Monday, 26 May 2014

Bonsai Online videos

These are excellent online films giving so many hints and bonsai tips - I find myself hunting through the 40 odd films quite often looking for a section on specific pruning, or on a species etc so I thought I'd put together a set of links with a bit of a description to make it easy to find the right film each time.

Episode 1 - An overview of the Nursery Fujikawa Kouka-en and an insight into what the apprentices do on a daily basis

Episode 2
Energy balancing of Silverberry - Elaeagnus Pungens
Maple pruning in early spring
Day trip to Kyoto - Arashiyama

Episode 3
Juniper Styling - Shimpaku for Kokufu-ten
Cryptomeria - summer maintenance

Episode 4
Hinoki Cypress - Bud pinching & Branch trimming
Day Trip Kyoto

Episode 5
Shimpaku Juniper Refinement - Kifu
Summer maintenance - Dwarf star jasmine

Episode 6
Shohin appreciation and display

Episode 7
Japanese Red & Black pine decandling techniques
Large trees and shohin

Episode 8
Hinoki clump styling - wiring
Visit to japanese restaurant garden

Episode 9
Styling Hinoki formal upright
Day trip kyoto Temples

Episode 10
Japanese White Pine
pad wiring and formation

Episode 11
Interview with Naoki Maeoka
Styling juniper shimpaku in Bunjingi style

Episode 12
Matching a tree with the correct pot:
Trident Maple
Styling a grafted white Pine
Repotting White Pine

Episode 14
Clump style white Pine

Episode 15 Part 1
Large & Medium bonsai of various species to appreciate 

Part 2

Episode 16

Episode 17
Minoru Fujikawa - founder of Kouka-en

Episode 18
Show refinement for Taikan-Ten

Episode 19

Episode 20
Carving and cleaning with power tools
Needle juniper
Red Pine

Episode 21
White pine styling
Planting on a slab
Preparing for high end exhibition

Episode 22
Taikan-ten Bonsai Exhibition

Episode 23
American native bonsai
rocky mountain Juniper
Virginia Pine
Ponderosa pine
American hornbeam

Episode 24
Kokufu-ten overview and sales area
Masashi Hirio interview

Episode 25
Japanese Maples - doing it properly
Branch removal and pushing growth back in
Wiring and branch manipulation

Episode 26
Basic repotting

Episode 27
Deciduous maintenance
Pruning, defoliating

Episode 28

Episode 29
White Pines
pruning, feeding, wiring, pad formation

Episode 30
Interview with Juan Cruz

Episode 31
Taikan-ten 32 exhibition

Episode 32
David Martinez making a small juniper and an interview

Episode 33
White Pine
Red & Black pine

Episode 34
Shishigashira maple preparation for kokufu
Hinoki Cypress masterpiece preparation

Episode 35
Trident maple defoliation

Episode 36
Spring techniques for alternate leafing deciduous trees

Episode 37
Black pine styling & repotting

Episode 38
Small clay pot juniper styling and repotting

Episode 39
Styling a very large yamadori shimpaku juniper

Episode 40
Spring repotting

Episode 41

And the funnies

Thursday, 22 May 2014

trident time - no rest for the wicked

it's puzzling sometimes..........if I watch Rocky 1, Alien, Apocalypse Now,...... Mandy will say "how many times have you seen THIS" yet the other evening The Full Monty is on again and she sits up till the end enjoying every bit

What does that have to do with bonsai..........?

Not a lot -the song is a good stripping and exposure tune, and that is what the Trident group needed this week - I see more wasted & sometimes ruined deciduous trees than conifers due to the growers just keeping them to enjoy the lush canopy of outer leaves rather than understanding the inner buds,shoots and leaves are the future of the tree as they are needed to replace older outer growth. Cutting off the light and airflow from the inside of the tree makes these important inner bits die off - it is the large and dense outer leaves that cut off the light so they have to be dealt with. Some trees will have the outer leaves reduced in number, some will have them reduced in size, and some will have them cut off totally ! 

 This Trident maple forest planting was imported from Japan this winter and leafed out fully while in the sheltered environment of the quarantine polytunnels. I was after two or three good specimen deciduous trees to include with our bread and butter stock and this one was basically a perfect example of its type so had to become part of our stock

25 trunks, very dense leaves, in my personal taste this is perfection. I will be very sad if this tree sells as I'm not sure I could buy another one so good quite so easily. 
So now as the current owner it is my duty to maintain and try to improve this tree rather than bugger it up like so many trees are in the years after import. The inner leaves and weak shoots need some light and simultaneously the thicker strong outer growth needs reducing and encouraging to form shorter finer growth (and a by-product is smaller leaves too)

2 1/2 hrs later this shows the way I defoliate tridents (and zelkova) all upper, outer and strong inner growth is removed but the well placed inner areas that are very weak (but needed) in future designs is kept intact. Now the inner bits get 5-6 weeks of sun so they survive and the outside will open the small and dormant buds to give me a finer ramification and even better leaf quality.

One other important point to consider - -- buying deciduous trees should be a winter past time but we are all tempted to wait until they are in leaf - then it becomes a slight unknown where we hope the tree has the suggested ramification that a true specimen bonsai should have - defoliating this one confirmed we have a winner

What happens if you are scared, unsure or unable to care properly for your deciduous bonsai ??

in the blink of an eye they are set back years !!!! this next trident group was originally sold by P. Chan, Herons Nursery and was probably really nice -  but poor pruning, no defoliating etc let the inner shoots die out and then the outer growth to get leggy

this is after we've had the tree 9 months and have started forcing the growth back in again but it will be a long time before this group ramifies like the last one....but it will improve month after month and to put it all in context this tree is £160 while the previous group is £1.9k.

Update: The blue pot group has now sold to a friend to continue the process of refinement 

Sunday, 11 May 2014

Cornish Bonsai Exhibition 17th / 18th May

Trellisick Gardens

The annual Cornwall Bonsai Society bonsai and separate accompaniment plant show is coming up.


Trellisk Gardens - National Trust property between Truro and Falmouth

Bonsai Exhibition is in the stable block and surrounding area


May 17th & 18th - Saturday and Sunday


Entry to Bonsai Show is FREE. makes a refreshing change these days. (To acceess the other parts of the National Trust property there are the usual entry charges. Just paying the car park charge gives access to the upper parkland walks - (Dogs allowed) , coffee shop, gallery, Bonsai exhibit etc.

This is a club members show and will highlight the fantastic diversity of trees and plants we have within the society - there will be Bonsai from shohin or even mame up to specimen large trees. Japanese trees & native trees will make up the displays and a large selection of unique accent plants, bonsai accompaniment plantings and other seasonal plants used in display and for appreciation- I expect there will be over 100 individual plants & trees to see.

I'm not sure what to take yet but this one is looking nice and has never been used there before.

If my table is going down the deciduous route we need a bit of contrast in colour and style so maybe this one as well ?

Then i hope to fit in a 3rd smaller and very unusual species

The Sessile Oak  - picture ?...........

come to the show and see

Thursday, 8 May 2014

roll up roll stock time - part 1

lets start with some happy music

May bank holiday was a busy one - tree time had arrived. We had one big online push to sell as much of last years stock as possible and the benches were looking a bit sparse so a proper buying trip was in order. 

Midnight Thursday - 3 hrs in bed then get the trailer ready
This was the biggest box trailer I could find and once I got the indicator working !! it was ready to go.

525 miles later.......................

Starting to select some nice trees, but still space so keep on buying (I need a few more customers just like me haha)

The next 2 days were bonsai filled with a fantastic group of enthusiasts from the local area. We had open workshops with lots of trees to talk about, style, re-style and tweak. The standard of the club members trees were very high - the influence of their local supplier (Dougie) bringing in excellent stock was clear to see - I think this club has the best collective standard of trees I've seen on my travels to clubs across the UK.

All too soon it was time to point the car South and start the long careful drive home. Got home about midnight, fell into bed and then up early to unpack the trailer - even before breakfast was cooked ! - all keen and excited or what .

someone was maybe having a bad day

What did I buy ? - a bit of everything I think
Acers, pines, junipers, white beeches, cork elms, zelkovas, crepe myrtle, quinces, azaleas, some native stuff too - spruce, yew, pines, birch, blackthorn, cherry, and more.

This is (was) the best pair of specimen Fagus Crenata for sale at a realistic price in the country. In fact I've never been in a bonsai nursery here in over 20 yrs and been able to chose between 2 such trees

The tree on the left £3500, the tree on the right £2000 - (This one sold last night, 3 days after getting back) so now I don't have the best pair for sale in the Uk as there's only one ! 

I have a soft spot for white beech - my first one - bought in niaivity many years ago, was a european seed grown tree so would never go white in a million years, the bark is smooth, greeny grey and the leaves are massive. That one was traded back with the original seller for a pot ! and tree 2 was acquired - A guy from Greece really wanted it so off it went. Tree 3 was the group and that also found its way into a trade for another tree. Now we have the chance to request and order specific trees from Japan it makes it slightly easier to source trees of supreme quality

tree 1 - £2000.00  simply stunning and sold within 72 hrs

Tree2 rrp £3500 as it is - plans are that the tree will enter my bonsai collection for a few years so it can be refined to bonai show readiness (unless a customer twists my arm a long way) Top will be pruned harder, middle a little and the bottom branches which are always weak on these left to develop more - this picture shows the trees habit perfectly - too much top, weak bottom - must be treated properly or you end up with a leggy tree with a few leaves on the ends of long bare branches - never buy a neglected one unless it is very cheap and you have 10 years spare to recover it

Back to the new stock - lets see what else caught my eye

What can you say........25 trunk Trident maple, very natural - it invites you in with superb depth of field. The crossing trunk - in days of old I'd have pulled it across with a guy wire but now I think it adds a natural feel to the planting. In winter image I may move it if the image does not gel. £1950.00 Delivered in UK

Lovely Acer Palmatum £2400 - Trunk and nebari quality is very high - thats the important bit to concentrate on when buying a good tree as the branches and ramification are much easier to develop. This is a good piece of specimen material to work on and improve - the top could be reduced a bit, the middle thinned and then the bottom branches will fill out more. I plan to give the tree a quick boost with some of the strength building tonics and fertiliser products we have here and then a few weeks later defoliate - the Trident group above will have the same treatment - absolutely essential to keep the trees that dense and not drop the inner growth

Deshojo's - £65, £75, £600 - (front left sold) 

This is a grown up Deshojo showing off but ready for another prune - NFS

 Palmatum triple trunk coming on OK, £495.00 - A tree we've worked on for a couple of years and  I've been pruning hard to generate some lower shoots to add a few more branches - now it is working this type of material increases in value quickly each season - material like this is always worth snapping up before the price reaches the finished value - NOW SOLD

Many more Acers here too - material from £5 to £95 available - ONLY 1 CLAY POT TREE LEFT

Azalea bonsai are about to come into their own with a seasonal display of colourful flowers

Large tree with lovely taper £450

Curvy tall satsuki's that will soon be smothered in pink and white flowers £350 each

Micro Satsuki's too - perfect for the shohin enthusiast of to add a little class and colour to a rock planting £65 - £70 each - BOTH SOLD

Crenata white beech 03 & 04 £150 each - great trees, first prune will follow when the leaves harden off

What a bad boy !! Crepe Myrtle - flowering semi hardy tree that needs winter protection and does really well in the west country climate. A true specimen tree in every sense .....age, size, taper, ramification - all are very good - £2800.00

nice mature chochubai miniature flowering quince - tree 01 - £295

Chochubai 02 - same price

A couple of clearance trees - beech raft looking great but I need the space SOLD

Trident group that missed a bit of pruning and grew out. We've repotted and started harder pruning - inner shoots forming well now but another tree taking up valuable space so £175 collected gets the tree SOLD

I may airlayer the tops out of the 5 main trees in a few weeks unless the tree sells

I think we'll stop this post with the broadleaf trees and make part 2 the conifers, part 3 will need to be more native stock and raw material trees

email or call Marcus on 07855 300789 for details, to arrange a viewing or to reserve any trees - We will soon be taking orders and requests for specific trees from Japan - this service is suited to specimen material for people who know what they want - £1000 min deposit at time of request to show commitment. Email requests and we will advise


doing it properly

We thought...........If you plan on sending trees you need the proper kit to do it right. This evening a crate was built to house 5 nice bonsai that are certainly not shohin - the trees are strapped under tension to the slats and the pallets are formed into a box 

in here is a Zelkova, a European black pine, a scots pine, hemlock and hinoki. All are 80-100cm trees that are ready to get to the owner so crating and sending on next day pallet service is the way to go.

Packed, wrapped, on the forklift and ready for the lorry, we use a saturday delivery service when needed so our customers are at home ready to unpack the box of goodies.....Christmas comes every day when you shop at Bonsai@16

Trees now get sent to virtually every European country quite regularly - and to all extremities of the British Isles too - and as these pics show no order can be too large !! 

Monday, 5 May 2014

Down at the dirty end

Taking a few pictures yesterday these caught my eye for colour and contrast

Age and maturity in a tree comes from the bark and trunk base - texture, colour, root flare ....all combine to make some trees stand out from the crowd