Monday, January 25, 2021

Shimpaku Juniper Bonsai

This is a Shimpaku Juniper that I acquired as a potted shrub in 2018. I cut it to one main trunk and wired some movement in the trunk line. This first picture was taken in 2019 just after removing the wire. The tree was living healthy in a mica pot for about two years planted in a mixture of pumice and lava rock. I probably under fertilized it. I have had a terrible time with growing Juniper Procumbens nana (a species I have learned to hate) so I am very careful with this one. 

I don't have much experience styling junipers or anything but I know that I don't particularly care for much dead wood unless it truly adds to the "naturalness" of the design. This tree is fairly slim and tall, which I like. Often I see the popular advice to "make the smallest tree possible" which I think makes a lot of trees lose the naturalness that I crave. John Naka said it best, "the object is not to make the tree look like a bonsai, but to make the bonsai look like a tree". If I'm being honest this Juniper will never quite look like a tree. I'm fairly certain that it will never be a great tree but it does afford me the experience which I will someday need for higher quality bonsai material. 

This next picture was taken towards the end of 2020. Its looking better I think even if a bit predictable. I often think about getting a better one and planting this in the ground for ten years or so. The pot is Chinese. I know its too big for this slender tree but its what the tree likes for now.


Thursday, August 9, 2018

Old Boxwood Bonsai

I have two of these old boxwood trees. This one I mutilated and the other is untouched. They both are from and old landscape that could be 70 years old or older. I am still learning about this species but this one seems very tough. I'd love to make dead wood features in the future. 

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Crabapple Bonsai with a New Pot

This crabapple bonsai has come a long way. Today it's planted in a rectangular pot by Chuck Iker. You can see his pottery here. He really is good.

I realize that this tree still has a long way to go. The taper would be better had I trunk chopped sooner. Looking back, I should have made the cut the day it was collected. A few years later and this is where we are, which I am ok with because over the years I have noticed that my taste in bonsai has evolved since I brought home my first tree (which is now dead).

In the beginning, I was initially attracted to bonsai because of my love for real, natural trees. My first tree was a dumb looking Chinese Elm and I loved the "sumo" trunks I kept seeing people post online. Over time I began to prefer taller trees, partly why I was so resistant to the trunk-chop that I somehow knew I would eventually do. It did give me a few years to really get to know this tree and that journey has been a pleasure. I covered the surface of the substrate with moss but I didn't like the photo as much.

The upper portion of the tree was rooted and is also doing well. I will post an update of that tree when it puts out a few more leaves as it seems to be a bit slower than its parent.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Floating Bonsai!!! and Crabapple Bonsai, winter update

First off the more I think about it, the more appealing a floating bonsai display becomes. The art of bonsai can still take steps forward. I personally find it visually striking. Check it out HERE

2015 was a big year for this crabapple tree that I collected in Kentucky about seven years ago. I reduced it's height by about half as well as a large portion of roots. The idea here is to give the trunk taper and emphasis as well as improve nebari (surface roots).

I knew the plant would respond well to this and, when I look back, I wish I had reduced it's height much earlier. Instead of it being a total waste of time, the past seven years I have both gotten to know this particular tree and learned a great deal about bonsai principals. whatever the case may be, I think this one is on a good path now. I am confident that in another seven years it will develop into a lovely bonsai display. Maybe even a floating one. Who knows.

Here is an image of the tree when it was taller.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Crabapple Bonsai: trunk-chop update

This is the tree that was chopped in half to improve taper and proportions (I also removed the majority of its roots but we are going to ignore that completely). It is some type of wild North American Crabapple.

The first picture is the tree in April and the second is in June. This tree is planted in coarse pumice that I purchased on Ebay.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Large Crabapple Cutting: Part 2

Three months ago I trunk-chopped my tall crabapple bonsai. I decided I would try to root the removed top of the tree by planting it in coarse pumice. I wanted to put it into a slightly larger container. I was delighted to see that there were a healthy amount of roots.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Large Crabapple Cutting

I recently trunk-chopped a crabapple tree and decided it wouldn't be a bad idea to attempt to root it. The cutting is about two inches wide, give or take. It has been about a month since I potted it into a shallow container of mostly coarse pumice. I have kept it watered and protected from strong wind and frost (although I believe neither would have hurt). 

Here is the cutting as of today. It actually looks healthy, pushing growth and covered with leaves. I can envision its survival but I've been told that just because it looks good does NOT necessarily mean that things below the soil things actually are good. For now all I can do is baby it and hope that it can manage to put on some root growth.