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My friend Jiri and I got an opportunity to visit a well known Bonsai artist and so we didn’t have any second thoughts about jumping in the car and making the trip.
Mr. Slovak lives in a very humid area by the Beskydy Mountains close to the Slovakian border and the health of his Mugo, Scots Pines, Larches and various other trees are direct reflection of his talent. Not only does he have a great eye for designing and bringing out the best in Yamadori and garden material but he fundamentally understands the growing process during the season and maximizes development plans based on this natural cycle.
Jirka brought a great Scots pine that has much potential but the green was just too far out to wire but thanks to its health, a plan was put into the future design. Branches were removed that would be obstacles down the road…
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June is the first summer month, and the time of year to do summer shohin strip. Deciduous trees like the Japanese maple, Crapable, trident maples i.e. are trees that will benefit from being total or partly defoliated. Healthy trees will cope well with a total removal of the leaves, if the health is equal at all branches. Weak branches should not be defoliated, or leaves can be cut in half’s to secure the health of the branch. Keeping leaves keeps sap flow and photosynthesis generating vigour.
Branches defoliated will be weakened a little, but if healthy growing, the weakening will only result in shorter distance between the leaf pairs (internodes) and smaller leafs. The trick is to leave the stem when removing the leaves with a sharp scissor. At the base of the leaf stem a sleeping bud is…
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In this small series about my favourite bonsai specimens, it is about the classic Japanese maple. It is so obvious a tree for Shohin bonsai that I can’t neglect it at the list. The shifting kind of leaves, is the Acer palmatum and A. buergerianum have lovely leafs and good trunks if grown properly.
Acer buergerianum, Trident maple, Mame-bonsai.
Tolerant for pruning, and also showing beauty during the dormant period, makes it very suitable for especially Shohin-bonsai displays, showing the change of the seasons. So what is not to like. Especially the A. buergerianum, Trident maple (named by the form of the leaves), shows a great winter image, where the dormant buds waiting for spring looks refreshing and neat.
Acer palmatum spring leafs.
The trick is to keep the foliage healthy, especially during the heat of the summer where leaf burns at the fragile A. palmatum can be a small problem…
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The next of my favourite bonsai on the top 5 bonsai list, still in random order, is the Yew. European Yew, alias Taxus baccata. To me one of the strongest and most beautiful trees that is a full quality replacement for the classic Japanese black pine traditionally (and almost always) used as the main bonsai in a Shohin display i Japan. And therefore copied in most of Europe. The reason why I mention a replacement for the Japanese black pine, is that this tree doesn’t cope well with the colder parts of Europe, and it is difficult to maintain a good tree here in Northern Europe. Instead I recommend the use of the European Yew, that have the same qualities as the Japanese favourite, showing strength and adding peace to the display.
The Yew, Taxus baccata and other varieties, are easy to grow, tolerant to pruning and it is…
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When purchasing raw material Yamadori… that is trees that have been collected and are in the first container that they were established, many folk are concerned that the transition to a smaller container would be too traumatic an undertaking.
Timing, health and understanding the resilience of the species is essential when doing this work.
The example shown here is a yew tree that I am developing for David Carvalho from Portugal, the tree has been in its first container for three years and is ready to be moved to a much smaller ‘bonsai pot’ size container.
Checking the roots we see that it pot is full and there is Mycorrhiza present, good evidence of a healthy root system. The establishing planting medium is still very open and there are no ‘black’ roots to be seen.
On closer inspection a thick root needs to be shortened to enable the tree to…
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