New Trees From TBS Show

As always, after helping to setup, club members get first digs at the sales area. This show, I picked up a pot and two trees. One of the tree is a Korean Hornbeam. I’ve always wanted a Korean Hornbeam in my collection, but it always seems I’m the only one one in the club without one. But that’s not the case anymore! I now have a Korean Hornbeam to call my own. Kevin Yates also sold me on his twisted pomegranate, the name sounds interesting, and the tree has small leaves, so I decided to pick it up as well. The plan is to let these tree grow wild in my colanders and fatten up. The soil that Kevin had them in were too moisture retaining for my watering habits, so I proceeded to repot them both into my bonsai soil mix and colander. The one on the left is the Korean Hornbeam, while the one on the right is the twisted pomegranate.

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Mini Jade Reduction

The mini jade has been growing all four seasons, so has really put on some growth. It’s time to reduce the raft back into a more pleasing composition. Since they all share the same root, reducing the raft significantly shouldn’t have any detrimental effects. I’ve proceeded to heavily reduce the trees. I was quite surprised of the amount of foliage I took off. But no guts, no glory!

Chinese Elms Grouping

These Chinese elm cuttings have all been sitting in a pot with very degraded bonsai soil. This is the last of my trees with very crappy bonsai soil, I can’t wait to get rid of these. I repoted these Chinese elms, three per grouping, which will in the future, develop into two triple trunk trees.

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Shimpaku Junipers Galore

I usually like to spend my early Spring repotting deciduous trees, and leave the conifers for late Spring. Now’s the time to work on my Shimpakus. I’ll first repot the air layers I put into pots during fall of last year. I love how Shimpaku are so easy to air layer, I got loads of roots for all three air layers. I’ve decided to experiment to see how well the trees will develop in the ground, versus in the colanders. In order to ensure the roots are still spreading while plotted in the ground, I tied the tree to a piece of flag stone, before putting it into the ground. The other two air layers, I just spread out the roots and potted them into the colanders.

The parent plant of one of these air layers is almost complete. Just one more air layer then it’ll be complete.

Hopefully by fall, I’ll have another air layer full of roots.

Eastern White Cedar Final Form

When I acquired the Cedar last year, I had big plans for it. Since the tree was neglected for some time, I had to slowly and patiently carry out the plan. Over the winter time, the leaves were looking brownish, I was afraid that I’ve lost the tree, but come spring time, the tree put on a healthy green, with new growths. This year, I’ll be working on reducing the foliage to extenuate the shari. I stripped bare the top of the tree, adding more drama to the diagonal spire that extends to the upper left. I also reduced the lowest branch, to bring the viewer’s eyes back into the trunk of the tree. In the future, I may further reduce the shari on the lower branch, because it’s somewhat distracting in my opinion, and steals some of the movement from the main spire. I left more green to the left branch to allow the branch to heal more readily, I’ll eventually be reducing this branch’s foliage more next year as the inner growths strengthens. I’ve also wired the shari to give it a more natural look. After the wood dries, I’ll be applying some lime sulfur to whiten the wood, which will add more contrast to the whole composition. This year, I won’t work on the roots. As seen last year, the roots are overrun and needs some major pruning, but inline with taking slow measured steps, I will work on half the roots next season, then gradually reduce the roots in a year or two out.

Spring Coming Slowly, But the Work Must Go On

This year Spring has been dragging its feet. May is just around the corner, yet the temperature is still hanging around 2 degrees Celsius. As long as it doesn’t drop to freezing, the trees are all going onto the bench. I’ve moved all my trees from my porch to the backyard bench.

Some of the buds on the trees are swelling up and ready to pop. So, it’s also the perfect time for repotting and pruning.

Over the weekend, the TBS was having a weekend workshop. I took advantage of it, and did some work on my trees. Namely, I worked on this cherry. This cherry tree really have nothing much going for it, so I decided to experiment with bending and air-layering. When I brought the tree in, many people were doubting that the branches can be bent, but with some raffia, heavy wire, and some muscle, the tree is bent into shape. I also air-layered the trunk to separate it into another tree. Originally I was just going to trunk chop it, but why forgo an excellent chance to experiment?

Cherry Tree Wired and Air-Layered

I also brought along this huge apple tree to work on. I was looking at the tree in the morning, and decided to select a new front. So, out came the saw and chopped it to shape. When I brought it in, a senior member commented that the old front was better. But I know my trees best. 🙂

Apple Pruned and Wired

After I was done pulling up the new leader, and wiring the companion tree, it was obvious that this is the better front for the tree. I guess from his perspective, he was looking for “instant bonsai”. But I know well that I would rather spend the time to develop a better front, than to settle for a faster sub-optimal result.

I also repotted a few trees, since they were sitting in some pretty crappy medium that decomposed to dust. From left to right, they are the apple tree, larch, and cotoneaster. I had to prune the roots of the apple dramatically, since it was growing in a large colander and had plenty of roots. The larch went back into it’s own pot with new soil. The cotoneaster had the base of the root ball reduced dramatically. It had a few large roots that I took a saw to and reduced its height. In due time, the reduced height of the root ball would make it easier for the tree to fit into a pot.

I also decided on the front for my Hawthorne, I had to cut off the back side of the trunk as it was distracting the view. The cut was made behind the leader. As I cut more of these heavy trees, I’m getting better at finding the best angle to cut such that the scar is not visible, and creates a taper.

Of course, nothing goes to waste, the part that was removed from the plant is also potted up with some rooting hormone. The hope is that it’ll also develop into a new Hawthorne. The huge cutting is now sitting in a colander under the bench.