A new video on bonsai empire

Today was my birthday and Bonsai empire’s present was another video I featured in. About what to do with a starterkit and I think it turned out pretty well.

You can watch it here.


New Movie Bonsai empire

A while ago http://bonsaiempire.com asked me to help out with some video’s they were doing on basic bonsai care etc. I was asked to style some trees then. The first is online and it turned out quite well I think. More will follow as it is a series of 18 movies or so.

 Check it out here: http://www.bonsaiempire.com/basics#movie


Earlier on I posted about one of my first projects. An Oak I dug up in 2011. It almost no roots and was just a bare trunk. The reason I dug it out was because I didn’t know better back then and because I liked the bark.

One common mistake I also made was just digging something out not knowing what to do with it so I left it in the garden in a big pot and waited if something would happen.

The first year nothing really happened except for some buds development on the trunk and tiny branches emerged that died off in fall. The next year it started to make more branches and and leafs everywhere on the trunk.


But still growth was slow and some of the branches died off again.  However in leave it looked better already.


In 2013 I decided to look at the roots and saw it had developed a firm rootball. What a difference in 2 years. So I transplanted it into a smaller box and wired some branches.


It still has a lot of empty spaces and because airlayering Oaks is difficult I decided to keep it this way for the moment. The years before I didn’t do any branch selection but now early fall came and I thought it was a good time to do. Also It would fit fine in a normal pot. I wired some branches I wanted to keep, and soon discovered that I should have done all these things like selection much earlier. If I did the tree would have been more developed by now.

Also it had no taper at all so with some deadwood features which I hope will be refined by nature I try’d to get some sort of taper in there. Also a thing to keep in mind when I take on such a project again. I’ve been spending my time correcting the mistakes I made the last three years.

But now wired and ready to go into season 4 I hope next year will bring more new growth and branches so after that I can do a little refinement.



Goyomatsu with issues

Last spring I found myself a nice goyomatsu. It’s a non grafted variety grown from seed. It’s been said to be a quite old specimen. They are natural slow growers with a weak rootstock. I like it because it has the nice mature scales on the bark and, a trunk as thick as a soda can and green foliage instead of the blue foliage from the grafted ones. All season long it grew vigorously and only dropped some needles after the repotting. It looked like it settled well after that. But…. this fall after a long period of rain when the tree started to go into dormancy I saw some parts turning yellow. Now Pines do drop old needles in fall so at first I didn’t think it was a problem. Until the moment I saw some whole branches turn yellow. I asked a local bonsai grower for advice and said that if a pine has a root problem it uses a survival mechanism and  disposes needles. In that case it doesn’t matter if it’s three year old needles or whole branches. The advice was to keep it out of the rain and in a dry spot with sun if possible. The main thing was to get the rootball to dry up. 

I cut off the branches that died off and kept the tree as dry as possible. After a couple of weeks all the needles stayed green except for some older ones that dropped, but that is just a regular cycle. So a while ago I decided to check on the roots to see if I could spot the problem and saw the whole lower part was black. Died off roots and I immediately thought repotting would be best. Although it’s not the time of year. But I could either risk that or wait and see what happens in spring. 

I took all the black roots off and luckily I didn’t had to do anything to the live ones. I got a slab from a friend and decided to pot it onto there because off the drainage and it was bigger. The slab will get rid off excess water faster and it provides the roots some room. It was just transplanted onto the slab with no pruning of the live roots and no soil removal so I hope it will be happy and get his strength  back next season.

For now it’s in the winter shelter dry and protected.



Finally i’m in the mood again and have found more time to do some sketching. One of my favorite things to do. It keeps me calm and relaxed, but there is one problem my inspiration and creativity is at it’s highest late at night…….

I decided to put a sketchbook together with drawings of Well know bonsai of famous and yet to become famous artists. I will post more if I made them but for now I’ll leave you with these. Hope you like it.

Juniper from Walter Pall (Ger)


Chameacyparis from Ed van Reek (NL)


Conocarpus by Dorothy Schmitz (USA)


Yew of Tony Tickle (UK)


A Juniper by Teunis Jan Klein (NL)