Japanese Larch progression

After my previous post that had negative overtones of my travails in the world of bonsai, I thought I would create a post showing a relatively successful project so far.  This Japanese Larch (Larix Kaempferi) was bought as raw material three years ago from Willowbog Bonsai (Peter Snart had visited for the launch of the NIBS Bonsai School). I wasn’t long as a member of the NIBS and wanted a cheap piece of raw material to work on straight away to get my future bonsai collection started.

1 apr 11


It was first styled with a lot of help back in April 2011. All branching was wired.

2 first style apr 11

That year all new growth was closely pinched to start to build up ramification of the branches.  It was very well fed.

6 aut 11

Autumn image

The following Spring I rootpruned and repotted into a mica training pot.

8 may 12

May 2012 – recovering from repot

13 sep 13

September 2013

Last Autumn it was ready for a second styling.  Wire was applied from base to tip of each branch. Unfortunately I forgot to take a photo. But I was much happier with a dramatic increase in foliage and ramification over the previous year and a half.  Spring this year and I repotted the tree into a round and rough textured pot that complemented the bark.

19 mar 14

March 2014

Growth was slow this year due to substantial pruning of thick surface roots in particular but it still pushed out some new shoots which were pinched in the usual manner.  Below is the most recent image taken at the weekend with moss applied and foliage tidied up.  Following advice, the apex shall be further developed, natural moss will be developed on the soil surface and I hope to finally work on the jins/shari next year.

20 may 14

May 2014


September 2014



Mame cotoneaster 3 year progression

1 aug 11 mum cotoneaster

The above seedling was given to me in 2011 by my mother as something that I could put into the garden at some point but at that point I had very little in the way of bonsai material so I decided that I would try and grow it as  a very small tree.  I left it to grow for a couple of years and fed it heavily with chicken manure and a liquid feed.

3 oct 12

The autumn of 2013 provided some great red foliage before it dropped and I decided to repot it the following spring.  The next photo shows it in a small mica training pot with free draining soil.  A lot of the extended branches were cut back and one sacrifice branch left to thicken the bottom of the trunk.

4 aug 13

The tree grew so well that I repotted and rootpruned the following spring to spread the nebari some more in order to thicken the base further.  The sacrifice branch was removed.  The roots show some promise but I’ am keeping them covered to encourage them to thicken as much as possible.  The same container was used for the tree.

5 mar 14

This year, I have continued to feed it but not as heavily as I think the trunk is the right size.  I only pruned once back in spring.  So the time came now to make some decisions about styling.  This is the tree before my work this morning:


I reduced all of the long shoots and then cut back the primary branches as they were too long and straight.  This has created some good taper which I am happy with.  I felt the movement of the tree was to the right was I looked at it but the bottom branch extended the opposite way.  I removed it and tilted the pot to create a better image.  I don’t think I’ll repot next year – just concentrate on developing ramification on the newly tapered primary branches.  I’m hoping for some of that beautiful red colour again in a few months.


At present the tree is only 11cm tall and I intend to keep it at this height.

Prunus Incisa – A two year progression…

This was a garden centre shrub that was bought in January 2012. I’d heard of the variety before and knew of someone else who had a Fuji Cherry bonsai. After having a poke around the based of the trunk at the centre decided that it would be a suitable subject for bonsai training. I wanted to repot before flowering, so I immediately reduced the rootball by approximately half and put it into an Ian Bailie pot that I had spare and really liked.  Unfortunately I failed to take a ‘before’ photo so this first photo shows the foliage reduced significantly too.

5 Spring 2012

To me the tree looked great but to other more experienced members of the Northern Ireland Bonsai Society pointed out that it looked very much like a shrub and that the tree would need to be significantly reduced in height.

10 feb 14

After a year of free growth and good feeding, the trunk and base thickened up.  Reducing the height of the tree also helped to make it appear stockier and powerful.

7 sep 13

After two years in the round pot, I felt that the tree was ready for a new home.  I chose to repot early because I wanted to see the flowers in the new Walsall pot.  As soon as the flower buds started to swell and develop colour, I went ahead.

17 feb 14

The tree has changed a lot in the past two years but a lot more is to be done.  The short thick trunk base changes into a number of upper trunks but one of these was nearly vertical and crossed in front of a more interesting primary trunk option.  Following advice from more experienced members, I decided to recently chop it.

18 feb 14 19 DSC_0003.jpg reworked

The tree is now opened up more with more movement.  A lot of ramification to be developed over the next few years.