First styling for a Mugo Pine

Pine overlay

The styled tree laid over the raw material (Photoshop)

I traded a small Yew for this Mugo Pine at The Burrs workshop 2012, it was planted in a large flat plastic seed tray in a soil mixture not suitable for the rather damp conditions where I live. Whilst re-potting I saw that all the roots were on one side so decided to change the angle and make a cascading tree. The tree responded well and has thrived all year. Today I styled the tree, I have not wired to the tips of the needles because at this stage refinement is NOT my objective. Branch placement and the establishment of the design. The next few years will be bud development and refining the design.

Original photo 2

update image due to a discussion on EBF 

new bend

Removing the flower buds on a White Pine


When I returned from the Czech Republic I saw that my Chuhin white pine had a huge amount of flowers, it was obvious the tree was healthy but there were so many that it would suffer if they were not removed, I mostly work with native European trees and my experience with imports is limited.

This from my good friend Mark Cooper on EBF:  “One has to be very careful and gentle when removing the juvenile flowers buds though so as not to lose any new candle buds.

Pinching out the buds one at a time

Pinching out the buds one at a time

However, if the new candle emerges on such a long “leg” due to an abundance of large flower buds beneath it (rendering it of no use), what we do is let the candle fully open and ripen and then cut that shoot (and most of the leg) off nearly back to last year’s growth, and hopefully some back budding may occur. This assumes that the tree is healthy, well fed and vigorous. Usually only one flush of growth happens in one year here… it’s primarily about directing/ controlling the tree’s energy to where you want it, and then about shape/ pad profile.

Taking care not to damage new needles

So in weak/ inner areas prune lightly (say 25% reduction) or not at all, and harder in stronger areas/ apex. One also has to keep in mind pad shape whilst candle pruning in refined trees too.”

I could not have put it better.

I estimate that I removed over 1500 buds from this little tree. The tree is strong and well fed and it will be kept in the greenhouse if the weather turns inclement. I will be removing the candles in a few weeks time to maintain the pad profile, and if we have a better summer than the last three hopefully new needle buds will show themselves.

the buds that have been removed

The buds that have been removed

Five amazing Bonsai from Omiya in HD video

My great friend Michael Mehrmann has let me share this wonderful video of six amazing trees from Omiya, the video is in High Definition so watch it in full screen to enjoy all the detail of these fabulous Bonsai.

The five featured trees are

  • Uzushio
  • Keyaki
  • Meikou
  • Shimpaku
  • Shishigashira

To watch in full screen HD click the small arrows in the bottom right of the video

Stainless steel rods secure large Scots pine in the Duffett Pot

David Barlows Pine

After 10 years of establishing from the wild and two stylings David’s Scots Pine is now ready for a final potting. I found a beautiful ‘vintage’ deep red unglazed Gordon Duffett pot perfect for the tree.

Terry Foster did both stylings for the tree, the first to position the key branches, and six years later at the Burrs event in November 2012 for the second to refine.

When the tree was collected it had NO large roots. Only a few fine feeder roots, David masterfully established the tree in a very open mixture of Acadama, Alpine grit and Perlite. The tree was secured to the box with guy wires to ensure that it would not ‘rock’ and remain firm, any movement inhibit the root growth. The problem with having no LARGE roots meant that the tree could not be tied into the pot, having guy wires was out of the question so a solution was needed.

05 Stainless steel rods and PotDavid is a precision engineer with his own extensive workshop so when I requested two stainless steel rods cut to length and the ends tapered, he delivered these in less than 10 minutes. Two holes were drilled into the base of the tree under the new roots that had grown; the rods were inserted tightly into the holes in the form a ‘cross’. They were then stabilised with hardwood blocks and a layer of soil mix was added, the tree wired down onto the blocks and the whole process ensured that the tree was solid in the pot. The reason for using the wooden block was so that we could angle the position the tree exactly, each block was cut to size. More soil was added and worked into all the cavities with a chop stick.

These stainless steel rods will stay in the tree forever and become part of the root mass, they will never rust or snap. The heavy wire used to secure the tree was necessary for this final potting. After a few years when the root mass has started to solidify and the tree exhibited these wire can be cut and removed.

Bonsai Loud speakers

JVC recently unveiled a beautiful line of bonsai-laden Kirikabu speakers at this year’s Tokyo Designer’s Week. Created out of eco-friendly plastic, the conceptual series of speakers can be assembled into different shapes, and each contains a small compartment perfect for planting a tiny bonsai tree!

Each mini modular Kirikabu resembles a tree stump with three horizontal stubs – two of them hold speakers, while the third is a terminal. The fully featured speakers come complete with bass-reflex ports and a sub-woofer. Each stump is made out of “eco-plastic”, which is a bit of a vague term – I’m guessing it’s a plant-based plastic. The units can be connected with one another to create a larger speaker, and each module houses a small pot, where bonsai and other plants can be grown.