Saturday, 23 March 2013

Mercedes made a tardis

This week was flat out making carp bait for 4 days and as the last pallet went on the lorry it gave me the opportunity to head back to the South East for more bonsai stock. In a repeat of last Friday I set off early to make the most of the empty roads and soon pulled up at the gates. Last week, browsing through everything while buying the chinese elms the remaining few large Japanese trees caught my eye. There were a few pines and a raw juniper that were obviously the last ones from the many container loads of trees that used to pass through here and I know that getting big japanese trees is going to get increasingly difficult - especially raw material junipers as there is a diminishing number of these types of tree available - they have simply been collected and made into bonsai much faster than they actually grow to maturity so finding a 1m tall tree with roots reduced properly so it sat in a reasonable bonsai pot was to tempting to ignore.

 Pines are not quite in the same category - there are fields and fields of pines in Japan that have been grafted, grown and semi shaped to be bonsai so finding the material is not the problem, it is just getting it here and legally cleared of quarantine that takes the time - but the fact the initial material is quick growing & plentiful is reflected in the price I guess - the pines cost less than the junipers.

4 trees were on my wish list and after an excelent day of business and banter all four were secured - now for the art of packing the car as there was akadama, trays, a case of pots, 75 rolls of wire and a case of tools to go in as well !  time to say I love my car (especially as it goes back every 3 years and I get another one ;-) ). Just what you can do with a mercedes estate is incredible - once the boot liner is removed, the boot floor taken out and the spare wheel tucked behind the passenger seat there is a reasonable van like space that goes fast but quietly & comfortable

Bonsai are funny things - they look really small in pictures but suddenly get bigger when you try to fit them in a car or make a delivery box. The juniper is 102cm from soil level + pot and the tree i thought of as the medium pine was the entire width of the car. The really big white pine is still there waiting for my next visit as it is another 1 meter plus tree, and nearly the same width.

The juniper is very ready for a repot which is perfect as Peter Warren arrives in a few days time to work on some trees so we can do this one. I have been turning and angling the tree this way and that as it is a challenging tree to extract the bonsai within from - but there is a great tree in there. I would like to put 2 substantial bends in the trunk using turnbuckles and jacks as this drops the tree down from 41" to about 28 without chopping the top off.......this will maintain the foliage volume and taper and give the compact image I'm aiming for.

This tree will get it's own blog post as we start work. Once you get up close this tree has certainly come from exactly the same area as my other nice juniper - the foliage is an exact match, the pre bonsai work on the jin and trunk has been done with the same tools and by the same hand. The live veins are fantastically swollen and defined too so the pre work was done a while ago. My other one passed through the hands of Danny Use, John Hanby then me so bits of work were done over the years pointing the tree in a direction. This one was a direct import from a Japanese nursery and has sat for 6 years untouched but I'm certain I have a pair now

Sunny Cornwall YESTERDAY - Sat 23rd - lovely day at the unit - acers in full leaf !


  1. A great start Marcus. I wish you all the best in your business.

    1. Thanks Ian.

      I know how far I travel looking for material sometimes and wanted to offer the things people need and want a bit closer to home. There will be quite a bit of free practical bonsai work on various saturdays too so hopefully in time we will create a little hot spot of keen bonsai enthusiasts in the area.

      By bringing Peter Warren down here regularly to teach and help us improve is all part of the plan too.