First styling of a shohin Scots Pine

Finally, a first styling for this pine that was collected as a very young seedling over five years ago.  The gnarly, exposed roots are definitely its most distinctive feature and will be shown off in the final semi cascade image.  I can’t take credit for the styling, it was done before Christmas by a friend who has been helping me catch up with bonsai tasks missed during the year.

Immediate future plans:

  1. Root prune and repot into a smaller ceramic container next year.
  2. Bleach deadwood.
  3. Keep new growth very short to promote back budding.

A new Scottie

Bought this Scots Pine from a fellow club member back in spring and let it acclimatise in my garden for the past few months.  Had a chance to give it a first styling/wiring with the help of Phil, a much more experienced bonsai practitioner.  To be fair he did most of the work 🙂


Before. Spring 2015


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I’m excited about this piece of material.  Loved it as soon as I saw it and immediately had a literati tree of some kind in mind.  It’ll take a while for some backbudding to occur and more will be removed in further stages.  Not sure which direction it’ll go in just yet.  I’ll ponder it for a while.


After. July 2015


Close up of fantastic trunk.

Future windswept plans


After spotting pests in my previous post, I decided to inspect all of my pines closely for further infestation.  Thankfully it seems to be confined to the one tree.  I’ve had this Scots Pine a few years in this pot.  It was a seedling when I picked it up from underfoot about four years ago.  Planted in the flower beds for a couple of years then in this pot, it hasn’t been styled at all.  It’s shohin size and a candidate for transformation into a windswept/exposed root tree.  I noticed that there aren’t many strong buds on it at the moment so it’s not in great health.  Styling can wait.  However I did clear out old needles and think about a front and future elevation.


I think it’s a bit more of a dynamic image this side with the exposed roots appearing taut as if straining against the force of the wind.  A bit of elevation also stops it from being more semi-cascade and perhaps makes it look like the tree has had some success in battling the elements.  There is some ugly inverse taper but this can be remedied by jinning the uppermost branches.   Featured is the slab pot that I bought the other week.  It could just be the right size.  I’m excited about this future bonsai.

Foiled by bugs!


This is a very young Scots Pine that I bought two years ago online.  I’m growing it a seed tray while another the same age grows in the ground as a longer term project.  This is going to be a literati tree at some point and I don’t want it being any taller.  Anyway I had planned to wire the trunk earlier this week but after clearing the dead needles I noticed upon close inspection the presence of some bug infestation.



DSC_0006You might just be able to make the blighters out – very small, grey mite-like creatures.  Anyway, I changed my mind about wiring the tree and instead blasted it with Provado. Hopefully it’ll work and I’ll carry out the wiring later in the autumn.  Any ideas what they are?

Trees from the bench

I thought I’d share photos of trees that are on my bench. These are perhaps some of the furthest along in terms of development and keep me interested in the hobby while I wait for my material ‘from scratch’.



This Japanese Maple was acquired last year from someone affiliated with the NIBS who was selling his trees.  It’s recovering from a substantial root prune that was performed back in Spring in order to get it into the new shallow pot.  Not much extension growth this year so I have left it untouched and placed it in semi shade protect it.  It’ll need to be well protected this winter and hopefully will be ready for styling next year.


A mature Scots Pine which has struggled with ill health in the past but has recovered.  Backbudding required to fill out foliage closer to the trunk.


This Deshojo maple was bought online five years ago.  It was a thin sapling at the time but has grown some in the ground.  It struggled in the clay soil of my garden so I lifted it this year and I have seen the most growth since I bought it.  Unpruned to aid recovery and promote vigour.  Ready for a first styling soon but a long way to go yet to get a shohin bonsai out of this..


One of my first trees bought four years go from an online supplier. Will get a tidy up when leaves hopefully drop in a couple of months.


More trees in the next post…