Development of collected cedar #1

Bonsai VL

L’évolution stylistique d’un cèdre amassé en nature. (Cèdre #1)

(version française en bleu) 

This Cedar was collected on the south shore of the St-Lawrence river in August of 1997.   I was very pessimistic about its survival given that there was only 4 or 5 feeder roots of around 2 inches starting directly from the trunk just below the soil line.  I was a beginner in terms of dealing with collected material and brought the tree to a friend with experience!  He secured the tree properly in the pot, applied root hormones in different areas. He also added a plastic container around the trunk which was filled with soil to ensure that the few feeder roots just below the soil line would remain humid.

Here is a picture of the tree in August 1997

Ce cèdre fut cueilli sur la rive sud du St-Laurent en aout 1997. J’étais assez pessimiste sur ses chances de…

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Development of collected larch #1

Bonsai VL

Author:  Vianney Leduc    Translator :  Jean-Claude Lévesque

(version française en bleu)

This tree was collected in the fall of 2006 on the north shore of the ST-Lawrence river.  It was my first time collecting Larches.  There are two distinct growing condition in that collecting area; in the bog or in pocket of soil in rock crevices.  This tree was growing in a pocket of soil in a rock crevice.

The next two pictures were taken in October of 2006 and show two different side of the tree.

Cet arbre fut cueilli en nature dans la région de la Côte Nord, au Québec. Ce fut ma première expérience à cueillir des mélèzes en nature. Nous avons noté deux conditions de croissance pour les mélèzes dans cette région : il y a les mélèzes de tourbières et les mélèzes enracinés dans du terreau accumulé dans des crevasses de rochers. Cet arbre-ci était enraciné dans une crevasse.

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Creation of a penjing

Bonsai VL

Autheur :Pierre Leloup                (Traducteur :  Vianney Leduc)  

Projet: mars 2009   ——    Project: March 2009

(English version in bleue)

Il me faut des roches, beaucoup de roches! Plus j’en aurai, plus j’aurai de choix lors de la composition. Je les choisis toutes de la même couleur et de la même patine, car c’est important pour la cohérence et l’homogénéité de l’ensemble.

I need lots of rocks!  The more rocks, the more choice I have in making this composition.  I choose them of the same colour and texture to have unity between them.

No 1

Les roches proviennent de la rivière Saint-François près de Drummondville au Québec.  Ensuite, il me faut un support. Dès le début, j’envisageais de créer une œuvre mesurant environ 240 cm  de longueur. Comme un plateau aussi long risque de casser en deux,  sans parler de la difficulté de le transporter, j’opte pour deux plateaux  en granite que je mets bout à bout…

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Design for collected larch #2

Bonsai VL

Author:  Vianney Leduc

When considering design options we make an inventory of important visual elements that exist on different possible fronts.  To find these elements, we have to rotate a tree in many different angles and examine each element.  This is especially true of collected coniferous which lend themselves to various styles.

Here is a slim larch in the position that it was potted in 2012 when collected.  The movement in the trunk line is the major visual element.  In the case of such a slim trunk, we can have our first branch starting from high up in the tree.  The two lowest branches, indicated by the arrows did not fit in any of the design considered and were made into jin to become visual elements to be considered.

Lorsque l’on considère des options de design, il est important de faire un inventaire des différents éléments visuels qui existent dans les différentes façades considérées.  Pour ce faire, on doit regarder l’arbre…

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Styling of nursery mugo pine #1

Bonsai VL

Author:  Vianney Leduc

This tree was collected in Ottawa in the early 90s by a long time member of the Ottawa  society. The tree was originally potted in bonsai soil and went back in the ground for a number years to thicken up the trunk. Mugo pine do not thicken in bonsai soil. Below is a picture of the tree in 1994.

Cet arbre a été cueilli à Ottawa au début des années 90 par un membre de la société d’Ottawa. L’arbre fut originalement rempoté dans un substrat à bonsaï pour ensuite retourner dans un champ pour quelques années pour faire grossir le tronc.  Le tronc des pins mugo cesse de grossir une fois dans le substrat à bonsaï. Voici l’arbre en 1994.


The owner of the tree, at the time, agreed to lend me the tree in spring 2013 so that I could practice styling on such a pine.  I knew that I had to keep all the available…

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Larch defoliation

Bonsai VL

(Version française ci-dessous)

Healthy native larches bonsai will naturally produced needles which can vary in length between 1’’ and 1 ½’’ when fertilized and watered properly.  This size of needles is generally too long for small and medium size bonsai. 

Many enthusiasts will reduce the length of the needles by limiting the amount of water and fertilizer.   Although they do get good result,  I am personally uncomfortable with this approach.  I feel that it leads to less vigorous trees and less density in the foliage pads.

 Needle length before defoliation and after defoliation


I prefer the full defoliation approach which is a technique that I found in the book “Bonsai from the Wild” written by Nick Lenz.   It consists of removing every single needle on the tree in the 3rd or fourth week of June.

This technique will require that the larch uses its reserve of energy…

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Amur maple trunk development (Amur #1)

Bonsai VL

 (version française ci-dessous)

The trunk of many species will simply stop thickening once in bonsai culture. I wanted to find out if the Amur maple was a species capable of trunk thickening when over potted. I have seen the over potting technique providing very good result for larches and Japanese black pine but disappointing result for Mugo pine, Boxwood and Azalea. 

The results are good and could probably have been even better if I had not made a mistake along the way (see explanation below).

The tree had already been growing a large pot and was potted in a 26″ x 19″ wooden box in spring 2013. The roots were not pruned during that repot.  The trunk was just below 2″ thick at that time.


The tree was allowed to grow freely for 4 growing season. It was fertilized twice a week with organic fertilizers and watered once a day for…

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