Friday, July 19, 2013

"Lord of the Rings" inspired bonsai

Doing a bit of surfing the web and came across this wonderful bonsai which was inspired by Bilbo Baggins' house (Bag End) in Lord of the Rings (and The Hobbit).

Bag End Bonsai

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Japanese Juniper Bonsai

Found this photo of one of my bonsai from 2005 that I sold. Japanese Junipers make great bonsai because they have a small leaf and therefore look more like miniature trees when styled.

If I hadn't sold this one, it would have had additional training/wiring to angle the side branches downwards. Just thought I would share the photo as I liked how this one came out and how the Buddha statue complimented it.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Nana Gracilis : Conifer Bonsai

Chamaecyparis obtusa 'Nana Gracilis' is a decorative conifer that only grows to about 80cm in height, which makes it naturally suited to bonsai. The constrast between old (blue/green) and new growth (yellow/green) foliage make for a striking specimen.

I started this project late August this year and have been watching it since to ensure it has settled in. Eventually this will be repotted again into a shallower pot, but I tend to be more cautious with the first root pruning, so allow more room for the roots and "first year" growth. There's a little bit more styling still to do to this one, but I have purposely left it this way for the next owner to add their own "touches".

Initial plant in pot as purchased from the nursery. It's at the nursery that you look for the characteristics that will make the plant suitable for bonsai

A front for the tree was chosen at the nursery too after envisioning what the final bonsai will look like.

Now with this vision clearly in your mind, it is time to start...

The same tree, about 45 minutes later after removing unrequired branches and foliage. You can see the amount of foliage that was removed (piled infront). Also some wiring and styling have been done and the plant removed from its pot.

More wiring will be required later to formalise the style but with this tree I have decided to leave wiring to a bare minimum.

It's important to note the percentage of foliage removed to what's left on the tree.

The tree now root pruned and potted into a blue-oval bonsai pot. The blue chosen to contrast nicely against the foliage of the tree. For all the steps, reasonings and considerations, please go here.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

bougainvillea bonsai - beginning stage

Bougainvillea (Bambino Zulu)
I have many bougainvilleas in my collection as they lend themselves well to bonsai and are one of the hardiest plants. As they age, they develop rough textured bark which enhances them but nothing beats seeing them with the full flush of "flowers" (the coloured blooms are not actually flowers...the flowers are actually much smaller and in the centre of these blooms).

This one has been cut back and thinned out and some initial wiring done to get it is shape. This was done at the beginning of spring and it is now being allowed to grow out again with constant pruning to keep unwanted growth in check. As this has just been transferred into a bonsai pot and the roots pruned, I will wait until next season to start reducing the leaf size to match the size of the "tree". This bonsai currently stands around 25cm in height. I'll keep updating this blog with updates to this tree.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Spring 2010 - Japanese Black Pine Bonsai

10 year old Japanese Black Pine Bonsai

Ok, so I have been training this japanese black pine for the past 5 years and this Spring, as it was due for repotting anyhow, I decided that it was ready to be put into a bonsai pot and made ready for display.

Japanese Black Pine have a small window of opportunity when it comes to repotting that involves root-pruning. This window is in September (first month of Spring) in Brisbane.

Up until now, the training over the past 5 years has consisted of needle pruning/pinching, candle pruning and wiring branches and the trunk to form an informal upright/semi-cascade.

Now I've chosen a different front and I've done one last bit of wiring before I repot. I've also removed any needles from the undersides of the branches. Being Spring and the start of the growing season, I made sure not to wrap the wire to tight as to risk bighting into the branches and scaring the tree. This wire will come off again in about a month and I'll wait until late Summer to re-wire and correct any unwanted changes.

A square/rectangular unglazed pot was chosen, as a pine is a masculine tree and therefore dictates such characteristics in a pot. As one of the low branches also dips just below the top edge of the pot, the pot also has some depth.

Note that the base of the tree has been planted up the opposite end of the pot to the direction of the tree.

Once the tree has settled in, then I will establish patches of moss over the soil to add an additional "aged" quality to the tree. I'll also make the branches I'd removed during training (but have left the "stumps", into jin to also add to the age of the tree.

For more tips, check out my eBooks at and in particular, keep an eye out for my specialist pine tree bonsai book, which will be coming out before Christmas.

  • Tree: 10 year old Japanese Black Pine
  • Style: Informal upright
  • Pot: Japanese unglazed rectangular
  • Size: Medium (42cm in height)

Monday, May 10, 2010

Bonsai - Things to do in Autumn

Root Pruning and Re-potting
Now is the major root pruning time for your bonsai trees. You can root prune and pot almost all trees now (with the exception of pines and cedars).

Keep feeding your bonsai throughout autumn. Diluted liquid fish emulsion is my preferred fertilizer.

Look over your bonsai for any signs of pests and treat with the appropriate spray.

Keep an eye on those bonsai that you have already wired to ensure that the wire doesn't start biting into the bark.

Learn more at