As my trees are preparing themselves for the winter and I am too, there are not too many things I have to do anymore. Bonsai-wise that is.
So today I decided to turn this Boxwood ball you see everywhere in gardens into a shohin. It still needs some years to grow new branches everywhere so a better branch selection can be made. I tried to work as much with smaller branches inside the ball that were closer to the trunk and more in proportion to the shohin size I had in mind. Boxes are vigorous growers during growing season and new branches appear almost everywhere on them so it won’t be hard to build up the tree next season. I wired it somehow loose so it looks a little sloppy but they have a thin bark that easily get’s damaged by the wire. After this I keep it in the shade with some morning sun only and keep it slightly moist. In the winter I guess around -5c it has to get some extra protection as they don’t really like hard freezing conditions. But most of my smaller trees don’t so in the upcoming months I will start making my wintershelter ready.
But that is for later..
Before and after:
Tony Tickle revealed some of the demo trees for the big Bonsai Europe event held in England 2015.
I’ll be one of the demonstrators and this is the tree i’ll be styling after the amazing deadwood specialist Will Baddeley done his magic the day before. I am really looking forward to this event and being able to style such a nice yamadori.
Here is the link to the video Tony made:
I once met an older man around 75 years old that had amazing trees. One of them a Juniper he showed at a clubmeeting I had also seen on shows earlier. When I looked closer I saw no wires and that it was really refined. The beautiful part was that it didn’t have a front and was attractive from all angles. I asked him were he bought the tree and he told me he bought it many years ago in a gardencenter. Hearing that it inspired me even more to see if I could grow such trees for myself from ordinary gardencenter stock.
We have a little flower shop around the corner here, bit shabby and full of cheap plants. Mostly indoor, but sometimes some outdoor plants too. The reason they are very cheap is that every morning they go to the flower auction and buy the left overs that wouldn’t sell at the auction. They sell plants from 0,50ct to max 20eu. Most of them are under 5euro. It’s not that they have stuff suitable for bonsai every day but some days they actually do. That’s a reason for me to walk in now and then.
These yews also came from there. They were standing on the side of the road in front of the shop in plastic containers with almost no soil in them. Lot’s of roots were dead only the roots close to the center of the rootball had soil. Perfect! I thought. If they would survive it wouldn’t have had to reduce the rootball that much to fit it into a smaller pot. When I told them there was no soil in the pots and almost all the roots dried out I got them for 2eu a piece instead of 5 😉
I repotted them into actual soil and fertilized them. put them away in a garden and let them grow. Two seasons later I cut all the thicker branches it was growing and weren’t needed. Got them out of the garden and decided to style them. Yesterday I made a beginning with carving the deadwood, however that still needs some more refinement.
I think it is a good example that bonsai doesn’t have to be expensive to enjoy and who knows maybe these little fella’s will grow out to be just as great as the older mans trees one day.
As many might have noticed, most of my trees are made from cheap stuff I pick up in my local garden center or from peoples gardens who want to get rid of them. Not because I don’t want to work big old yamador trees, but mostly it’s because I can’t effort expensive imported trees. And were I live we don’t have the luxury of mountains and dig some big yamadori with lots of nice deadwood out myself. Trips to the mountains are an option but then comes the hassle of traveling far and permits etc. However most of all I like the challenge of making something from what others see as nothing or not qualified for bonsai purpose. I pick up a lot of plants that are cheap even average malls ficus plants to try and make them nice. If you look at older post of my blog you will see many of them that found they’re way to me like that. It’s not that these plants can’t develop into nice trees but because they are grown for regular garden use it’s often difficult to find characteristic features or movement in these plants. Today I worked on two of them that I’ve been working on for a while now. The first is a needle or crawling juniper that are sold by the dozen here. The thing about them is, because they normally crawl they have trunks with curves in it which is always nice. This particular one had roots that stuck out of the ground and that made it easy to place a rock underneath to go for rock over roots. It had been growing freely to adapt to the rock and today it was time for some pruning and light wiring. Next season after it shows new growth it will be detail wired. So this is just a beginning.
Next up a ficus microcarpa mallsai. It use to be 1 meter tall about 3ft something. I cut down the tree at were the first branches grew. did a little carving on the cut. Than some wiring and today I cut away some more finer branches so I can build up some structure in the tree.
I’m not saying these are to be great bonsai but working like this makes an already expensive hobby cheaper and who knows what will become of them. It’s a great way to experiment and play around with as it won’t hurt your wallet as much as things fail.
And most of all it’s pretty fun creating things from something that is considered nothing. For more of them view my older posts. 😉
Two years ago I found three rocks in a garden/landscape center. A while ago I made a concrete base that fitted the pot and also had holes for drainage and wires.
The initial idea was to put it on a large suiban but I couldn’t find one I liked and thought fitted. So for now it is a small pot. A while ago I started planting moss on the rock and a little thyme plant that flowers purple at the base I also placed a white pine in it, but likely will be switched with a juniper. I really want to make it as natural as possible and the moss to grow naturally on the rock.
The final idea is to put three Junipers on it and some more accents like mini ferns etc. Here are some pictures.
At first this spruce was planted on a slab. And the initial idea was to make it into a clump style forest, because it had so many different trunks. The ‘forest’ part didn’t work out because the individual trunks didn’t have enough branches lower on the trunks and almost no foliage close to the trunk. This would leave me with long literai trees that had to be bend severely to make it one balanced composition. So I went for a clump/multitrunk tree.
After I styled it that way I left it to grow, but looked at it a lot and wasn’t satisfied at all. (Picture below)
It had too many crossing trunks and to long branches with foliage at the end so it almost looked like a wide broom. That is not the way I see spruce bonsai so yesterday I decided to change things up a bit.
I started out with checking the roots and saw that there were a lot of new roots, however they were only growing on one side of the tree. The other side didn’t show any new growth and I decided to place the tree into a colander to grow some more.
I tilted the tree to the right to put the roots in the colander and suddenly saw a Cascade shape. Because root growth on the left side was bad I could easily take of the remaining branches there and rootball and develop the tree from the side with new roots.
It also showed a much more interesting trunk under the soil so now that is visible too. The remaining branches are turned into jins and some basic styling is done. And here is the result for now.