Pyracantha rosaceae bonsai in 2018
Pyracantha rosaceae 2018

The ‘Firethorns’ are related to Cotoneasters. They are one of the best and hardiest evergreen flowering and fruiting shrubs for north and east walls.

This tree started life as a cutting taken from a local park in 1980. It was grown for two years in a large pot and then planted against the back wall of my house.

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Large White Pine

Today should have been the 19th Swindon “Winter Image Show” but obviously the worldwide pandemic has meant that events like this have had to be cancelled, as venues have been forced to close to keep everyone safe.

To mark the date some of the club members have each submitted a few photographs taken by them of their trees, the virtual show was open to all the club members regardless of their experience or time they have been in this hobby. It will allow us all to stay connected and enjoy viewing them all. The Swindon show is usually attended by clubs from around the area, some from further afield, as well as Invited Guests and lots of lovely traders.

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English Yew (Taxus baccata) in 2019 at Swindon Winter Image Show

The English Yew can live for over a 1,000 years and it is thought that many living Yews pre-date Christ by many thousands of years. The Fortingall Yew in Perthshire is claimed to be up to 9,000 years old. Here is an example of the development of a Yew tree as a bonsai starting back in the late 90’s.

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Oak roots from acorns planted in Oct 2020 already developing

Following on from the planting up of some acorns in October 2020, they are already starting to develop, even though you cannot see anything above the soil in the pot, a lot has been happening below ground in and out of the pots. So just because most of your bonsai trees will have gone dormant for the above part of the pots over winter, be aware that the roots are still active and functioning in the pots albeit at a slower rate depending on how you are over wintering them.

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1st place, SM Korean Hornbeam
Korean Hornbeam (Carpinus)

10 basic elements to bonsai

  1. Watering often enough that they do not dry out
  2. Feeding with fertiliser when the tree is actively growing
  3. Repotting every few years to refresh the soil and prune the roots
  4. Positioning of your trees indoors if tropical and outdoors if temperate
  5. Protecting your trees from sun, rain, frost, wind and snow damage
  6. Pruning to aid with the development of your tree shape 
  7. Wiring / guying to aid with styling your tree
  8. Cleaning to remove weeds, check for pests, remove moss and algae
  9. Advanced techniques like defoliating, leaf cutting, bud pinching
  10. Displaying your bonsai on a stand in the right pot with an accent

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One of the winning trees from the 1st Virtual Show in 2020

The UK Bonsai Association is hosting their 2nd Virtual UK Bonsai Show for 2021 and you can find out more on their website.

There are currently no bonsai shows to go to due to the pandemic so to ensure we all get our bonsai fix they are compiling your bonsai tree photos and this time bonsai pots in a virtual realm. Check out the results from the first Virtual Show which had 120 bonsai tree photos submitted.

If you want to enter the 2021 virtual show then your photo of your bonsai or pot needs to be taken between the 1st Jan 2019 and the 25 November 2021.

The UK Bonsai Association membership will vote for their favourite trees and pots between the 1st December and 22nd December 2021. So you have some time to prepare your trees and pots and select a good time to photograph them if you haven’t already got a photo to submit. If you e-mail them in to ukbonsaiassociation@gmail.com

Good luck and have fun.

Ginseng Fig tree suitable as an indoor bonsai in UK

Bonsai basically is when you keep a tree in a pot and my preference is for keeping tropical species of trees as bonsai. One species that is a good beginner tree is that of the Ginseng fig, a tropical species of tree widely used in bonsai which are kept indoors in the UK due to the colder temperatures.

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After the inspirational post by Ross relating to “Creating an exposed root bonsai” back in September 2020………. https://swindon-bonsai.co.uk/2020/09/06/creating-an-exposed-root/

I meant to post this sooner but life got in the way, which was just as well as my constructions have increased in number so I can put them all here. I decided to give the style a go so constructed a box section using scraps of plastic that I had in the garage.

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