More summer pine re-potting

Time is flying by and I have not had time to post the last re-pot I did two weeks ago. I learned from Mr. Slovak that the best period to majorly disturb the roots of pines is right after the summer dormancy or right when the trees switch from pushing growth to the tips of next year’s candles to vascular repair. I mentioned the other details in this post-

I found time to do this two weeks back and thankfully, the weather was quite moderate that whole week and I am sure the trees enjoyed this to quickly repair any damage I caused during the root work.


I have been using, pumice, lava, terramol and pieces of cut up bark to introduce an organic element into the mix I use. I have been sifting everything before adding it to the pots this year; buy most of this stuff here at Bon Equip:

First tree up for work is the Scots pine I bought from Mr. Slovak last year. The bark on this guy is not bad given that it could be around 20 years old.




I removed about 20 percent of the roots that were wrapping around the container and I removed about 70-80 of the old soil. It was extremely root-bound and I took about an hour to get everything loosened up. I have also begun adding sphagnum moss on the surface of all the trees I re-pot, this should help with keeping the substrate moist, provide a great area for new feeder roots to grow and create a more pH neutral balance overall.

Next was the Japanese white pine I bought for a steal last year. I believe that because of the cold spring we had and that I wasn’t around that month to provide better protection, The tree lost a good deal of the branches I wanted to keep in the design. This poor guy will have to have a complete restyling perhaps in two years once it’s growing strongly again. The room for roots to grow now should help in eventually bringing this tree back into a good image again.


Here you can see all the branches that decided to give up and also, I removed some of the ugly crossing roots. I believe that this tree did not see a re-pot in maybe 6 years.


I think I could use the branch to create a Jin in the future but I have time to think about the next design anyway. Now the tree looks like more like a mushroom than a bonsai but at least it can now grow its roots out into fresh modern substrate

The rootball here was similar to the Scots pine, it was absolutely packed and so this operation was very essential this year.


I also created a new area for the trees because of some of the high winds we have had this year. This should keep any of the more unstable candidates from toppling over.

Thanks for reading.




Sabina Juniper update

Howdy, I forgot to take before pictures but I gave my sabina that I bought as a 5 dollar bushy thing about 5 years ago a hair cut. I let it grow freely from the styling I gave it almost a year ago and I’d say about 40% came off.


More or less a sequence of the last 4 years. I don’t really have much experience with Junipers and for the life of me, couldn’t come up with a design concept but I learned a bit after working with this material.


A bigger photo of where I decided to leave it when I finished styling it last September and below is what it looks like now. I feel that I am beginning to get a better understanding of where, how and what to style/wire on a juniper after this haircut.


Still a long way to go, Sabina’s don’t make nice little pom poms like Shimpaku do so ramification will take some more time. I can’t decide if the year difference is actually an improvement or not, but I do know that this tree needs a re-pot in the spring.

Since I was feeling creative that day, I also made a C table for our small couch/TV area out of reclaimed Larch :).


Have a good one!



Birch yamadori & some flowering

This tree was one of the first yamadori I dug up while living here. I originally grabbed it for the bark and accessibility even though it is very ugly, it hardly got a glance. As a result, this tree grew great and the pot is absolutely root-bound. When you ignore material, let it grow freely, do not alter the direction it’s facing the sun constantly and fertilize it the same as the trees that get more attention, one ends up growing with vigor.



This is a mix of grasses from 2700m Italy/Austria


Hosta will open soon

Have a good one.

Small white pine

I bought this tree a little over a year ago. The pot it came in when I brought it in was much too small, I thought, for the health of the tree. I placed it into a larger pot but I still think that it is very suitable for this guy. Then, seeing that it was doing quite well this summer, I finally did something with it and now I like this tree many times more.


Now I cross my fingers or as the Czech’s say, “holding my thumbs.”


Kusamono parade

My last post was a bit of a downer and there are still things to make me smile in the garden. Here are some plants that don’t usually get very much attention and many still need many years to properly develop and therefore, I must show them all at once.



Wild Rose rosa multiflora (i think) Not really a kusamono but very cute and growing strongly



Currently my only Palmatum



Not sure what any of these are called but it is all collected from somewhere around 2700m. It will flower soon


An idea I had but the spores have taken a long time to develop, Brno isn’t humid, at all.

Have a good one.


R.I.P. or bad spring

I wanted to post something that some would consider a blow to the ego and although it made me feel awful, I know that it is simply a part of this deal. Not something I am proud of but I do believe that the warm March and very cold April played some part in this. I was also absent on vacation during March this year and I believe I would have left my poly-tunnel up if I stayed around for the month of April as well.

This was the worst spring I have ever had since I started pursuing Bonsai. I think that this at least can help others that may be beginners or some that have a few Bonsai years under their belt, realize that some of your trees will die. It is important to try and learn why they died and how to possibly prevent them from dying in the future. I believe there are also other reasons why the trees decided to give up. They were meant to teach you something and push you to progress further in terms of knowledge, cultivation, horticulture and artistic skill.

So, here I am putting my ego aside and presenting the trees that did not make it this year.



First tree of the year. A big Hawthorn


A big Linden I collected this year.


Not a great tree but it has been with me since my 2nd beginning here in Czech Republic.




Medium collected hornbeam with great taper and branches.


One of my biggest losses. I was really looking forward to finally getting to the ramification stage


Awesome little hornbeam I picked up last year. Died from a fungus that seems to be running around Europe lately. Buds opened with something like a cotton ball vs. fresh spring leaves.


This was my biggest loss. This was my pride and joy of a tree that I tried to make into a good bonsai. It has deeply saddened me that this tree didn’t make it but I will not let this loss keep me from becoming a great bonsai practitioner some day.

I promise that in the next post, there will be some positive news. I hope this post gave some hope to those that have lost great trees, that you are not alone. To those that are well known bonsai artists or just have many years of experience, I am sure you understand and have experienced losses of trees that were very close to you.


May and end of May

Sorry for another long period of no posts as I have been quite busy with other projects. I wanted to post pictures that were taken throughout May and so they may not be in perfect order.



re-potted beech


collected hawthorn flowering!



Linden air-layer


I will post again soon, I promise ; )



Some Spring growth

Howdy there, been a cold cold spring so far but some trees have managed to burst out, mostly the linden.


Tilia Cordata


Tilia Platyphyllos


Mixed Forest with Carpinus, Fagus, Picea in the back left and also looks like a new member in the back as well. A Betula sapling has appeared.