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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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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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One of the challenges that face anyone creating bonsai is that they GROW not only above the soil but below, of course all trees need roots however sometimes the roots can cause problems such as oversize and out of scale to the tree, particularly with deciduous species.
I have been working this hawthorn raft over 26 years, it has been re-potted 5 times, it tends to sulk for 12 months after re-potting, but it settles down the following season.
At the end of 2015 I noticed that a major root was becoming too thick and changing the nature of the nebari of the tree. The other roots were in scale to the tree and were in sufficient number to sustain the tree if the thick root were to be removed.
I did not want to remove the root during re-potting of the tree as such an intervention combined with disturbance…
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Shore Pine is one of North America’s most beautiful two-needled pines, with short bright green needles and great bark. It has similarities to many other smaller pines which often have multiple crowns, like pinyon pines. Shore pine does have one distinct difference however, and that (appears to be) cold hardiness.
I say ‘appears to be’ because it’s more of a hunch. It does seem that at least some populations of Shore Pine are not as cold hardy as its relative, the continental, mountain-dwelling Lodgepole Pine. In some respects this is not a surprise, since many Shore Pines live close to the Northwest coastline in the same sort of zone as the Japanese Black Pine does. Anton Nijhius of Vancouver Island, Canada collects many Shore Pine, and says that some of them live at 4,000 ft in a lot of cold on the Island, so there is definitely some room for…
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