Blog of a bonsai amateur and tree lover mina bonsaier och andra träd

söndag 21 december 2014


Pictures from today, taken around our house when the sun rised above the horizon for a short while.

tisdag 4 november 2014

Uninvited guests!

What's with these two plants then? I took them out of the garage and now I think I will keep them here in the vestibule for some time.

The reason is I found that they had been attacked by rodents! Picture above: my only living small leaf elm. Don't want it to die. Picture below: a Japanese maple. It looks like it has been debarked all around, but  there is still a little bark left on the other side. Actually, this tree has survived rodent attack before: see this post! (The maple bark must have an especially good taste, as the animals have chosen them both last time, and this time, among all different sorts of trees in the garage.)

I have painted over the damaged parts and now hope for the best.

Those guilty of this crime have been punished: So far we have trapped four little animals in this kind of trap. My husband says three of them are voles and one is a mouse. I have a feeling there will be more of them coming in, it is that sort of a year, obviously. 
Don't we have a cat? Yes we have a cat! We have tried to leave Hanibal in the garage sometimes, but unfortunately I must say he has not done his job properly...

måndag 27 oktober 2014

Trees in London

 When I go away for a holiday, or any other trip that takes me away from home, I have the habit to look at trees just as much as (and sometimes more) at normal tourist attractions.

This time I have been on a short trip to London. Before we went I wondered about all different species of trees that I would see. Then it turned out the whole city is planted with the same sort of tree; we were always surrounded by them, they had these interesting hanging, hairy, round fruits.

The trunks had this nice patterned bark.When you see a pattern like this on a textile, it is usually called "camouflage pattern".
- The bark belongs to the plane tree.

So I have been walking around in London looking at plane trees.
The trunks can be really funny looking.

One bonsai-related thing you can say about the shape of the trees is that they have a clearly visible taper from the roots up the trunk. More on some, and others less of course.

After coming home I have read that these trees are planted in London because they are tolerant to all bad conditions that a tree has to survive in the middle of a big city, like polluted air and compaction of the soil.
Here is a beautiful and interesting site where you can read about the plane trees in London - with many beautiful tree-pictures!

tisdag 14 oktober 2014

End of the outdoor season

End of the outdoor season! The trees are moved to the winter-storing place. This morning came the first snow.

The semi-hardy trees are waiting to come into the garage for winter.

torsdag 2 oktober 2014

Two pictures, two pines

Two pictures with the same three ingredients - and taken at the same place... Same two collected pines, and same bonsai amateur! (Me.) I don't know exactly when the first picture was taken, but it must be more than ten years ago. In this picture you can see the top of a small bush behind the left pine - in the second picture (from today) that bush has grown to a tree - the three trunks you see behind the same pine.

Although I hate to myself in a picture, it is sometimes comforting to see old pictures like this. When I think my bonsai are never good enough, I can look at an old picture and say "at least the trees are better than they were before". At least the wooden box and plastic bucket has been exchanged for bonsai pots...

onsdag 24 september 2014


Frosty morning.
This is my sumac (rhus). In June, I put the five plants that survived the strange last winter in this blue pot. During the summer they have grown together.

Origin of the plants is from seeds that I got in 2011.

måndag 22 september 2014

Straight pine

Yesterday I was in Umeå with the bonsai society. I had brought this straight pine to the meeting, but never really got time to work with it. The only thing I did  was to cut off one branch - leaving a stump to make a jin.
Then I wired the tree when I came home, cut off two more branches, and jinned the top!

The cut-off branch left the tree a bit thin on the right side.
Which I think will be balanced in the next season!

torsdag 11 september 2014

New pots

I have still some inspiration left from the meeting in Göteborg (when I saw Kobayashi! last weekend). So therefore I would like to show here two pots I took the chance to buy when I was there. The first one is for this pine, that is in need of a pot a little larger than it has today. I will repot the tree in spring.

 Var naturligtvis tvungen att köpa ett par krukor när jag hade chansen (när jag var i Göteborg i helgen, se mitt inlägg om Kobayashi). Den här kaskadkrukan från Bonsai & trädgård köpte jag till "tallen med klumproten", som ni ser. Den kommer att bli omplanterad i den nya krukan till våren. Man ska ju inte ha krukor med såna där tecken på, som tallen står i för tillfället, har jag fått lära mig. Dessutom är den krukan faktiskt för liten.

The second pot is not for a special tree, I just liked it. It looks a little like crocodile skin, so maybe it would fit one of my tropical indoor bonsai?

Sedan kunde jag inte låta bli den här från Gramming pots. Den är inte köpt till något visst träd, utan bara för att jag tyckte den var snygg. Eftersom den ser ut litegrann som krokodilskinn kanske den passar till någon mer tropisk växt? Jag har ju ett antal sådana också.

måndag 8 september 2014

Pictures from the exhibitions in Göteborg

Här endast några bilder från utställningarna på Botaniska i samband med bonsaisällskapets årsmöte, se mitt förra inlägg om Kobayashi. På bilden ovan syns idegranen som stylades av Francois Jeker 2011. Roligt att se den igen och att den ser så bra ut, frisk och grön och att den har hållit formen!

Detta är bara en bråkdel av alla träd som stod utställda. Jag lämnar bilderna okommenterade, men som ni ser så är det en blandning av större och mindre träd, av barr och löv. Alla är skapade av medlemmar av Svenska Bonsaisällskapet.
Så vitt jag vet kan man se några av träden några dagar till, så alla som är i Göteborg har fortfarande chansen!


The Swedish bonsai society has had its annual meeting in the past weekend. We were in Göteborg, in the botanical garden, and as usual I had to start my visit with a walk in the park. I was first surprised to see these blue flowers everywhere, to me they look like crocus which you only see in spring. I learned that they are called tidlösa in Swedish (autumn crocus, meadow saffron or naked lady) - Colchicum autumnale. 

Another plant that caught my eye was this: with big leaves and something that looks like blueberries on long red stalks! Very decorative! The sign said Paraplyblad (umbrella leaf) - Diphylleia cymosa.

But the main reason for my visit was of course about bonsai. The botanical garden had invited the Japanese bonsai master Kunio Kobayashi (to the left in the picture) for the weekend. It was a great honour for the members of the Swedish bonsai society to have the opportunity to meet this bonsai master. The public was also invited and there were about a hundred people that had taken the chance to see the master in action.
What you can see in the background is a sort of basic explanation of bonsai, and the difference between bonsai and gardening. Kubayashi meant that gardening (I think he meant growing flowers) is about "superficial beauty" - while bonsai is about "deep beauty". I don't know what I should say about that...

On Friday evening he demonstrated bonsai on two pines. This is the first tree. It is a pine originally found in a bog in Sweden, transformed into bonsai by a member of the Swedish bonsai society. Kubayashi talked about the hard conditions the tree had survived and how the wind and snow had shaped the tree into what it is today. That is "shaped the trunk" - the master meant that the crown looked like it had been growing in a green-house. It did not say the same message as the trunk. To make the two parts of the tree speak the same, he wanted to thin out the crown, let in the light.

He talked a lot about this: wind and sun, hard conditions, how important that a bonsai should show signs of what had happened during the years. To show old age.
He talked about lines - but also about space. The line of the trunk is important, but also the space beween branches. The light should be let in.

So he also did some small improvements on the trunk. Here you can see how he is working with a chisel on a jin. I think the owner of the tree was a little nervous when Kubayashi suddenly started to hammer on the trunk with this tool... And one person in the audience asked why he did these marks in the bark - he answered "I added a few years".

The result is an amazing bonsai!

The second tree was another pine - pinus parviflora or pinus pentaphylla. The tree was originally donated to the botanical garden many years ago. It has not really been bonsai-shaped during all the years.

Kubayashi turned the pot on the side and made the tree into a cascade.  He said the transformation of the roots into a cascade-pot would take two years.

 He had a special way to use three scissors at the same time! Or, of course, he held them at the same time in the hand, and used them separately, but without having to put one down to pick up the next!


Some pictures from the workshop on Saturday and Sunday.