Japanese White Pine new design

Well hi there, here’s my Miyajima white pine I purchased about 4 years ago and how I’ve moved forward with it. When I first bought it, I was going for a classic design and wired and styled it out. However, the next spring revealed that the cambium separated from the sapwood.

This resulted in all of the lower and main branches to die off, leaving me with a tree that resembled a fat person holding an umbrella. Impressive trunk but no asymmetry and bonsai without symmetry is just not as interesting.

IMG_2426

I figured that I would at least re-pot it into the front that was proposed and then we’ll go from there in terms of a new design.

IMG_2433

A few months later I thought of keeping the bottom branch as a jin and so I tried that

IMG_3251

I had completely fallen out of love with this tree and was lost with how to move it back into an interesting direction. The trunk was too straight as this point and I had nothing to cut back to to create some more variation within the foliage.

I decided to just let it grow as much as possible and focus on having health come first before doing any other changes.

This year during the winter I tried a few angle changes to see if that would help.IMG_0504

This shift seemed the best and would definitely be an improvement from the old straight trunk line of the previous design. I also got some helpful feedback from Ryan Neil regarding the new design. That new idea was to create a tesion design. Tension means that the apex/crown and main branch move against the trunk. It’s a simple design that uses angle changes to create more drama when other features are lacking. In March I went through with this new design and I also re-potted into the new angle.

IMG_1112

Now I am proud of this tree again and I am really looking forward to where it will go from here. The design idea from Ryan was a great upgrade to the otherwise boring design. Right now it’s happily growing this years candles and in full sun.

Stay cool! And keep your trees happy!

Thomas

 

Late spring update

Howdy everyone! It’s been some time since my last post but that’s because we’ve been busy with our new family member and several other things. I’d like to take this opportunity to show some of the changes in the garden.

 

feminine yamadori hawthorn

 

C3EBFB8A-29DF-4055-BFAC-A7E8D4E0518C

successfully air-layered Mahaleb

 

88CF0E6D-75DA-4495-B3FC-891E50704E04

A beautiful Birch that my friend Jiri Vyslouzil owns. He let me style this tree and I fell in love

 

IMG_0819

Another American, styled in a natural form

6C82238D-2E51-49A5-B672-FC0AAC7E3FFC

The ugly duckling is starting to look like a nice little tree

D27CB2F1-CAC1-4243-B70F-C83AF9A202D7

img_0150 (1)

IMG_0841

The Moravian Karst forest was upgraded this year

 

 

 

IMG_0842

I’ll be posting some more things soon. I hope everyone is having a great spring and enjoying everything that has woken up from winter.

Cheers

T.

 

 

New Year ’19

I apologize for not posting for such a long time. I would like to update you with some images of some of the trees that have changed a bit since how they started out.

A larch that was dig up but wasn’t too interesting. After the initial styling I wasn’t very satisfied and I thought about removing two of the structural branches. This wasn’t the decision that would improve the tree though. It was the angle and some adjustments to the styling. Now I feel that it is moving in the right direction.

Here is a very cheap and simple nursery stock Sabina juniper. For a few years I wasn’t sure what to do with it. Then it had its first repot, then first styling and trim a year later. It was left alone for some time and had another repot into what I felt to be a more suitable container in the spring of 2018. It grew freely until November 2018 when I gave it a second styling.

Here I had some fun with a request from a client, to create a tree for their significant other as a gift. Even easy to take care of Ficus trees can be made to look interesting and I was quite happy with the outcome given I didn’t have much time to prepare this tree.

Here is another tree that just hasn’t received much attention and after years in a plastic container it was re-potted spring of 2018 and was finally styled. This tree is beginning to look like a weeping tree in nature and I hope to improve it further.

This tree is also moving in the right direction and I hope to pull out more of that high-alpine, candelabra look.

img_0190

We’re really looking forward to give this tree a second styling after it was re-potted into a more bonsai-style Chinese pot. It was nice to wake up and see a fresh layer of snow on this yamadori.

I’ve been enjoying the process this tree has gone through and we’re very happy with the progress in just 9 months that it has been at the balcony.

img_0150 (1)

Early winter photo of the Moravian Forest. We plan on adding more trees to improve this composition, unfortunately there are almost no available Beech trees available at nurseries.

img_0375img_0433

Lastly, I wanted to end with a little project over the holidays. I was inspired by Bonsai Mirai and their Christmas tree bonsai. We picked a nice Nordmann fir at a local nursery and had a great time transforming a regular Christmas tree into something that can be a nice-looking tree in a few years. Firs are awesome and remind me of home while I was working on this. I hope to dabble with more in the future.

Wishing you all the best into 2019 and I hope your trees and collections improve and grow like weeds!

T.

Slender Scots Pine

A pine that I bought as “light” yamadori from the Sirotný family was from a garden planter that a lady had for about 15 years. This was their rough estimate so it could be around 18 years old now and has some decent bark on most of the tree. I really didn’t know how to create an apex on this tree initially but I believed that with some good horticulture, back-budding would occur and the apex would eventually come.

IMG_3252IMG_0087

I’m quite happy with the direction this tree is going in and also the fact that it began as such humble material.

Have a great day.

T.

Colorado Spruce first wiring

Why hello there. I’ve been busy as of late but it’s been another prolonged period without a post so here we go.

I got this tree for a great price from a local nursery in Brno called Carex. They tend to have some good evergreen pieces that are meant to be garden trees but could make interesting bonsai as well. I took a crack at such a piece.

It was re-potted this spring and it recovered quite well and therefore applying some wire and beginning the journey seemed like a good idea.

 

IMG_3322

The poor fella was probably in the same container & soil for years. This was the beginning of April this year with the new buds getting ready to burst

 

IMG_0035

The right branch will probably go in the future but I need it now to push the tree forward, health-wise. A high Alpine tree is what I am eventually going for.

I hope you’re enjoying the fall!

T.

Feminine Yamadori Spruce

Howdy! It’s been so long and I am sorry but summer was hot and I was almost gone the entire time. Yes, the trees got love but I unfortunately didn’t have time for any blog posts.

So, I hope I can provide a quick and fun post and that you’ll forgive my absence :).

I collected this tree about 2 years ago, I didn’t think it was so interesting at the time but it was a Spruce and I had no Spruce, so I wanted a Spruce. It was very easy to collected which prompted my action of removing her from this environment and providing it a great home at the Brno Balcony.

It recovered quite well and even started to develop more bark down below. I didn’t give this tree much attention and was also quite lost with how I was going to style it. Since it was already growing in the pot for two years and getting quite bushy, something needed to be done to move the tree forward, alas, styling time.

IMG_2282This is a year after collection and the growth was much stronger than the prior year.

IMG_3859Removing much of the growth and getting down to the structural essentials, I was still lost with what I should do..

IMG_3858I chose to keep the apex very light and chose to go with an Alpine-style, multiple apices, loaded with auxins, fighting against each other for dominance. I am pleased with how this turned out and I am excited for its future.
We’ll see how this develops right now it’s extremely sparse, light and needs to recover from losing so much foliage. The left side also needs to be shortened in the future to push the flow more to the right.

I wish you a great weekend!

T

Mid summer update

I apologize for not posting new material lately but I’ve been dealing with a nasty migraine the past couple of months and work has kept me very busy as well as Bonsai. I recently took a trip to Mr. Jiri Svacina’s place because pine re-potting season is here and I wanted a nice container for the mugo pine that Mr. Pavel Slovak gave me as an assignment a couple years ago.

I really appreciate his style and I always feel like a kid in a candy shop when I visit, not to mention spending an extra hour or two more than I originally planned.

One pot seemed to fit the criteria I was looking for and so, it went home with me along with a couple other baked goodies. Here is the finished result.

IMG_3647

I hope you’re enjoying your summer and that your trees are growing well. Remember since the temperatures are going up, it’s time to lay off the fertilizer as it competes with the water uptake in your roots.

Tom

 

Moravian Forest

Why are there no mixed species forests or group plantings? One factor could be that different species might compete for space between each other. Another could be the eventual problem with re-potting that you would be disturbing the roots of one tree where the timing is perfect whereas for another species it would be too soon? In either case, the spark was set off by Bonsai Mirai’s Beech forest on Tom Benda’s pot and I knew that I needed to try this year.

When you think about it, forest plantings required a substantial amount of work. Size of pot, finding the pot, can someone make it for me or do I have to get creative and drill an under tray? Where do I find such an under tray?

Rocks, where do I get rocks or stones that reflect the local geography? How do I secure them to the pot? Do I even have the tools to make this happen?

Trees, what size should the trees be since I don’t really know what the layout of the composition will be? How many should I buy? What direction should the front of the leader and secondary tree be? Where are they going to sit in the composition so I can cut some excess off allowing me to fit them in my car and allowing them to compartmentalize in the cambiem before I actually do the root work in the spring.

Can I do this alone? Do I have the drills and other tools to make this happen, what if the rootballs suck? How will I even transport this thing after it’s done if I ever move or eventually want to display it?

These are only some of the questions that were lurking around my head and 4 hours into the actual day of work, I started to question whether or not I was in over my head.

IMG_3157

After visiting all of the nurseries here, I chose 3 stones that I thought could mesh well together. Lava rocks that seem to be mixed with something else as they are much harder than a porous, typical lava rock.

Finding a large under tray, I thought would suit the composition and play well on the stone, bark and foliage colors throughout the seasons. I also placed the rocks around to get an idea of what the entire piece could evolve into and also to mark where holes needed to be drilled along with the supports for each stone.

Then came the work on a beautiful Saturday morning. My good friend Jiri offered that I export everything I need from the balcony and bring it to his newly purchased property where I could make a mess without caring too much. I also had to purchase a diamond based holesaw to create the holes from which water could escape and oxygen exchange could take place.

Following slow and careful drilling, 3 hours later the “pot” was ready.

IMG_3275

From this point on, there is a period of 3 separate days as I was running out of time and had other errands to run, I unfortunately was desperate to finish that I didn’t have much time to properly document all of the work and planning.

IMG_3282IMG_3277IMG_3311

Monday afternoon and after working on my largest bonsai creation ever, with a final application of the sphagnum moss I had left (I should have been prepared with much more). I had to consider how the hell was I going to get this monster to the balcony as my car was much too small. Thankfully, another friend of mine with a handy business van helped me on Tuesday evening and the Moravian Forest was brought home after over 20 hours of work and 40+ hours of planning, searching and finding all the material.

IMG_3387IMG_3388

A few weeks later, most of the trees seem to be doing fine except for a couple of the Carpinus and the main Beech tree. Beech usually open about a month after the Hornbeams so I do hope it pulls through after such a surgery.

Have a great weekend and stay fresh.

Tom

Linden #1

Here’s an update of how Bonsai Balcony Brno’s first Linden is doing. Last year a very poor decision was made to try and create more ramification while an air-layer was cut. A proper decision would be to focus on either the canopy or the system from which trees get water uptake from. This tree will be cut into again and hopefully expand new roots at the site where concentrations of sugars and carbohydrates accumulate. Yes, we know, foliage will not be touched again this year ; ).

 

 

 

May of last year.

IMG_2052

And, from today. The apex is growing out strongly so it’s visually disrupting the shape and as you may have noticed, this tree will take on more of a realistic shape that Linden and very often, Horse Chestnut takes on. Excessively exaggerated branches which grow up but then cascade below due to the weight and softness of the wood.

IMG_3385

I am excited to eventually get this into a more attractive pot and also to create more interesting nebari.

*T