The recent workshop with Joe Morgan-Payler has re-inspired me to keep developing these small, contorted junipers.
While not everyone appreciates this style of bonsai, especially here in Australia where our relatively mild climate does not produce such trees in the mountains, they seem to be valued by Japanese bonsai artists. These trees simulate the types of trunks that the severe winters and harsh growing conditions in the Japanese mountains naturally produce.
Today I worked on a Japanese Black pine. It was grown from seed about 10 years ago and I kept it because it has a really good 360 degrees root system that should develop into great pine nebari. Despite having such a great root system the top has not developed particularly well so I have not given it much attention so it is a good candidate to show how I go about making initial styling decisions. Continue reading
The warm weather has gone on way longer than normal in our area this year but many of the deciduous trees at Shibui Bonsai have finally decided it is time to shut down for the winter so we finally have some colour.
Autumn colour is best with cold nights and fine sunny days so this year’s leaf colour is nowhere near as strong as usual but still worth sharing some photos with you. Continue reading
Smaller, regional clubs have limited access to new ideas and expert advice so the AABC visiting tutor program is a great way for clubs to get some outside influences for our members. Our local club has just held a workshop with Joe Morgan-Payler. Continue reading
Most gardeners are aware that some plants are propagated by grafting. There are also many uses in bonsai for grafting techniques. In this post you can read the Shibui Bonsai guide to bonsai grafting.
Bonsai growers can use grafting for a number of purposes. Knowing how can open new options to change and improve your bonsai. Continue reading
Layering is the term used when we grow new roots on the stem of a plant so that we can produce a new plant.
There are 2 main methods: Air layering and Ground layering. There are also many variations of each of these methods.
Layering has many uses in bonsai:
- It can be used to propagate a new plant that you can then train as a bonsai. Because you can layer large branches you can start off with a nice thick trunk.
- It can be used to grow new roots at a point on the trunk that is better than the current root level.
- If a bonsai has poor nebari, a modified version of layering can be used to get new roots to fill in, and improve the nebari.
- When you have a bonsai with a really nice top but poor base you can layer and remove the good upper part as a new tree.
Pines and junipers are quite slow to recover from transplant but this year’s transplants from the Shibui Bonsai grow beds are now looking strong and healthy.
The black pines have been growing slower than usual after summer decandling. It is possible that is a response to less fertiliser than previous years. I am pleased to have small buds on these pines but I’ll try to feed more often through next winter and see if that makes a difference next summer.
Here are the clusters of buds that are growing after candle pruning in mid December (early summer here). Note that these summer buds do not have the bare ‘neck’ that the stronger spring candles have. Not having bare sections means I can have much more compact growth and better ramification. Needles should also be smaller on these smaller buds which will add to the impression of a mature tree.
A couple of weeks ago I showed you how I repotted my Callistemon sieberii bonsai.
Despite removing quite a lot of roots this tree has just continued to grow without any apparent setback. The shoots that were left intact have continued to grow and will need trimming soon.
Summer has proved to be a good time to repot banksias and a couple of the shibui bonsai banksias were due for it this year.
When I first started to grow banksias for bonsai they were not very successful. Most just lasted a year or two then suddenly died. Given that banksias have a reputation for being quite sensitive I just thought the genus was not suitable then I started to see some great banksia bonsai and gradually pieced together a couple of important facts about banksia bonsai. Continue reading