nicely into a masterpiece specimen in 2008. I sold the bonsai to a client in 2006 and she displayed it in the 1st US National Bonsai Exhibition in 2008. 1973 1978 2008 Unfortunately, the client did not care for the Scots pine correctly, the tree declined, lost a few branches and the fine established shape developed for over 40. I got the tree back in 2012 and after it became vigorous again restyling began. The tree was repotted and allowed to grow slowly. Thinning out before wiring– January 2019 This is the year for working on the Scots pine to develop a refined appearance again. Although I’m busy now writing the 6th US National Bonsai Exhibition Commemorative Album, I took a few hours off to do some initial work on this Scots pine bonsai. I need to bring the tree to a memorial service for one of the past presidents of the Bonsai Society of Upstate New York Inc. Branching Root display before Root display after Today, all I did was to thin out the tree, no time for wiring now. But, after thinning out the tree it presented a different quiet naturalistic beauty without wire. This year compact foliage pads will be formed with wire to create a refined classical bonsai again. Perhaps the tree will be raised to make it a more upright form. Now, all I need is to find time to wire this bonsai. Perhaps I can get Alan Adair my assistant and Curator of the Living Collection at the International Bonsai Arboretum, to wire the tree before I shape it? He is busy now wiring another major Dwarf RAF Scots pine, but it is nearly now finished. January 2019 Scroll detail A special scroll was used for this display featuring snowflakes. So far, and we are not nearly over yet, we have had 29″ of snow. Normally we will get over 100″ of the white stuff I hate. So, this scroll is appropriate for a winter display. This winter display included a bronze incense burner, complete with snow to suggest cold weather. Actually the temperature was 50F today, and I loved it! However, this scroll can also be depicting falling cherry blossoms. I often use it in April and May to denote a spring seasonal event.

Years ago, my ume bonsai grew upright as an informal upright tree. After losing all but one of the branches several years ago, I decided to change the tree to a semi-cascade style. When it was ready to go back into a bonsai pot, I found I didn’t have any good options for it. The pot below was somewhat of a placeholder until I could find something better.