Archive for the ‘Shohin’ Tag

Juniper Winter Work   5 comments

I have worked on many shimpaku and other species juniper over the winter. Many were restyled and re-potted.

Mas Ishii Shimpaku

This first tree is a tree I purchased in 2002. It had been a very beautiful tree but I managed to ruin it over the years. It has escaped death numerous times from spider mite and pinching misfortunes. This is the tree in 2005 after escaping death twice.

Another few years and more rattyness.

A few more years and even less green left.

Left to grow for a few years to get strong and now it may be ready for a restyle….at least with whats left.

Restyled and repotted in a glazed Bunzan.

George Muranaka prostrata.

This tree was purchased in Nov. of 2014. It was left to grow for a couple years and then a first styling was begun.

Cleaned up and put into a first pot.

part of the canopy would be removed and jinned entirely.

Re grow and then style whats left.

George Muranaka Shimpaku

I purchased this tree from George around 2006. Once again it suffered from spider mite and my lack of awareness on how to take good care of the species.

Left to grow and a re style and then a repot. Looks like this now and is growing quite well.

Benny Kim (Kim’s Bonsai) procumbens.

The tree is on the left and purchased in 2002. It had a good trunk about two inches across.

Lots of jins on this one and some carving.

A first styling

Starting to look pretty good.

A new direction for this one. It had started to slump really bad due to the roots giving up on one side. Time to turn it upright.

Done…for now.

Steve DaSilva Procumbens.

These were struck as small plants and wired and twisted up. Planted in a field for a few years and dug up in 2015.

I would use the stock as a demo at the Fresno Home and Garden show in 2016

As it sits today.

Ed Clark Shimapku

This tree came by way of Ed Clark from Bonsai Northwest in Washington State. I kept it for a year making sure it was good for a repot in 2017.

Ready for some work.

It was removed from its growing container and combed out. Root structure was fairly small like most junipers but was rather one sided. I wnted to plant it into a signature Begei pot I had and felt that once planted here it could stay for a while. The one sided root meant it was planted well off center but will be fixed later when new roots go and allow for more diligent root pruning.

Now for the style part.

There is a large looping jin that comes over the top of the tree. The shoot I wish to be the apex is in front of that jin. I need to get it behind.

So…with some praying and bending and pulling I ease the jin around the shoot.

Now I am happy with the position of everything and can start the details.

More pruning and removing everything I don’t want. That should mean I have only the things I do want. Good in theory and poor in practise….

After some wire and manipulation I am able to coex a pretty decent tree out of the aftermath. Next year I will concentrate on managing shoot strength and how to treat possible shari on the trunk….or not!

Mas Ishii Shimpaku

I purchased this tree from Gary Ishii in 2004. Like all my shimpaku I battled the spider mites with fury. Mostly they seem to win but never kill the tree but ruin it for many years till successive cut backs get rid of grey and yellow foliage.

This style took place in 2010 after the tree had recovered for many years. It was planted into a Sarah Rayner shallow glazed bunjin pot.

This winter the tree underwent another re style and pot change. This time into a heavily patinanted Bunjin Begei.

….then the styling

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Repotting the elm cuttings   6 comments

Last year this time I made cutting from a elm tree that I repotted. The cuttings were mostly set up to be cascade and semi cascade neagari style trees. Neagari style means stilted roots.

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This is the  elms after a season in a basket. Good growth about three feet.

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The cuttings were originally selected to be in the neagari style from the get go. Root sections were chosen for the shape and not so much for the size of the trunk. These will all be shohin size trees so size was not much of an issue.

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Once it is out of the basket I set to work looking each cutting over to make sure it has good strong roots in which to support the tree in the future. They also must come from the end of the root in such a way as to be compact to form the long claw that will make the base of the tree.

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This cutting will require a piece of wire around the roots pulling them down into a longer thinnish shape. This cutting has not had any of the roots trimmed yet and is full of feeder roots. All of the feeders from nearly half of the root system will be cut away leaving only the thick strong “stilt” root

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This cutting has a nice bend right at the intersection of roots versus stem. This shape will make a nice semi cascade neagari style tree.

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I use my hand to pull all the roots into a long cylinder and affix a wire to hold the shape.

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The wired roots look like this. I need the roots to keep this shape while they grow next year. The following year I can seperate them and make them look more artistic if needed, but right now I am just building foundations.

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Each tree was planted into a cut down water bottle to keep the feeder roots into some soil as they continue growing down. Each tree was cut back to a apex leader and a cascading leader. Branch building will start now while I work on the bases.

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These are the only two non-cascading trees and these will be trained as broom style trees at the same time.

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Ted Matson Workshop at the Round Valley Nursery   Leave a comment

Ed Clark, owner of the nursery arranged for a Ted Matson workshop back in March. Due to stand commitments, shows, vacations, Easter and Mothers Day, most of my weekends have been taken up by something. It is now time to show a little of what went on over that weekend. Ted is always a good teacher. His expertise in a number of plant materials, his love of shohin, and the material provided by Ed were a match made in heaven. The workshop consisted of a two day affair with each day broken into separate morning and afternoon sessions. Each day was a repeat of the morning or afternoon before.

Ted started out by telling us the many attributes of the way Ed was growing the material here. Ted was also savvy of those that think this material is too twisted and has too much movement. Ted explained that these trees over the next couple of years are going to mellow out and become fine bonsai due to pruning and growth on top of growth. Ted explained that having seen material grow for bonsai all over the United states that this material is different because care has been taken to keep the movement up while the plant is growing. Ed doesn’t just stop and allow the tree to twist and turn and then allow it to grow pole straight the next year. There are growers in Southern California mentioned by name that have allowed this to ruin what would have been good material.

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Ted used some trees from the nursery and also brought some material he had bought earlier and worked on it some and then used for demonstration.

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Lunch was provided in the workshop and Lind Clark did a great job with a buffet style lunch. We killed an hour and then hit it again in the afternoon.

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This was some of the people from the afternoon session.

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I worked on two pines during the workshop. One I had bought specifically for the workshop and the other a tree I purchased during the lunch break for the second session.

 

Here is the tree I purchased earlier and worked on in the morning.

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This is what it looked like after the first pruning and some wire. Pretty scary.

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This is what it looks like tonight. I am very happy with its growth, and it looks like there is going to be a good tree in here.

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The second tree was purchased right at the nursery for the workshop. I had brought three others to work on but for some reason this one caught my eye. Ted had said something about these trees that made me pause a little. He said instead of looking for the best ones to work on, sometimes it makes more sense to look for those with the most faults. These are the trees that have character and feeling. So I picked out one that had some faults and will see what I can do with it.

 

This small tree had some reverse taper and lots of wire in the trunk. It had a rather gnarly shape and looked like it could be a good tree later on.

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The tree was pruned and wired.

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This is how the tree looks tonight. It is growing strong and like all Ed’s trees the needles stay firm and short. Lots of choices for an apex and the branches have lots of shoots. I am happy with this one as well.

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Building a pair of box stands   2 comments

I began working on the building of two box stands. One for me and one for a friend.  In this case I traded a tree for the stand. The stand starts out as a thought.

This is a classical box stand. It is simple in design and functional. The main thing is that it feel light and not heavy or bulky.

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I start ripping the plywood for the shelves. It is more stable than solid wood.

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The stand will finish out at about 9 inches deep. Outside dimensions are about 32 x 32 inches.

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All the wood is ripped and ready for shaping.

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Thew ood is run thru the planer and taken down to thickness. The shelves will have a frame that will be thicker than the actual shelf. Looking thru my Gafu ten books shows this to be the most prevelent design. The ends show the router work complete.

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I begin the tedious task of cutting out all the frames. Stop blocks in the miter saw make this much faster and easy to make two at once.

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I was also able to glue up some of the boards and get them rough sanded today. This is a look at what there will be when finished. The middle board on the right has not been glued up yet so I used one from the other stand that will be used on the left. It will not overlap as much.

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The work will continue tomorrow.

The next weekend I went back to work on the box stands. There is a lot of time spent on making jigs. I needed a jig to route the slot on the box side.010

Working here affixing all the parts with glue and clamps.

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Glue and clamps is amazingly strong. Breaking it apart will tear the wood and not break the joint. I use a special aliphatic with five minute grab and dye all my glue a dark color so it does not show later.

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The top has been affixed and now I am working on the middle shelves.

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Thew hole thing is set in the sun to dry for a couple hours. I hope people pay special attention to the straightness of the legs when cross sighting. I hate legs that are all bent and out of plumb. They should also cross sight with the opposite corner leg. Just me but I think thats stuff is important.

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The top blade is affixed with a 3/16 dowel into the legs.

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The two middle shelves are seperated with a “S” shaped bar.

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The stand is sanded with 100 paper and final sanding will take place after all the router work.

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Built the other one over the Easter Weekend. Now I have two. One has been routed and can be seen as the right one in the foto in front of the couch.

 

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Catching up around the yard   2 comments

This is my first spring since my wife was down for a year with cancer. I did not spend any time in the backyard and just watered trees. As the radiation was over last July I was able to catch up on a few things bonsai related but much of the damage was done and I would be playing catch up for a while. Over the winter I was able to repot and get some unfinished business out of the way like pruning and styling of a few trees that had never looked like much.

So this is the fruit of my labor. Still have a ways to go but most stuff is caught up now. Still looking for a place to put trees under construction, but that a never ending job. Lets have a look around the backyard.

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There are 30 shohin on the bench right now with about 12 more coming soon (two or more years). An assortment of elms, pines and tridents still to come

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This California juniper is now in its second year in the grow stones and it has never looked better.

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Ghidorah -1 gat some trimming, a repot into a nice Chinese round Literati pot and a good painting of lime supher.

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Took this tree to the club meeting yesterday and cleaned and oiled the pot, cut back the moss and applied some black/red sifted lava around the moss to dress the top. Some light pruning and wire and I’m done for a couple months.

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Well these two are just growing. They both need help.

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Two recent aquisitions, The Maple last Nov. and the giant cork bark elm a couple months ago.

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The above maple, Oshio Beni is now making leaves. Ther are unfolding each day and I am excited to see the red leaves finally. After thirty one years of bonsai this is the first red leved maple.

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It is pushing very hard and the buds out of the old wood show that.

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The Muranaka pine is sending candles out now.

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Crepe mrytle I purchased last week. Leaves come out red and then turn copper finally green

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The elm root cutting are sending green buds skyward. Leaves are beginning to form and next year training will start on more shohin trees.

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This small 3 inch tall pine from Ed has candles already 14 inches long.

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I have two hornbeam shohin and both are getting ready to unfurl the leaves.

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The ole miss, looking great this year.

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Throwback Thursday ~ Kyosuke Gun   Leave a comment

 

I came across these books at the local bonsai shop. I purchased them in 1994. These books are from the 1991 printing which I think was the first printing. The books are in Japanese and although there are ten books in the series I have only five. The reason I have only five is that the ones I have are the ones I found most useful for my climate and on the trees that I find thrive in my climate.

 

The books I have are on

  • Needle juniper
  • Shimpaku juniper
  • Pine
  • Maple
  • Zelcova

While this does not cover all the trees I might work on, there is enough similarities between the species that it will cross over. The books are written in Japanese and read from right to left and top to bottom. All the text is in Japanese and I can’t read a lick. I have learned more from these picture books than any other bonsai book on the planet. Its not hard to see where I developed my style on how bonsai should be shaped. I tend to gravitate to these forms so much depicted by the Japanese. All the illustrations are drawn by Kyosuke and they are progression shots sometimes over many years in a few pages. There are some color pictures of the actual trees depicted in the books in the front of the book. Mr. Gun has a web site that is dated but still intersting at:  http://www.mini-bonsai.com/indexe.html

These show up from time to tume on ebay and are about $35.00 a copy. They are worth the money if you can find one in the USA as the shipping from Japan makes a copy about $50.00.

The second photo is also by Gun and is a best of with projects from all the ten books mixed in a single book. Very cool seeing some of the projects.

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Posted February 26, 2015 by California Bonsai Art in Throwback Thursday

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Realville gets a makeover   10 comments

This trident goes by the name Realville. Some day I wish to add small metal tags to the trees and number them so I know which ones are witch. Until that day I just name them. Not all of them have names but sooner or later something comes to me and it sticks. The name comes from the title of a blog post here I did a couple years ago. A search on the home page with “realville” should pull it up.

What I wish to do for this tree is shorten it up to maybe work as shohin. I think it will work but it will take a couple years to achieve. As it stands, the tree has a pretty good trunk and good taper. It has a terrible nebari and eventhough I tried to graft whips to the bottom, they failed and the base looks crappy still. I took the tree to a shohin study group I belong to hear and developed the plan.

So here is the measuring stick I made to measure at a glance the catagory a tree fits into. As we can see the tree is just about 1.5 inches too tall for shohin which is at the top of the orange portion.

 

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I figure that if I layer the tree at the thickest part I can shorten the tree and put a better base on the tree in one throw.

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Leaves fell off and the line is marked at the study group.

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So today I carve a groove all the way around the base of the trunk at the line.

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A large piece of wire is tied around the trunk. The wire is pounded into the trunk tissue and alloed to follow all the curves and indentions.

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Once the wire is affixed a collar is made of plastic canvas for holding the soil.

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A little bit about the soil. This is a bag of akadama I picked up several years ago…maybe about seven. I had no idea what it was that I had. When I opened it I was kinda like …”what the hell is this “.

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The akadama is in round balls. Perfectly round balls. No broken edges, no rough sides, just smooth round balls. It is soft, very soft, and absorbs water like no bodies business. I mean it holds a lot of water. What’s really good about it is that being round, one can see in the picture all the shadows. It is about 60/40, akadama/air. It never compacts and allows perfect air exchange. This stuff grows roots so fast even I am shocked. No hormone here. I have used this on my large trident after the squirrels ate the nebari off and I had roots with this stuff in a collar like this in a few weeks. I have used this medium for all my layers thru the years and am on the look out for a bag to replace this one with. I have about 25% left. I’ll be back in 60 days and brush away some particles and we’ll see what we have.

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