Robert Nocher lives in a small village in the south west of Scotland, UK and has been into bonsai for 13 years. He started this blog to share his bonsai journey with other like minded individuals and to make new friends across the world.
Today, I re-potted this tall Blaauws Juniper into a nice Ian Baillie drum pot.
When I acquired this tree in 2016, it was in poor condition as the previous owner had died and the tree had been neglected for a few years. This is how it looked at that time.
By September of 2018 it had recovered sufficiently to begin some work on it. This is how it looked after the fist styling
The new look required a change of planting angle and a new pot. The re-pot was carried out today. This is how it looks at the moment. A few more seasons to develop the foliage and the deadwood and this will be a really nice tree.
Forsythia is one of my favourite garden shrubs, the yellow glow of their flowers on bare stems in Spring is magnificent. Although they are still quite rare as bonsai, when you do see one in flower you can’t fail to be impressed by them. I have been looking for some suitable material to start one for some time now and last year I was able to remove the specimen you see in the following pictures from a friend’s garden.
The next 2 pictures show the tree at the end of its’ first season in a pot. In a single season it had filled this 9 inch pot with strong healthy roots.
In late Winter, I pruned it back and carried out some basic carving on the trunk. This is how it looked at that time.
In early Spring of this year, I took it out of the plastic pot, cut back the roots and re-potted it in an clay oval training pot. I removed as much of the roots as I felt I could without killing the tree but it will probably need further root reduction in the future to fit it into its’ final pot. This is how it looked after the re-pot.
With the recent increase in temperature, it burst into life about 1 week ago and not surprisingly, considering the work I’ve done on it recently, it went straight to leaf without producing any flowers. Hopefully next year I will begin to see it flower again.
This little yew was imported into the UK in 2013 and I acquired it a year later in 2014. Growth in that year was very poor and I was concerned that there was a problem with the roots or the soil
In 2015 I took it out of the pot shown in the previous picture to discover that much of the original root system had died. I immediately re-potted it into a good soil mix and slowly introduced the fertiliser to bring it back to health. The next picture shows the tree at the time of the re-pot.
A year later in April 2016, when the next picture was taken, it still hadn’t put on much new growth but there were new buds forming. For the first 2 years that I owned this tree, I thought the side shown in the first 2 pictures would be the front of the tree, but after 2 years of studying it, I eventually opted for the other side as shown in the next picture.
3 months later in July of 2016 it had an explosion of new strong growth It was now ready for a first styling.
The tree was pruned and wired and a jin and shari were created
Over the 3 years that have elapsed since the first styling, I have continued to develop the ramification. I have also done additional work of the shari, jin and live veins. I wasn’t entirely happy with the planting angle in the pot. The top of the tree was leaning away from the viewing position at the front and the dramatic jin was not showing its’ best side. At re-potting time this year I was able to correct these faults. This is how the tree looks at the moment.
I acquired this medium sized Pinus Sylvestris in 2016 from a friend. I was attracted by the taper and movement in the trunk and I felt that given time I could make a nice bonsai from this material. The first picture shows the tree soon after I brought it home, having re-potted it into a good free draining soil mix and removed a few leggy lower branches that didn’t form part of my plan for the trees’ future.
The second picture shows the tree in 2017 immediately after the first styling.
The next picture was taken in 2018 and you can see that it has filled out well in that time.
At the end of 2018, I thinned the needles to allow more light into the middle of the tree and to facilitate re-wiring in the new year.
A few weeks ago I re-wired the tree for the second time. I think it is shaping up well. At the next re-pot, which should take place in the next few weeks, the front will be moved by a few degrees to show more of the movement in the trunk. the next picture shows how it looks at the moment.
In April 2013, an old friend in my village who heard I had a passion for small trees gave me this tiny common juniper seedling, which he had collected while walking in the hills. It was bare rooted, when he gave it to me and I wasn’t sure that it would survive but I potted it into a 4 inch pot in a mixture of akadama and moler clay and watered it every day
To my surprise, not only did it survive but it thrived and by 2016 it was beginning to look like a solid little tree. The next picture shows how it looked at that time in a 6 inch clay pot.
In the spring of 2016, the root system had filled the pot in the previous picture, so it was potted up again into a larger one.
It continued to grow strongly and by 2018 it was ready for some work. With a plan begining to form in my head I cut back the lower branches and wired some movement into the main trunk. The next picture shows how it looked after this work.
A few weeks ago, I decided it was time to put the plan into action and start this little tree off on the road to becoming a future shohin bonsai. The foliage and bark was striped from the upper part of the trunk and the newly formed deadwood was wired to hold it in its final position until the wood dries out.
The remaining foliage was thined and wired and a few weeks later the roots were cut back to fit it into a suitable shohin sized pot. This is how the tree looks at the moment. It will need a lot of care and attention in the coming weeks to ensure the remaining roots don’t dry out.
After last years long cold winter, which went on until May in the hills of southern Scotland, immediately followed by the hottest summer on record; far from ideal growing conditions for small trees in small pots. I’m pleased to say that this year spring has returned when it should do, and even though it can still be very cold at night, most of my trees are beginning to awake from their winter sleep. The tougher species are all outside now in the display area and on the benches but most of the shohin trees are still inside the greenhouse.
Many of you will have noticed that I haven’t posted on the blog for a while. There are a number of reasons for this but the main one is that with advancing years I am not as able as I was to spend long days outside, working on trees in the winter chill and yes I could do it inside but I have always preferred to work outside in natural light.
In the past few weeks, Gerry and I have resumed our regular meetings and much has been achieved in that time. Re-potting, re-styling older material and the first styling of new material, which I’ll be posting about in the coming days
As a taster of what is to come, here is a picture of Gerry’s big Kaho Azalea. It’s been in this cheap Chinese pot since he acquired it 5 years ago. This tree is almost show ready but it really needed a better quality pot.
After years trying to find something suitable, we came across this lovely green oval by Reihou, quite recently. This is how the tree looks now in its new pot.
Here’s a reminder of how it looked when purchased, 5 years ago.