Propping trees

Propped red pine

Propped red pine

The Japanese approach to nature is awe inspiring particularly in the way that they manage and prune trees. It allows for the creation of visual imagery that is unsurpassed in designed western landscapes today. One of the most intriguing techniques observed during a trip to Japan,

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Bonsai in New York

Japanese Hill and Pond Garden at the Brooklyn Botanical gardens in New York

I have just returned from a brief holiday to New York and was fortunate enough to visit the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens whilst I was there.

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Stunning Styrax japonica

Viewing Styrax flowers

Viewing Styrax flowers

This is a great tree for bonsai and it is fantastic currently as the flowers have opened early and we are rewarded with a great display of white delicate flowers. This is one of a few of this species of tree that we have bought as bonsai in the last few years and have recently been working on training some larger nursery stock that we bought with good success so far.

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April 2011 club night

Bob Bailey working on the shari of Pauls Yew tree

This months club night was a general workshop and it was well attended with many club members bringing in all sorts of trees to work on in various ways. Some were re-potting, some were pruning, styling and others designing, whilst some were happy to watch and learn.

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Best of British Bonsai show April 2011

Well what a fabulous venue, the Birmingham Botanical gardens and a glorious day, brilliant sunshine setting a great atmosphere to a full day or weekend for some to admire bonsai at the Best of British Bonsai show.

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Fun with tree critiques

Terry Adams discussing his English Elm (Ulmus procera)

During the evening meeting there was a critique of club members’ trees for anyone who wanted guidance and to share their thoughts on the development of their trees and the first to share their thoughts was Terry Adams as he discussed his new project, a recently purchased English Elm (Ulmus procera). Terry put forward his ideas on how he planned to develop the tree and perhaps remove the top branch that veers to the right as it has a deep undercut. He talked about whether he would air layer it as well as develop the other elements of the tree that formed a natural raft. He also proposed to drill through the cavity and develop a central crown on the main trunk and subsidiary crowns on the side trunks to the right.

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Bonsai Taiwan Fig tree pruning

New shoots showing the stipule at the end of the shoot

For general pruning and to promote back budding on Taiwan figs I tend to prune back to behind new shoots (know as the stipule which is the point at the end of the shoot) and this helps if you want a denser crown with smaller leaves.

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Introduction to Ginkgo’s as bonsai

Trunk of mature Ginkgo tree

Maidenhair trees (Ginkgos) are also popular subjects for growing as penjing and bonsai; they can be kept artificially small and tended over centuries. They are amazing trees in that they are the sole surviving species of a group of Gymnosperms that flourished 65 million years ago, around the time of the dinosaurs.

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Brief history of my Taiwan Fig

Taiwan Fig at first purchase in February 2006 from Lodders in Holland

This is the story so far of my first bonsai tree purchase which was a Taiwan fig and to share possibly common themes with others who are just starting out with a bonsai tree and hopefully to encourage them to along the way. The following explains a stage of events from a healthy tree to an unhealthy tree and its recovery. In February 2006 I purchased a Taiwan Fig from Lodders Bonsai nursery in Holland (www.lodderbonsai.nl/).  It was kept in my flat on a south facing window sill as an indoor bonsai and was in good health. By February 2007 my Taiwan Fig was fruiting profusely and very healthy but it was still in its original deep blue pot which made it hard to water as it was tightly bound in pot by roots. So in March 2007 I re-potted my Taiwan Fig in shallower Walsall pot and in order to do this I cut off one large root.  I re-potted the fig in Edo bonsai soil mix and carried out no pruning to canopy at time of root pruning and re-potting.

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