Saturday, February 19, 2011

Windswept Juniper and Shohin Juniper get first working

2 little specimens that I've had since last summer.  Today was the right time to start on a few of the Junipers I am growing.  I have a couple of other nice ones that will get some attention this week as well.

 Here is where I started.

One possible front. 

Another possible front.  First time doing a windswept style, it will get a few branches moved around a bit more as I settle into which side is 'Front'.

Nice little shohin juniper with great movement up the trunk.

A few more branches to move around as well on this one; almost there.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Shohin Boxwood and another Shohin Privet

1st off is the privet - again one of my 'training' trees, working it into a typical broom style.  The 2nd is a tiny Boxwood that I started work on last year.  Both get defoliated and some direction (boxwood with cutting, privet with wiring).

Should be a quick tree to form; from here forward it's reduction and ramification, and some work on making a nabari appear.    This is another training pot I made in 2008.

Found a better front for it, cleaned up downward branches, and thinned it out so it can 'breathe' better.  The pot is by Sage Smith.   Really like her work I'll be picking up more of her pots soon.

1-2 more weeks and it will be re-potting time for most of my bonsai species.  I'm almost out of deciduous trees to work on, time to move into the junipers.  I want to get most of my bonsai's reduction and basic wiring done before the growth season kicks in strong, which will also be when I strip off any wire that I put on now.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

A few shohin privet bonsai of mine

Just some things I'm toying with, that have helped me learn a few techniques.   Before and after shots.  

 Shohin Privet  - future bunjin shohin?  (Is there such a thing?  Does there 'have' to be for it 'to be'?)   

 Another angle, still not sure where 'front' is.   The pot was made by my best friend Aaron, and fired here at home.

Bonsai artist's cheap 'measuring tool' after defoliating and some wiring.

Nothing special, except for this one branch on the side..   :) 

Flipped the 'front' around, just going to see what I can do with it from here.  Pot is one of the first I fired for bonsai in late 2008 I believe.  A bit deep, decent for training shohin though.

Again nothing but a training 'tree' for me, simple pot I made a few years ago.  A bit deep, decent for training shohin.

This one I'm curious about, can't really see here but it's roots, or nabari - are really decent.  (Really loose soil allowing for a great deal of radial root growth).

This was the fun tree.  At it's base, it appears as if the tree began to fall from some past event in it's life but only went so far - and then lived from there on.  It's up to me to figure out what else to do as it's not that great further up.

 Close-up of the trunk.   Need a bit better lighting to really see, it's really interesting as it leads into some deadwood in the crease.

First use of raffia - ran a wire down the back for a 'spine' then wrapped with raffia that I soaked for 30 minutes prior.  Slapped on 2 more wires, gave it a few good bends.   Will see where it leads and wire further after I'm assured it's going to survive the beating I gave it.

All of these will go into more shallow/smaller pots this year as the work into ramification rather than accelerated growth begins.

Spring is really here now, lows in the 40's and high's in the low 70's.  At least for now things are really starting to wake up.   Alot of work ahead of me this weekend as it's time to 'turn the crops'! 

Monday, February 14, 2011

Privet Bonsai gets a haircut

This year I will be paying closer attention to this tree, giving it 1-2 defoliations and much pinching of new growth; This is a double trunk privet; Privet grows like mad and now it's time to get into the delicate work of it before it gets out of hand as spring approaches.  Both trunks will eventually be hollowed somewhat to allot for water runoff and to give the tree some extra character.  working out where to place all the branches - and have given it the beginning of it's apex.

Not much wiring, albeit a few branches were redirected down that I'm deciding to keep and build upon.

 Before work - made it through the winter well.

 Defoliated, left just a few tiny leaves here and there.

Brought a few branches down, cut back the 'too many apexes' syndrome it was looking to have.  Will leave it as is for now, next defoliation (in May likely) will result in a few more branches removed, and placement of remaining, in preparation of summer growth.

Who knows, it may go from 2 trunks to 1 eventually, the 2nd has no motion in the trunk, but this could change with some carving and hollowing as I"m planning to try out on this tree.

Privet is a hardy plant, great for beginners like me to tool with and get my techniques down pat on!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Cascade Juniper #2 Update

This is my 2nd (and more successful) cascade styled juniper that I'm working on.  a picture from last year, then a few updates before/after today's work.  Shortened it some actually to put more motion into it.  Plan to move it into it's first pot very soon as the weather continues to warm.

After last year's work in late mid August.

Today before work begins.

Wire off except for last bit that is giving the main branch a bend inwards.  Rotated slightly to find it's new front.

Some pinching done, new bend at the bottom to give more depth and better motion.

 Top a little more refined, direction to apex given for now.

Bottom given a little depth; firm direction for the rear to go.  

It's time to breathe!

Today, is the beginning of a weather trend here - finally spring is showing it's face.  The extremely cold and unusually snowy winter appears to have spent itself, and spring is now coming a bit earlier.  Temps are ranging from the low 60's F to high 30's F overnight.  Buds are starting to show everywhere and burst in some instances - junipers are showing new growth eager for pinching..  It's time to come out of cover and see what lived with my new wintering techniques implemented.

I did well!  Only lost 4 small pre-bonsai trees, and I realize why - not the best placing of trees undercover (they did not get enough water during the winter season).  Other then this loss (nothing terrible at all) everything did extremely well and is showing it's health.

Here follows all my surviving items - all pre-bonsai, as I have nothing yet I would consider show worthy.  You may see some of the potential and ideas I have for some of my trees, and the range of material I am playing with.

My big ole' 'precumbens nana' Juniper; you've seen plenty of him on my blog but here he is outside - a healthy survivor indeed.

My Japanese (Or English..) Boxwood, 2nd year in training. 

Large double trunk Privet in another neat looking 'brick' styled pot by my best friend Aaron.  Tree is doing very well; ready for de-leafing and a serious haircut.wiring.

Most everything out from cover, and on the table or in the sun again.  Junipers on the left, deciduous on the right.  (same on the ground as well in front).

A side table with my bigger items, left to right; Azalea, Privet in large clay in rear, 'rose of sharon' rhododendron species front center, smaller privet in long clay pot, and large trident maple rear right.  

A larger nursery Juniper I am training for the distant future.

San Jose Juniper nursery material that I began work on last year.  I finally have the idea in my mind for this tree; some serious branch bending, and will make it a windswept style.

Wild Cherry - it's mostly dead, but has strong suckers growing (you can see they are already as tall as the tree I brought back originally)..  I've seen this done and shown on forums online; I plan to attempt to carve 'growth' channels and wind the living suckers up the dead stump, to take advantage of the really good looking bark and trunk that this tree had.   If nothing else, I will learn some things  from this tree.

The 'other' really large Azalea that I removed from my front yard last year and turned into hopeful bonsai material.  This baby will give me some great air layers on both of the large branches left/right (Thick, aged bark that somewhat resembles pine, oddly).

And a few things not shown: pre-bonsai in the ground in a few areas, my 'tree farms' of trident maple, japanese maple and other things for the future.

Spring is here!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Juniper coming along

Slowly making changes through the winter to my Juniper I worked on last year at the Warren Hill bonsai session at Plant City Bonsai.  I need to find a good (easy) art program to use to 'model' trees as I see some people doing.  (This would be much better than me trying to learn to draw - Zero chance there, I confess.)

A few pics after the latest (and last major) branch removal, some minor wiring (deciding where to take the back branch before I begin detailed wiring, which it does need), and a guy wire here or there to position some branches where I'd like them to park for a while.  

Then a close up of the Trunk, and a good view of the tree's rather nice character branches.  They add to the flow/motion of the tree, and the one that moves to the back adds depth.  Still work to do on the Jins, I'm still learning and looking up 'when' to do 'what' (or at least good guidelines).  The health is the most important so it will be slow going on this one, maybe a rest throughout the next year to regain vigour after all the work it's had done the past few months.

I simply cannot wait for warmer weather, blooming, repotting..   Hands in the earth!

I'm in training

Thank you to my wonderful wife for this thoughtful and excellent looking (on me) tee-shirt from this past Christmas.

'Bonsai Master in Training'

I wonder if the designer/printer modeled this after a real tree in someone's lucky collection, somewhere?

Good enough to replace the boring, serious looking picture of me on my profile.  :)
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