Thursday, 29 April 2010

YouTube Videos

Guess what?  I have finally figured out how to download video off my camera and how to edit it so it actually becomes watchable.  I have uploaded a few first tries to Youtube.

Here is my latest video.  Not what you would call a Hollywood Blockbuster, but certainly a good effort.
As practise makes perfect, I will master a few more just to get the hang of it.  They can only get better.

Tuesday, 20 April 2010

Full Report of Competition tree styling

I have placed a report covering the full styling of my competition tree in the article section of this blog.

Monday, 19 April 2010

Busy with final presentation of competition tree

It has been a while since the last post.  I have been busy updating and adding to the Progression Series.

The Progression series is coming on well and I will be doing some more work on there in the next few weeks.  It is actually quite nice to have a look back and see how all the work and planning that goes in to each tree slowly moves them from twig in a pot towards presentable bonsai.  I would urge anyone coming in to bonsai as a novice to keep photos and logs of the development of their trees.  Nothing serves better as a motivational tool when you get stuck on some tree and start thinking it will never happen.

I have also been putting the final touches to my Wee Trees Competition tree.  It has now been planted in to a more suitable pot and dressed for the final photo session.  Photos have been submitted and it is now up to the forum members to vote at the end of April.  There is some stiff competition from other entries and it's looking like an exciting finish.

Friday, 16 April 2010

Silver Birch

My Birches have finally started to show some new growth.  They are nearly two weeks behind previous years and I thought they would never start this year.
Unfortunately I lost a branch on the bigger one of the two, but new shoots have started right at the base of the dead branch.  Just a matter of letting it grow.
Losing branches on those two was my biggest problem until I read the Birch Species Guide on Bonsai4me.
Since then I don't do any pruning while the trees are dormant and the problem has been solved.  Should have looked much earlier I guess.

Tuesday, 13 April 2010

Propagation update Chinese Elm and Hillier Elm

These cuttings were taken last year and have developed good roots now.  I have placed a large pebble under the roots of each of these trees to force the roots sideways.  These Chinese Elms already show the corky bark of the parent tree and will make good shohin material.  The Hillier Elms will be much slower growing but I think they are worth a persevering with.

Chinese Elm - cuttings struck August 2009

Hillier Elm - Cuttings struck April 2009
 (the Larch in between the two Elms must have snook in to the picture while I was not looking :-)  )

Propagation update Larch

These Larches have been grown from seed collected from one of my Japanese Larch Bonsai, but I also have European Larches in my collection which means that they may well be hybrids.  Nonetheless, they are showing good potential.  The seedlings are now 3 years old.

Propagation update Maples

Over the last couple of years I have shifted focus from large bonsai towards smaller trees (shohin) and in an effort to obtain suitable material I have started to propagate my own trees both from cuttings and seed.

Below are some pictures of my current crop.

Japanese Mountain Maple - Cutting struck March 2009

Japanese Mountain Maple - Cutting struck March 2009

Japanese Mountain Maple - Cutting struck March 2009

Japanese Mountain Maple - Cutting struck March 2009

These maples will be left to grow a little more this year and then cut back to the lowest branches for further development

Sunday, 11 April 2010

Larches at their Spring best

Larches look at their best at this time of the year.  The fresh green foliage is just emerging in those lovely shaving brush shoots.

The cold and prolonged spell of cold weather did not seem to have slowed them down any, but I have noticed an abundance of flowers on all of my Larch trees.  That may well be an indication of stress.

Anyway, time to enjoy them at their best.

Saturday, 10 April 2010

Bonsai Progression Series

I have done some work on some Bonsai progression reports.  These show pictures and explain the stages of development of some of my bonsai from raw stock towards a "finished" bonsai.

Here is a sample before and after shot of the type that is featured in the reports, with lots of intermediate photos and explanations on how the changes were achieved.

As explained in my profile, there was a break of about 4 years when the trees received very little attention due to work commitments, so there is a big jump from about 2005 to 2009 and the transformation on some of the trees is quite spectacular.
I add to and l update his section as and when I get time or when changes become evident.

You find the links to the individual trees in the side bar under BONSAI PROGRESSION SERIES


Spring has finally arrived

About time too!
After the long and cold winter, all my trees are finally pushing out new growth. Some of them are about 3 weeks later than normal, which goes to show that this winter did drag on.

Repotting is finished and I can sit back and enjoy my trees at their spring best.
As for the last couple of years, my main potting medium is Sophisticat Pink Cat Litter. I adapt it for the individual trees, i.e. for my maples I use a 50/50 mix of SPCL and Akadama, my hornbeams a 75/25 mix of SPCL and sifted composted bark.

I have started feeding my evergreens and any trees that were not repotted in the last 3 weeks, using standard Growmore at the recommended rate.

Now I just need to keep my eyes open for the arrival of any pests.

How nice to see some colour back on the bonsai benches.

Thursday, 8 April 2010

Wee Trees Competition

I am an active member of the WeeTrees Bonsai Forum at The site is run by a nice bunch of people all with a common interest in growing bonsai. There are people of all levels of experience and help and advise is freely given.

Anyway, weetrees is currently running a styling competition. The aim is to take a sub £25 piece of garden centre stock and turn it in to a credible bonsai creation.

So, if you want to know how I got from this: this:

......then go and have a look. You can view images of the styling process on my Picasa Web Album .

Up and Running

So, all the pretty stuff is out of the way and the blog page looks OK for now.
Serious posting will start tomorrow.