zondag 27 december 2015

Silver Birch deadwood update 27.12.2015

Today I gave the big cutting/pruning wounds a bit of attention with my Dremel, for the first time. The big wound needs some more deeper carving and finishing, but I don't want to hurry things. I'll let it weather another year before I finish it. I attended the cutting wounds on the roots as well, but forgot to take pictures. Next time perhaps.

Windswept Larix Decidua update 26.12.2015

Update from 26th dec, 2015.

Larix Decidua, windswept.

Had its 3rd and final restyle in 2014. Updated it yesterday, with a few wires, breaking off the old deadwood top and one major deadwood branch at about the centre of the trunk. I also rewired the dead branches in the top, they were created this year, and still contain enough resin to be able to correct them a bit. Soaking them with water and then torch them a bit could also do the job offcourse. The new dead top will be hollowd into the trunk a bit, as well as the ex-jin midway.

Now this is a little tree with very sparse foliage, in windswept style. I think with 2 or 3 more growing seasons I'll allready have a ramification that matches this rough look of sparse foliage. This styling would be quickly ruined with big masses of green on every branch, I need small alternating lots of branchlets.

I bought this as small raw material, back in +/- 2002. It has undergone quite a metamorphosis.

First 3 pictures from yesterday.

in 2009/2010

In 2006/2007

maandag 21 december 2015

Updating and improving my personal Substrate mix

My new substrate mix ready for 2016.
It is an update of my current substrate that I've been using for 5 years now, and consisted of mainly zeolite granulate, in a mix with coco compost for up to 20 or 30%.

I'm busy writing an article, and will update. To be continued within the next 2 weeks.

Some pictures:

dinsdag 15 december 2015

Buds of common Alder still in the ground

Update december 14th, 2015, of my common (european) Alder (Alnus Glutinosa).

Yeah, Alnus Glutinosa, I just can't get enough, I just can't get enough...
From 2yr old forestry material, pink-thick 80-100cm, back in 2010 I believe.

Totally in the nude now, a good time for yet another picture (I know, I love em too much).
Within the next 2 seasons this one will really evolve into proper raw material. It is the first year that I am confident it will not take another 5 years to get the desired trunk thickness and a good base for future branches to be built on, because I do prune twice a year and this normally slows back the thickening drastically with a lot of other species.

I am also confident that the trunk base and the rootwork will be decent enough, with Alnus Glutinosa this is quite easy to achieve if kept in the ground for a few years. With this tree I know for sure enough good roots are there. Make sure you plant it back at the same depth/height, otherwise it will rapidly produce new roots at the trunk base, that will grow out to strong roots, if the soil is moist enough there. That can be a good thing, or a bad thing if the overgrow allready good rootsystem underneath.

maandag 14 december 2015

common Hazel 'stump' - update 14.12.2015

Update 14 dec 2015 of my common Hazel (corylus avellana).
No cultivar. It was dug out early april 2015 alongside the entrance to a 'chalet' in the Belgian Ardennes we've rented from friends. This was just part of the shrubs that are mowed down every 2 years, so rather a gardendori than a yamadori :-).

All new shoots from this year, look at the longest ones, just amazing fort its first year of recovering in a container. Looks promising, hasnt lost any vigour so far.

This winter I'll further reduce the main front trunk, chop it off above the new shoot that will grow out to be a new mini-trunk and bring leaves/canopy to the lower front of the tree. This is important because this front trunk blocks the view to another trunk in the back which suits the composition better. I am aiming for a broad 'shrub' like canopy.
The red circle in the one picture shows the trunk to be chopped, and the new part of the canopy that will be created by the leftover side-branch/new trunk-to-be.

So, still 2 or 3 years left of growing shoots in this training pot, then serious pruning and wiring can start. That is, if growth vigour stays like it was this year.

maandag 2 november 2015

update of 2 long-term projects Horse Chestnut and Bird Cherry

Update 02.11.2015 of two long-term projects.

Horse Chestnut, started from seed collected in 2011.
Here it is after one year in pot, and some years in the ground.
I have dug it out, done some rootpruning and transplanted it to another corner in my (modest) garden.
Will need 3 to 5 more years in the ground I think.
Trunk base just above nebari is now about 4 to 5cm.

Bird Cherry, started from 2 year old forestry material, in 2010.
Has had a difficult start the first year, but regained vigour afterwards. The cause was a bit of damaged trunkbase, but this has now turned into some interesting natural dead wood.
Also needs 3 to 5 more years in the ground.
Trunk base just above nebari is now about 4cm.

Great great fun, growing your own raw bonsai material! Everyone that loves bonsai should at least have grown one or few trees themselves to fully experience the joy and fulfillment.

woensdag 28 oktober 2015

Ribes update 25/10/2015

Update of one of my smallest and one of my first bonsai attempts.
From a cutting in 1996, Ribes species. Good 15cm in height. Every year it flowers but it only produces small berries. It is some sort of a cultivar.

Has spent its entire life in pot. No fat trunk here, but this is just what it is. Since this year I put it in a bigger pot, good new substrate, good encourage growth, to let trunk/branches thicken, gain vigour. After that, it will go back into a smaller and lower pot.

Fraxinus Excelsior pollarded bonsai?

New in my collection of raw material, since early april this year. This is Fraxinus Excelsior, the common European Ash.

Hasn't really recovered fully from collection this year, growth was quite poor but it survived well.
Let's see what next spring brings, I'm hopeful!
The idea is to create the image of a pollarded tree, which is quite typical of the region I live in, with Fraxinus Excelsior being one of the typical species uses for that.

I'm aiming for a 5 year plan before it'll start to look decent and be able to put in a good pot. In 10 years I should be able to have a canopy that only needs maintenance.

small Rowan in fall colours

My other little Rowan tree, one of my first bonai attempts ever. From seed, since 1997 (or was it 1996). Has only spent 2 growing seasons in the ground, always kept in pot. Height is just under 30cm. Rowan has to be pruned drastically and consequently if you want to end up with more than a straight trunk and few straight branches. It took some years to create a decent base so ramification has only begun since a good 2 years. Give it another couple of years and I think this will make a presentable little tree. Great fall colours on Rowans !

The pot is not the final one.

maandag 19 oktober 2015

small Rowan (Sorbus Aucuparia) 7 months after collection

Update 19.10.2015 of my newly collected small Rowan tree (Sorbus Aucuparia), 7 months ago. About two weeks ago I pruned away several shouts +1meter of this year. We'll have to wait and see how it evolves. I'll wait and see for next years growth to decide in the further styling. But surely this will be a smallsized tree. The girth of the trunk base is about...a cup. I'll have to treat that bit of dull/rotten natural deadwood. Nice species I think, and will look beautiful in fall colours once the canopy is there.

Common Alder - keeper or dumper?

Well, as you can see, I'll keep it.
This one has spent (was dumped) more than 2 years in a corner in my garden (which is always too small). Once a year it got pruned back, nothing more than basics.
But this method has produced a good lot of buds which can come in handy next year. First I'll see if my brutal handling (fierce rootpruning and changing the angle, in a small pot) doesn't kill the tree over winter. I'll make sure it gets protection from frost or icy winds, even if the species can take that easily. Oh yes, obviously a bit of carving to do near the big trunk cut.
If it survives it could be fun to build it up, my first (of 4) alders in pot it'll be then. Heavy watering, heavy feeding.

Crataegus into dormancy update 18.10.2015

Just an update 18.10.2015 with my Crataegus Monogyna (common, European, hawthorn) that went into dormancy...

Started from nothing more than the trunk and little stumps since 2008. It was collected from a garden hedge in 2006 or 2007 I believe (a bonsaifriend back then who wanted to get rid of it).

Next year late winter I'll look into the primary branches, will I keep all of them as is...can I/should I adjust position, etc. From then on, finally, basic structure has been built, and more refinement can come! The tree is not meant to have a hyper-trimmed japanese style canopy. A bit of roughness, a bit of nonchalance, even the occasional 'bad'looking spiky branches or crossing branchlet is allowed to a certain extent.

maandag 21 september 2015

Malus prebonsai prepared for autum/winter

Yesterday I cleaned out this years growth of another tree, my Malus. Its not really prebonsai yet, its between raw material and prebonsai I guess. Will need good wiring at the right time just to give some direction, because apple branches quickly get to hard to bend easily without breaking.

From bonsai nursery stock in 2012. Drastically cut back to less then 50% height, all of the top was removed, then carved... All branches are new. It will be a long way with this Malus to get the primary branches thick enough to make the secondary/tertiary branchlets credible. But, offcourse lots of time will also help. Will have to use suckers where I want branches to thicken, but make sure other parts receive enough energy too. Fun project. Carving not finished, it is untouched since 2013.
I am aiming for a look with a bit of drama, wildness, robustness. No trimmed perfect japanese look please.

Silver Birch ready for autumn and winter

Yesterday I cleaned out the summer growth of my prebonsai Silver Birch, and put few wire on some branches. A decent wiring is planned for late winter next year.

From a seedling of 2 inches high, harvested in 2008 from between the pavement tiles.
Crazy what you can achieve with silver birch, if you allow it 2 or 3 seasons undisturbed growht and cut back fiercely every year. All branches you see has been built up since 2010/2011.
Still prebonsai, but in another +/- 2 years I'll will have my final idea of which branches I'll keep for the primary structure. Refinement can start from then on. In about 5 years this will surely be presentable as decent bonsai with raw/natural look. Although you wouldn't tell for now, but perhaps the smaller branches will be wired with a bit of weeping, especially in the top ends.

donderdag 17 september 2015

juvenile Horse Chestnut with bonsai ambition

Sometimes, it all starts from a simple seedling. Hard reality, if you want the purist approach to start from scratch and do it all yourself. But, what joy and fullfilment, even if the outcome in 20 or 30 years is not a 'perfect' bonsai.

A Horse Chestnut with bonsai ambition, if you will.
Sown in 2012.

Great fun will be to see the evolution. Within the next couple of years, slowly more training for prebonsai will have to start. More news in... well I don't know yet.

late summer picture of Larix Kaempferi

Random post, with a (august) summer picture of my japanese larch or Larix Kaempferi.

Selfmade (semi?)literati, easy flowing simple elegant feminine shape...
Not all bonsai have to be about big drama...

Started more than 10y ago from young material developed for group planting. So this was nothing more than a young thumb thick stick with lots of juvenile growth.
Has been restyled after a few years into this literati style.

Still needs years of ramification now. Secondary and tertiary branchlets come quite sparsely, since it allready flowers. Need to focus on techniques to stimulate growth a little more.

zaterdag 11 juli 2015

european Larch (larix decidua) revisited 11.07.2015

I took away my last doubts about my european larch. The windswept-look-a-like now looks even more windswept. Over the last few years it evolved into this style, not really deliberately however. I just went with the possibilities it had (the trunk inclination for instance), and now I'm left with a very sparse foliage. I quite like it now, no further styling or restyling. Next year I will further extend the branch, I am happy with the movement of the branch (dropping then rising slightly again). It adds to the drama of this little larch. I only need to address the dead wood at the top, redesign the old dead top to match the additional dead branches on top (created today). From now on, ramification!

Height +/- 25cm.

donderdag 9 juli 2015

Hazelnut revisited 09.07.2015

corylus avellana. Hazel-nut var. 'the Nutty Professor'?

It seems this little bush had no problem transplanting its natural growing power into the pot. Good substrate, good feeding, and off it went. With all that power I'm sure its healthy enough, so I chopped down some of the trunks a bit more last week. Summertime will make sure the healing will be no problem. Collected, and chopped down twice in 3 months time. Growth just continues..

Just a few pictures. Some carving/hollowing out to do, its pretty obvious where.
See the bonsai in the bonsai-to-be? I can.
5 years project to have an acceptable prebonsai ready for ramification seem about right? I think so

bonsai common european Ash (fraxinus excelsior) revisited 09.07.2015

Tiny common European Ash, Fraxinus Excelsior. After partial leaf removal, pruning, some 2 weeks ago, a new flush of green is ready to burst out of those beautiful buds. In a couple of years time there will be an 'acceptable' canopy for this small sized Ash. I dont really need a huge amount of ramification on this one. Ever seen the growth habitus of a European Ash in its natural environment, its rather a sparse and spiky ramification.

The notorious Ash-disease responsable for possible severe dieback on Ash, called Chalara Fraxinea (fungus) has not stroke this one yet. I hope it never does, because there is no cure and you can only observe, possibly cut back, and hope. On bonsai the threat surely exists as well, but because of the size or our trees, the fungus has more difficulty reaching them offcourse, even in areas where the disease has struck in forests, solitary trees...

maandag 15 juni 2015

Prunus Subhirtella 'autumnalis rosea' update 14.06.2015

Just a little update of still other tiny 'raw material': Prunus Subhirtella, variety 'autumnalis rosea'.

Offcourse still building up.

Wanted to show how the graft I made a month ago, is healing up quickly. This looks promising, good callousing, it looks like this entire wound will be closed rapidly. Maybe there will be succes, lets wait and see in next spring.