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

tisdag 20 oktober 2015

Frosty morning

Night temperatures are beginning to drop to below freezing point almost every night now.
My zelkovas (the ones I still have) will come into the garage one of these days. I have moved them from the bonsai garden to just outside my doorstep.

 Ulmus elegantissima - with missing half on the left side...

Luckily I have put my outdoor-overwintering trees in the ground more than a week ago. I don't have to think about them for six months or so!

Half of our little lake is frozen this morning! It will probably melt during the day.

fredag 2 oktober 2015

An aspen story

This is my aspen bonsai (ok, prebonsai). It is still in a plastic container, but I am going to try and get a pot for it. 

I am in need of a lot of pots!

There is no great story about this tree, it comes from a forest in the area nearby. I have not done very much shaping, mostly kept it - as is my habit...

But instead I have taken pictures of a group of large aspen trees that I pass every now and then when I'm driving around in my work. For a long time I have been thinking "Those look like old and interesting trees, I should stop and take a closer look some day." Now I have done that.

They grow just beside the road on a slope. There are two old buildings beside them. I didn't know anything about them until my college told me this story:

One of the two old buildings was once a small shop! The oldest part (the timber part, closest in this picture) of it is from the 1700s.

 The other building is a small red house. There has also been a third house, a larger living house between these two.

In the beginnig of the twentieth century a family lived here with many children. The woman had a garden behind the shop-house where she growed white cabbage.

She planted the aspens around her garden. So they are about a hundred years old. Not particularly old for a treee really.

But these aspens look old, and one of them has fallen.

Old aspens have a high nature value in Sweden. They are good for insects and birds. The modern forestry favors pine and spruce, so old specimens of aspens are  fewer and fewer in the landscape. There are large areas with young aspens but the large populations of moose and roe deer keep them from growing up.

Some fifteen years ago, the owners wanted to take down these aspens. They were concerned about the old shop-house and wanted to save it from being crashed by a falling tree. They hired a forest-machine to make the tree-felling. Then, when the machine was already there and they were about to cut down the big trees, suddenly a wood-pecker flew out from a hole in one of the trees. That made the felling impossible! If there was a wood-pecker in the tree, it was forbidden to cut it down. The aspen group is now protected for nature reasons. Moss and mushroom, birds and insects, they have a refuge!

tisdag 15 september 2015

Bonsai Umeå 2015 - my workshop tree

I participated in the workshop with Takahiro Mori on Saturday. I had brought this pine, seen here from two different sides. It has a nice trunk with rounded curves, but an ugly root. (Very common among my trees collected from rocky areas!) At the moment it is growing almost horizontally. I have never been able to decide what to do with it.

First I was instructed to clean the tree, take away all old needles. On each tip only a small tassel of needles is left. Mori put the tree in a box to look at it more upright.

I wired the tree while Takahiro worked on the other trees.

Then he put it up in an upright position like this again. There is a straight part in the middle of the trunk which he means should look shorter if the tree is positioned so the straight part is pointing backwards rather than to the right or left.

Finally he put the branches in shape, and this is the result. A bunjin tree. The pot is standing on one side, so when I repot the tree next spring I have to put the tree in this upright position. The ugly root is supposed to be taken away. In the long term...

Picture of the tree taken in sunshine when I came home.
I will be needing one more bunjun pot!

måndag 14 september 2015

Bonsai Umeå 2015 - exhibition

Here are some pictures from the exhibition from this past weekend. All trees belong to members of the Swedish Bonsai Society. A few of them are mine! (None of these small ones.)
I don't have a picture of every tree in the exhibition, here are only a few.

We asked Mr Mori to give suggestions for improvements. He gave many suggestions for improvements but mostly on how to display bonsai, how to choose the right accent plants and so on. Not as much on the shape of the trees.

There were many pines, it is the sort of tree that grows best in this area. And a super tree for bonsai.

... but only one ficus! That was a species that Mr Mori had never heard of. He thought this tree should have a higher stand. (I agree on that - this solution was only better than the alternatives available.)

For my twin trunk pine he suggested I should turn the tree a little, and I can agree on that too. I will do it when I repot it next year.

A rowan with nice colours to mix with all the dark conifers.

A birch, brought to Umeå by a member from the south of Sweden. I didn't bring my own birch because I thought it was too ugly at the moment.

A pomegranate and a small pine.

More pines.

And a spruce.

This was Mr Mori's favourite in the exhibition, unfortunately not my tree!

This pine is mine though. I got the feeling he wasn't very impressed by this tall and thin tree, he only said it should have a shallower pot. He can not know, of course, that I am happy it has a pot at all.
Neither was he impressed at all by the grey wood I had put under the pot. I like it very much!

Another of my pines, this one too is tall and thin (and has the same kind of old wood under the pot). I have had an idea for some time that I should take away the long branch on the left side, but I havent really dared to do it. What if somebody should say "you damaged the tree". But it would make the tree more of a proper bunjin, and the direction of the tree would be more obvious. Now Mr Mori suggested the same idea. So guess what. I did it today. I took away not only one but three branches. Now the tree looks like this:

Some wiring needed of course, but how much less it is to wire and keep in shape! 
Then I only need a round pot for it!

Takahiro Mori

 I have had a full bonsai-weekend! The Swedish Bonsai Association has had its annual meeting and this year it was our turn in Umeå to arrange the meeting. It has been a full schedule from Friday to Sunday, putting up the exhibition, following the workshop and demonstration.

With some help from the EU-Japan Fest Committee we had got Takahiro Mori to demonstrate for us.

 Here are pictures from the demonstration. The demonstration tree was a spruce, collected from the forest by one of our members. It is growing downwards like this. Mr Mori turned it around to look at it from different angles. He could not decide which side should be the front of the tree.

Then he started work without telling us which front he had chosen. He asked for help with the initial cleaning of the tree, taking away unnecessary shoots and dead parts so the branches would become visible.

There is a pointy dead part sticking out from the trunk. You can see the difference between the picture above, =before, and the picture below, =after carving.

Started wiring.

Started shaping.

The foliage is divided into layers.

The finished result!
And which side did he choose for the front?
The answer is he made the tree with two fronts - picture above and below.