Banksias as bonsai

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

Repotting Callistemon

Today is the last day of 2017 which means it is well into summer at Shibui Bonsai and that means it is time for repotting some of the bonsai.

Last week I gave my Callistemon its annual after flowering prune. This one is Callistemon sieberii – River bottlebrush which flowers later than most Callistemon species, normally Early-mid December here.

Continue reading

More pine cuttings

Some say it cannot be done…..

Here at Shibui Bonsai I’ve often found that much of what ‘they’ tell us is not completely true so I’m often putting aspects of bonsai wisdom to the test.

Pine seed is currently very difficult to obtain here in Australia so many growers are looking for alternative ways to propagate pines for bonsai so even though the ‘experts’ tell us it cannot be done I’m trying to grow more pines as cuttings. Continue reading

Pot up some pines

Most of the trident maples now have tiny pink buds where new leaves are emerging to show that spring has arrived at Shibui Bonsai.

I’ve repotted most of the deciduous trees that need doing this year so it is time to move on to the evergreens. Some growers now repot pines in autumn but I’m still doing most of mine at the traditional spring repot time.

Today it was time to get a few pines into their first bonsai pots.

This twin trunk Japanese Black Pine has been developing slowly over the past 15 years or so. It has an impressive nebari and some well placed branches and now it is time to start developing better ramification. I think the restricted space in the smaller pot should help control the new growth and help the process.

Black pine after root pruning

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

nebari

 

 

 

 

 

Among the roots lies a clue to the origins of this tree.

This is one of the pines mentioned in the previous post. Seedlings were threaded through a hole in stainless steel disks to see if pines could be developed in a similar way to the maples as outlined in previous posts. Pines do not root quite as well as maples and only 2 out of 5 survived the process but the experiment did prove that it can be done.

In this case I put 2 seedlings through the same hole. In the process of growing new roots they have fused into a single twin trunk tree.

the steel disc

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’ve selected a round drum pot which has adequate size for a developing tree but still a reasonable match to the tree.

Now we wait until December for the first round of candle pruning to start the process of developing branches with full ramification.

Trident nebari

Spreading basal roots, known by the Japanese term ‘nebari’ is considered very important for maple bonsai. Surface roots are prominent features of old maples, pines and elms so these features are also valued in bonsai of these species.

Nebari should, ideally, spread evenly all around the base of the tree, showing enough to give the tree the air of age and stability. Continue reading