A number of customers have pointed out that the old catalogues appeared to be out of date because they were titled 2020. Shibui Bonsai years are designed to fit in with tree seasons rather than our traditional calendar.
Field grown trees are dug from the grow beds in winter – That’s July and August here – then pruned and potted up. Some new dug trees may be available as bare root but as I have no control over your subsequent care and conditions bare root trees are not covered by the standard Shibui Bonsai guarantee.
Fresh potted trees are hard to pack and post with no roots to hold the soil together so I delay sales until the trees have started growing and have plenty of new roots in the pots. The tridents are generally ready to cope with mailing by December so that’s when the new catalogues are posted (provided I’ve managed to find the time and energy to take all the photos and compile the catalogue files). By that time i can be sure that the trees have recovered well from the trauma of transplant and the massive root reduction that entails so you can be assured of getting strong, healthy trees with the traditional Shibui Bonsai guarantee.
The catalogues on the catalogue pages are current right through to the following November but the later you are the less trees will still be available.
Good bonsai are not like many other retail goods – I can’t just get more from the factory to fill the shelves because bonsai growing is seasonal so we must learn to fit in with the annual and seasonal growth patterns. New trees are only added each year in December.
offerings of trident maples are good again this season but there were no Chinese Elms ready for sale this time.
The few pines and junipers I potted up have all been sold (provided they recover and grow well) before going in a catalogue.
I’ve only potted up 2 field grown Japanese maples – catalogue still in progress at this stage but should be posted soon.
There are also a few Prunus ‘Elvins’ from the grow beds along with a couple of feral plums collected locally. Catalogues will be up as soon as the weather allows me time to take photos and compile the catalogue so, if you are keen on great flowering bonsai, keep an eye out for that one soon.
The leaves have fallen so it is time to trim and prune the maples. There are quite a lot of small tridents being grown on at Shibui Bonsai. Over summer they are allowed to grow with only occasional rough trims to limit the height of the new shoots. Now it is time to look more closely and prune for direction and taper.
There is not just one way to create bonsai. Much will depend on what style you want to grow, how big the bonsai will be and how well it has grown. With most developing trees there are a number of legitimate alternatives when pruning for shape.
The original tree has a right angle bend at the top which will not give an attractive trunk line so I cut back to a lower shoot with better line. Now the trunk has a slight change of direction and better taper above that cut. That cut would be quite suitable to grow on as a larger sized bonsai. Further down the trunk is another suitable side shoot with good angle. The lower cut provides even better trunk bends and taper starting lower. It can now be grown on as a larger tree or as a possible shohin sized bonsai.
Another young trident pruned for taper and changes of direction in the developing trunk.
Those tridents will be allowed to grow again next summer. If all goes well some of the new shoots will be selected to develop beginning branches.
Another year on and branches have started. Some shoots are again allowed to grow to add more thickness to both trunk and some of the branches. Selected shoots are trimmed occasionally through summer to produce ramification.
This time I am selecting carefully for shorter internodes. As this is intended to become a shohin sized maple bonsai pruning is rigorous. Any straight sections are removed. All long internodes are removed, even if they are growing in desirable locations and angles. Remember that buds can only grow from nodes so long internodes severely restrict ramification of branches. This is particularly important when aiming for smaller sized bonsai where everything must be reduced. The lowest branch on the right above curves up and out and still has a long internode. I have left it this year to strengthen and thicken the start of that branch. With luck some smaller side shoots will emerge from the nodes at the base. If they develop with shorter internodes I will cut back the stronger one next winter. If nothing emerges next summer the long internode will be chopped anyway and the branch developed the following year from new buds.
These photos show a small trident another year on from the previous example. You can see that branches have started to form. Again some shoots were allowed to grow long to thicken selected areas of branches or the trunk. Those thick shoots are now pruned right at the base. Again, long internodes are rigorously removed to give better structure to the developing branches. To save wiring, shoots growing in desirable directions are kept while those growing up or down are generally removed. I try to select thinner shoots further out on branches and near the apex to provide taper where possible. Development of this trident is advanced enough to think about finding a proper bonsai pot for the spring repot.