Sunday, 30 December 2012

December jobs

Having a few days off over Christmas is getting a few essential tree jobs done. Earlier in the year I submit a picture for consideration in the Noelanders show and it was accepted so the guy wires were removed 2 weeks ago to see if the branches would hold in place (I didn't want to have them removed on show day and the branches pop up ! I think if this happens it is better to leave them in place).

The two guyed branches had been hollowed underneath completely out of sight 4 months ago, and the combination of wire holding and branch healing has set them perfectly. If just a wire had been used the tree would keep springing back for a year or more.

As the branches were holding properly the upward new growth tips were wired flat and the algae washed from the bark. I few smaller branches were moved a little to balance the gaps and foliage pads but on the whole the tree has been kept as natural as possible. I felt the lower branch on the right was a little too long in the submision picture so I shortened it a few inches. I'm pleased with how the tree responded last year - lots of my bonsai food, the root reduction and repotting, the rain......the tree seemed to thrive through it all and has come on so far over the 4 years I've been styling it.

The pot is Tokoname, made at the Seizan kiln by Mr.KATAOKA Katsushi. This is a fairly old pot that was imported directly to the UK by Anne Swinton some years ago. It was home to her Ginko for many years and is the actual pot pictured with the Ginko in her book. Over time that tree was sold but died, another tree (juniper) ended up in the pot and I bought it, so got the pot. Funnily enough I didn't know about the pots history until a few years later but soon wanted the pot for a better tree, so out came the juniper !. The hinoki has been repotted 3 times in 4 years, smaller each time, and every timee the pot has been a mass of new roots. I may let the tree go 2yrs to restrict the roots a bit and slow the vigour - this will tighten the foliage up in future years

 Finding a nice stand here isn't that easy, especially for larger trees so I bought one from Japan and had it shipped over. The service from J Bonsai (bonsai network japan) was superb and the stand was in the UK in 3 days. Then it takes the UK delivery service over a week due to xmas getting in the way but the main think is it is here, in perfect condition and in time for the show.

The roof at the side of our house has a fair bit of lovely silver moss on it so new years day I will get the roof ladder out and collect some to moss the pot. Then i will liquidise some fresh sphagnum moss and mix it with water, spread a thin layer on the soil and add the surface moss on top. This is a little more work but keeps the top dressed moss looking so much better as there are several days involved with the Noelanders show. Equally importantly the Hinoki does not like drying out so the sphagnum layer keeps up humidity while the tree is traveling and in the show.

Two other xmas projects are on the go too, so more posts to follow very soon.


  1. Great post Marcus. Great tip about the moss. I hope you have a liquidiser especially for this job, the woman in your life won't like the house one being used :-)

    Great job with the tree mate.

    1. haha, yes there is a good little trick here. You work out all the things around the house that might be say to the special lady " would you like a new .........whatever it may be" . Then you get her the new one and can do what you like with the old one. It works every time

      cheers about the tree, I'm really pleased with the way it is going