Sunday, 14 October 2012

My Day - Sunday 14th Oct

My day was centered on the FOBBS Bonsai talent contest final - held at Capel Manor bonsai show.

This post is picture based and are a few from the day. The contest was 3 hours  long and the winner is going on to represent the UK in the European final
The tree.........I'm happy !


Looking closer..........................
Mickey looking too................
I'm still looking.........the tree is in there, I'm not rushing until i find it............
we have lift off.............................

Three hours flew by, but a few little tweaks and we came in on time.
And I managed to win..............Here is the tree as it was styled in the 3 hours
 Thanks to all involved (I kept plenty of green bits :-) )
Slipped into an Erin Pot, little bit of moss and 10 minutes more tweaking

Thursday, 11 October 2012

What's under your nose sometimes

I'm lucky I guess to have a nice bonsai nursery just 4 miles away - my first tree came from there after a random visit 21 years ago, so the place has a lot to answer for ! I try to pop in regularly as it is on the door step (as you do) so tend to think that I know most, if not all the stock by heart. The beauty of having a good few hundred trees dotted about though is it is easy to miss one - this happened 5 years ago with my Hinoki - it had been there 10+ years yet I had always missed really seeing it. One day Mandy I walked through the nursery back door, saw the tree and both knew it had so much potential. It was unrefined, never really wired, so perfect as we could take our time and make it into our own bonsai. The 'just bought' pictures were lost on a laptop that died but it was upward, straggly and in a huge 29" x 22" x 5"oval pot . The first 2 years were spent feeding, pruning, repotting etc then wiring every bit. My first picture was 2 years ago when it was wired down - looking back it was very much stage one, a bit pointy and looking young

To get away from a young tree image I decided to shorten and round the crown and hollow the trunk - creating a shari and some jin - the majority of the forum decided I'd ruined the tree  (ibc - I was a new face on there - but Ed  and just a couple of others saw the potential and were very encouraging). To be fair a newly carved tree looks raw and rough but it made me determined to refine the work and produce the tree I'd imagined.
Now the tree is heading in the right direction and is virtually free of wire. The pot is an old Tokoname Kataoka rectangle originally imported by Anne Swinton many years ago.

Imagine my surprise and excitement this week when pulling into the car park I spy 12-15 large trees sat in a row - pines, maples, elms, beeches, of those great occassions when a guy gets a little older and lets the larger trees go so they can concentrate on their smaller ones. (a great occassion for the rest of us anyway !)

The first is a seed grown Pinus Pentaphylla...........origin Japan, imported by Steve Tolley a few years ago 
The Pentaphylla is a lovely white pine variety with softer yellow green needles,  but they are notorious for being weaker than grafted white pines. I've had one over 15 years and the soil needs to be extra free draining, the roots need respecting not butchering and the top must not be over plucked and over thinned . Feed it well, expose it to winter weather and you get plenty of back buds too. This tree is at one of those perfect stages I love - A mature tree - 50-60 years old & ready for a refined styling - and luckily the nursery owner Robert has asked me to style the tree for him, as even though it is for sale it has entered the 'personal collection' status. - I'm sure Peter can nod in agreement about trees entering the personal collection status ;-)

It is a decievingly large tree too - just over a meter tall atm, plenty of shoots and multiple buds. This tree will be styled 'tall and elegant' with really neat domed pads

Tree two is an old large parviflora,

The hollow is large and has not been cared for unfortunately - i can just about get my hand in it and the soft inner wood has a spongy compost like texture that needs removing back to hard wood and treating. The bark in interesting - the exposed areas match perfectly in colour and texture - the sheltered 'back' matches in colour but has not weathered and cracked so much.

This was the last owners prefered front - the trunk has smooth taper but the amazing movement in that kink is lost, so is the natural hollow - so I see a new front being chosen to show off the best features - the branches will be moved to suit.


A subtle turn shows the hollow more and adds more movement to the lower trunk - apex comes towards us too, but a few more angles will be explored. This tree should be coming home with me to be the white pine on my benches, but I have to style the Pentaphylla first, and several other trees that are at the nursery and ready to work on.

the trunk is as thick as my leg !, this one needs a few years to bring the foliage back but it will be a lovely tree again
I'll do a post on the rest of the nursery soon, but here is a rather good Kashima that lurks round the corner - looking pretty nice for October