Hinoki Cypress

You don’t learn to walk by following rules. You learn by doing, and by falling over.

Richard Branson


One of the nicest species I’ve ever worked with is the Hinoki Cypress. I purchased one about fifteen or so years ago and it was virtually identical to the first image below. Clearly it was in a pot and was secured as a bargain basement purchase from a Bonsai nursery. It had come out of its pot and when I bought the thing the root ball was a dry as a chip. This is NOT what you want to find with this species. They will NOT thank you for having dry feet.

Indeed make sure you check they are evenly moist throughout the year. Dry and you’ll get huge amounts of die-back. Anyway, I digress; this image is very similar.

Hinoki Compacta (Green)

You can do so much with the cypress, as the foliage is already halfway there in terms of fanning. one quick tip, DON’T use scissors to cut unless you remove from source then by all means use scissors. For keeping foliage tidy and how you might like to see it use your fingers. Hold the cloud in-between finger and thumb and just gently pinch with fingers of the other hand. Not using your nails.

Moving on to 2014 I thought long and hard if I should lop the top off and think about a completely different style. As it happens I decided against a ‘chop-job’ and just spent some time seeing if I could get a tree that looked like a real tall grand tree in the wild. I’m initially pleased and the following image as is. i’ve done more, but I need to take another image. still struggling with the Canon 6D but that is another story.

Hinoki 2014 March

Those Birdies!

I’ll say ‘bless em’ but honestly you’d think they would behave a tad better. I’d made up a nice wee Kusamono with a variety of locally grown (my garden) ‘stuff’ including wee Violas, various sedums and of course moss.

Tis usually the first thing I do when i’ve had breakfast is go outside and check all is as it should be. Today though it was not quite as it should have been! We give them fat balls, nuts, bread water every day; we really do look after our fine-feathered-freinds, and they repay me like this. Grrrrrr.

Walsall pot ripped up


Some More Then.

Right, fingers are functioning again so here then is the other images I took yesterday. Can’t do any today as it seems like hurricane force out on the patio today!

One of my favourite pots from a smashing chap, Simon of Suteki. 5cm in width and 3cm depth. Clearly being so small this is really suited to sempervivums or similar that can stand a while without water. Check his site if you have time, he knows a thing or two about making stunning pots and creating accents. Oh the sedum just grows on the patio and this time of year the Blackbirds release some for me. I just pick it up where it lays and pot it up.


Another ERIN pot from Vic. Quite a recent one this is for me. Stands 8cm tall x 5cm wide (all measurements are approx. BTW). Planted up with some young Viola plants that have been grown from seed here at home. Not certain what this one will be as I mixed the labels up. (Can’t rely on anything these days, let alone myself!) Anyway the fun comes as the flower arrives. I’lll keep fingers crossed for split colour orange and purple.


An old Chinese pot that I have had here in the cupboard planted up with the other Echeveria I have. Think this one has more red colour.


A rather nice (I think so anyway) pot made in China I believe; 7cm x 7cm housing one of my miniature hostas. I’ve really not done at all well with any of my wee hostas this year. Not quite sure what went wrong.


ERIN pots again here. Very different to my usual choice in pots. 7.5cm wide x 6.5 tall. The Semper in this pot is the one that has the mass of cobweb like strands all around it. Clearly I’ve forgotten the variety name. Added some sedum from same patio which is just coming into flower.


Finally for now a Chinese pot sat doing nothing so I used one of my much larger Sempervivums, and it will stay there until I need the pot for anything else .. or not as the case may be. I’ll get some more up when this infernal wind dies out; which may be never. Whatever happened to glorious summer days????? BBQ has cobwebs!


Nothing Fancy Here

My second post today which is also another before and after. Just a small Maple that I have owned for almost thirty years. It was one of those wee saplings around a few centimetres in height and about as thick as a strand of spaghetti or two.

Repotted back in March, into this new to me oval Tony Remington pot, which I was fortunate enough to secure for myself at the 2013 Swindon Winter Image show. It is 32cm end to end and around 4cm deep.

The tree grew rather too well, and was difficult to keep up with. Anyway prior to a minor strip down.

Maple before


Some of it I just pull away, the old leaves and other parts I work away with scissors until my fingers get too painful to use. Unfortunately due to the ridiculous amount of cold wind we had during March April and May, this one along with all my other Maples burnt badly. The only solution is grow some new ones, hence the shape is not yet how I would really like as I wanted to concentrate of removing virtually all the severely wind-burnt leaves.

Immediately after a couple of hours pruning.

After Maple

Yes it would easily stand much more stripping down, I will see how new growth develops first.

Siberian Elm will be at Swindon 2013

I’ve made the decision to show my S/Elm at what I consider the greatest Bonsai show within the uk. The Swindon Winter Image Bonsai show. I very much doubt I will have any new leaves showing, and I will of course be keeping it in this wonderful (now getting on a bit) Walsall Ceramics pot.

I’ve only ever shown this tree at a very small local club event so my knees are knocking a tad. My great buddy Will B has an awesome Elm and I know he will have his own beauty looking fantastic.

This then the last of 2012 images. Now I must make a stand and think about a winter accent that may look suitable. Or anything else. Suggestions VERY VERY welcome. Anyway, it will definitely be at the 2013 Swindon show.  Fingers (shaky) very crossed it is liked on the day 🙂


Taunton and Somerset Bonsai Show

Well, almost a year gone since I exhibited at the club weekend show in 2010. I’d only been a member for a few weeks so it was a case of thrown in at the deep-end.

I wanted to be certain to show different trees this time and use material that is commonly available. This I believe helps anyone with an interest in Bonsai to see it can be done for far less money that one may be inclined to think.

I’ve decided to run with:

The dwarf Scots Pine


And a selection of Accent Plantings.

Small Kaho satsuki. I am re-showing this one because last year when I obtained the tree, it was in an untrained condition. Having done quite a lot of work to it I am keeping fingers crossed it is in sufficient flower mode by next weekend or sadly I will need to pull it.

For a replacement, I will run with the very large triple-trunk Korean Hornbeam. This was one of my trees selected for the Best of British Bonsai in Birmingham last month. Sadly at that time the tree was not ready. Since then, new growth is superb and with much work it should be in a showable condition.

Our show, unlike the superb effort that is put on by Swindon is very low key, but an immense amount of pleasure never-the-less. All I hope is the wind drops for the Saturday and Sunday or it will be a case of a flying marquee. I’ll take plenty of pictures to post after the weekend of 21st and 22nd May. No prizes, other than the satisfaction you have been a small cog contributing.

If anyone is in the area of Willowbrook Garden Centre betwixt Taunton and Wellington on the A38, please do call in and say hello. none of us bite … much 🙂