Trident maples (Acer buergerianum) are a great maple for bonsai and I have been developing this one for around 6 years after purchasing it back in 2014 from Lodder Bonsai. Originally it had a limited crown with no real ramification but I liked the trunk movement and thought it has great potential to develop. I have enjoyed progressing the crown with the help of Lee Verhorevoort at bonsai club workshops and know it still has more progress to make. I have tried it in various pots and Lee sourced the latest blue scalloped pot from Japan for me.

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Siberian Elm

This tree was grown from a cutting I took in 2004. When it was large enough, it was planted in the ground and fed and watered well. It was pruned hard to encourage lots of side shoots to grow off the main trunk, to help it to thicken faster.

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This English Elm was collected from a local farm in 1994. It had only a few new shoots growing and all the branches on the top of the tree were dead. After it was dug up, I cut off every thing that was dead, all the old soil was washed off and it was potted up in Akadama. It is was a great opportunity to rescue an English Elm and create a bonsai using the collected material to preserve the genetics as well as give it a new life. It is a special tree given the plight of Elm trees in the UK and the effects of Dutch Elm disease on the trees and landscape following millions of Elms dying back in the 1970’s and being removed.

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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.