Scots Pine styling with Andrew Barber
This Scots Pine was another tree which has been in a patio pot for some time. The trunk, although not very thick, has good 3 dimensional movement. There was ample foliage, but branches were starting to get too long. There were a couple of options for the style of this tree, and I want to improve my newly acquired wiring skills, so i took the tree for a teaching session to Andrew Barber at 'The Bonsai Shed'. Andrew patiently went through the styling options and wiring and pruning techniques with me; a very helpful session.
The tree would suit either an informal upright, or a cascade style. After considering both options, we decided on the semi cascade option.
The tree was firstly pruned, to remove any dead branches (other than the Jin), reduce any forks to 2 branches, and remove some of the leggy growth. Inner needles were plucked, to allow for wiring, and candles were cut to promote back-budding.
Once wired, the apex was lowered to create a flat underside to the foliage pad, which was wired for placement and to increase density.
Yew Styling with Harry Harrington
I acquired this lovely Yew tree earlier this year, and had been studying it since to decide on its future. The tree has been lovingly grown as a bonsai for many years, but had been in this patio pot when i acquired it, for about three years. It has some movement to the trunk, with good taper. The movement starts at the root spread/nebari, which although is fantastic, does have some crossing roots and 'knees' that will need addressing, possibly next year.
I took the tree to a training session with Harry Harrington, author of www.bonsai4me.co.uk and 'Bonsai Inspirations' 1 & 2, to give me some advice and help styling the tree. Having read his books and a good chunk of his site (there is a lot of great info!), I was looking forward to meeting Harry and picking his brain further! I was very impressed with his approach and explanations of various processes and techniques employed. His genuine love of nature and bonsai is evident in his broad knowledge base and enthusiastic yet thought out explanations. A great mentor and a great guy, thanks Harry!
Firstly, the foliage was pruned;
- to ensure all forks divide to only two branches (as a fork of three or more will produce inverse taper),
- to reduce the length of 'leggy' branches, and
- inner leaves were pruned (gently and upwards, to not disturb the buds at their bases) to allow for wiring and hopefully to induce back-budding.
The tree was then wired with various gauges of aluminium wire and styled. The apex was lowered and brought forward, to shorten the tree and accentuate the trunk girth and to suggest maturity. This also gave more movement to the entirety of the tree. Branches were positioned in an outward and downward direction, as can be often seen in nature with evergreen and coniferous trees, and arranged to create foliage pads.
By employing the appropriate pruning techniques in the next few seasons, foliage density, and branch structure ramification can be increased. By pruning more dominant areas harder (such as the apex), energy and vigour of the tree will be more balance.
The tree is now in a prominent position in my garden, to be enjoyed over the winter. Come spring, the pot will be removed, and the roots examined. If the rootball can be safely reduced, the tree will be potted into a bonsai pot. It might be that it is gradually reduced over a couple of seasons.
Tbh, the photos don't do the tree justice. I will update when i get some better pics!
Thanks for reading :)
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