New catalogues

The trees that were transplanted from the grow beds last winter have grown well and the new roots should be strong enough for them to cope with the posties now. Most have already had one haircut.

I spent last week dodging storms and rain to get photos and the new catalogues are now uploaded to the catalogue page. Feel free to browse and see if anything takes your fancy this year.

End of bare root sales this year

As most of will now be aware, Spring has come a bit earlier this year. The trident maples hear at Shibui Bonsai have already begun to leaf out. We know that it is safe to dig, root prune and ship bare root tridents while they are dormant but having leaves puts a lot more stress on these trees. Spring budding means an end to the Shibui Bonsai bare root winter sales.

Trees in pots are a much safer bet for beginners and experienced growers alike as the roots are already well established in the pots. Shibui Bonsai has an extensive selection of trident maples and other bonsai species in pots. Select from a range of sizes, shapes and prices from $10 through to around $300. Email and let me know what species, sizes and shapes you want to consider. I’m happy to take some photos of trees that may match your needs so you can select the right tree(s) for your project.

Early Spring

Spring has arrived earlier than usual at Shibui Bonsai. Tridents are growing leaves and flowering species that are usually in full flower for shows in October are already opening. As a result I’ve had to get potting up and repotting deciduous species done quicker than usual. I’m still repotting any pines and junipers that need doing this spring as they don’t seem to mind root pruning a bit later than the deciduous species.

Prunus ‘Elvins’ puts on a massed display of blossom which makes it a favourite of gardeners and bonsai growers. This is one that came out of the grow beds 12 months ago so now well established in the pot.

The pot is 20 cm diameter. For scale I’ve put my hand in the pic.

There’s also a couple of other Prunus ‘Elvins’ still available for sale.

Like many species, Prunus glandulosa has a range of common names – Dwarf almond, Chinese Bush Cherry, Chinese plum. It comes in pink and white forms but both have lovely double flowers. Unfortunately this species doesn’t grow a thick trunk but can be used for shohin sized bonsai.

Not sure what variety this azalea is but it has quite small flowers and smaller leaves which makes it great for smaller bonsai. This one is NOT FOR SALE but I do have some younger plants of the same variety if you would like to grow something similar.

On the sales tables, deciduous trees are opening new leaves for the coming growing season. New Spring growth is always something to look forward to as we come out of the grey days of winter.

Even the newly potted transplants are fast putting on leaves. These won’t be ready to travel for a few months but look out for new catalogues in November or December as usual.

Pictured below: New Root over Rock trident maples; Prunus ‘Elvins’; Crab apple ‘Profusion’; collected cherry plum and collected hawthorn and a few of the newly transplanted trident maples.

There are still some good trees from last season’s offering for those who don’t want to wait. I recently updated most to the catalogues to show what’s still here. click HERE for the Shibui Bonsai catalogue page We can post trees to Vic, SA, NSW and Qld customers. Post prices vary according to destination, size and weight so let me know your postcode when asking about a tree so I can calculate delivery cost for you.

Budget Trident maples

I’m sure many beginners are concerned about purchasing bare root trees and having them delivered through the mail so some of you may be more interested in some trident maple trunks that are already established in pots.

These are some of the XL and XXL bare root tridents that were left after last year’s winter bare root sale so I potted up some of the nicer trunks. That means these have had a full year to grow new roots and re-establish in the pots ready for whatever projects you’d like to try with them. Some might need another trunk chop to establish a better trunk line, others are ready to start growing branching this summer.

Delivery for some of these will be a little more than the bare root equivalent but generally a single pot doesn’t change the post price much. As usual, I’m happy to provide a delivery price quote before you commit to purchase. Please supply a mailing address or at least a postcode because post rates depend on what Auspost zone you are in.

Shibui Bonsai also has plenty of smaller trident and Japanese maples in smaller 11 cm pots as well as a good range of other bonsai species. email to order or enquire about your next bonsai starters.

Winter seedling sales

Winter is here and so is the annual seedling sale. Thousands of trident maples seedlings direct from the garden beds to you from just $1 each plus post costs.

Also a limited number of Japanese maple seedlings but due to limited numbers, slower growth rates and higher demand small JM are $2 and the few slightly thicker trunks $5 each.

Also this year a few more XL and XXL tridents. These grew fast in an area with plenty of water and now have trunks up to 5cm thick at ground level. Remember, very little taper, large cuts and roots have had no work so as they come. Happy to send photos of these as individuals. $10 – $20 depending on size and roots. Be prepared for slightly higher post cost when buying these larger trees as they do take up more space.

email to order

Note that I usually sort the seedlings according to trunk shape as different shapes and sizes are better for some projects. I can often supply selected packs that will suit your projects better if you tell me what you want to do.

Some more autumn colour

We are now well into autumn here in North East Victoria. The deciduous trees have been progressing through their autumn colour changes before dropping leaves.

Japanese maples changed colour a little later than many of the tridents I posted a few weeks ago. These Japanese maples were at their best when these photos were taken last week.

Trident maples also develop good Autumn colours here in North East Victoria. Different trees of the same species can have different colours. Some of that is genetic, some is due to conditions – whether the tree is more protected or exposed to cold, sun, etc.

Bonsai North-West Show

Shibui Bonsai is pleased to be asked, once again, to supply stock for the coming show and sale at Footscray, in Melbourne.

For those who have not attended before, BNW show regularly features some of the best bonsai in Melbourne on the display tables. Well worth going out of your way to attend.

As well as a great range of awe inspiring bonsai on the show benches there’s a large and varied sales area featuring all things bonsai from small starter stock plants through to aged bonsai worthy of the show bench themselves. The club stocks a range of tools and equipment, wire, pot mesh, etc and several vendors supply pots, both locally made and imported.

Bonsai Northwest exhibition and sale: Footscray Community Arts Centre, Moreland rd Footscray. Saturday and Sunday 29th and 30th April 2023, 10am-4pm, both days

For more on Bonsai North West see the club website:

Here’s a small sample from the trees I’ll be taking down.

If you want good pre-bonsai or starter stock but can’t get to BNW sales tables you can still order online from Shibui Bonsai.

More stock – potting up cuttings

Finally found some time to pot up some more rooted cuttings. Ginkgo and Chojubai were among a few species that had rooted over summer which means Shibui Bonsai will soon have more small starter stock available.

For those wanting traditional, easy to grow species there’s plenty of maples, both trident and Japanese maples in a range of sizes and shapes starting at $10.

Also plenty of (small) Japanese black pines $10, $15 and a few still at $20, all in 11 cm pots. Very few larger than that as JBP sell quicker than they grow.

Email to ask about any of these or enquire about other species and sizes. Plenty of larger field grown maples and Chinese elms this year for those looking to develop thick trunk bonsai a bit quicker.

Summer transplant

This privet had to go to make way for a new garden bed. Middle of our summer but it is a privet so really tough. I think it stands a good chance of surviving.

It does have a short, fat trunk as a result of being chopped off a few times years ago. When it refused to die the gardener resorted to trimming regularly to maintain a ball shaped topiary.

Ligustrum – small leaf privet

After this was dug I got busy with other jobs and forgot about it so it sat overnight and part of the next day on top of the soil. By the time I picked it up the fresh shoots were quite wilted.

Root ball was soaked in water for the rest of the afternoon until I had time to deal with it.

After soaking I raked out much of the garden soil, chopped large roots and shortened all others to fit in a 30 cm orchid pot.

Finally the tree was potted into my usual bonsai potting mix, watered well and the pot placed under a bonsai bench in part shade.

Under the bench to recover.

I can report that 2 weeks later all the shoots are erect and looking good.

Today I had another opportunity to further trial summer transplanting. Another garden and some more trees that had to go.

First up is an Acacia cognata. I believe it is one of the compact cultivars, possibly ‘Limelight’. All trunks were chopped back a few weeks ago. The number of new shoots all over the trunks prompted me to try this transplant.

Acacia cognata as dug – 20 litre bucket for size ref
Roots before trimming and removing soil.

Roots were chopped back to fit a 30 cm orchid pot and most of the (hydrophobic) garden soil removed before potting up in usual bonsai potting mix.

The other trees collected today were 3 self sown desert ash – Fraxinus angustifolia. Not big trunks but definitely suitable as trials for summer collecting.

Again all these trees were watered well then placed under the bench in dappled shade. I’ll report back in a few weeks on how these trees are progressing.

Summer trimming

Many native trees are growing strongly during summer so new shoots need regular trimming to keep the trees in shape.

Today I trimmed a Banksia integrifolia. This tree was grown from seed collected on South Coast NSW around 18 years ago.

Banksia before
banksia after trimming new shoots
Trunk and nebari with fingers for size scale

This Melaleuca almost died from dehydration earlier in spring. It is now sitting in a tray with around 3cm of water through summer to make sure it doesn’t dry out again. It has recovered well and is now growing strongly and needed a second trim for this season.

Melaleuca before trimming

This melaleuca grows so quick and responds to pruning so well that I generally just shear the new shoots with scissors – hedge trimming. Occasional more selective pruning helps maintain the foliage clusters and overall shape.

Melaleuca after trimming

Shibui Bonsai has a small range of Aussie natives as starters and pre-bonsai and occasionally larger field grown specimens. We currently have a few large trunked Banksias for sale – see sample picture below. Unfortunately these are too large and too heavy to be posted so pick up or alternative delivery only.

Banksia integrifolia