Quick update on Corkbark Japanese Black Pine, ‘Taihei’

Since we negotiated terms, this pine has grown better. I don’t decandle it in the summer, I don’t wire every branch, and I don’t repot it often. For it, the tree stays healthy and looks generally decent.

However, I do trim strong shoots, remove dead needles, and pull downward-hanging needles in the fall. Here are a few shots of the minimal work done, per our terms and conditions.

Before any work done on the tree in a year
Old dead needles pulled from the interior
A few downward-facing needles removed, along with a few strong shoots which were trimmed back to a more proximal bud.

And after the grueling 30 minutes of work:

Done for now.

In the spring, I may do a little more wiring in the upper right side of the tree…and I may not.

Obligatory snow shot, 1/3/22

This tree originally came from Dave DeWire, out in the Seattle area. Dave was a collector of corkbark JBP cultivars and freely shared his knowledge with me when I was obsessed with the different cultivars. Dave died in March 2021, and will be missed in the corkbark JBP corner of the bonsai world. RIP.

Photo credit: https://conifersociety.org/news/mainely-niwaki/

Evergreen Gardenworks’ Shimpaku update

Happy New Year, bonsai freaks! I hope your holidays were relaxing, full of family, friends, and tree torturing. I have a few bonsai new year’s resolutions to share soon, but for now, let’s look at a storied Shimpaku juniper to kick off the new year.

After a full wiring and a fairly aggressive repotting in the spring, I left this tree to its own devices all year long. Here is a shot in late October, after being allowed to grow freely.

Wires had begun to dig in, so I brought the tree in to remove them.

After all wires were removed.

Later in November, I brought the tree to Bjorn’s intensive and we discussed progress, weaknesses, and future design options. The inner right side was weak, while the upper back side was strong…shading out the inner right side for sure. I need to keep the upper strong crown thinned out to allow light into the tree.

We also decided it wasn’t necessary to fully wire the tree again at this point, but instead, do a light pruning (30% or so). Wire the lower right branch, and a little in the apex. I also wanted to pull the heavy upper right branch down into an open space left behind by a branch that died this year.

Before pruning. Prune strong areas, growth in crotches, growth hanging down. Weak growth and strong runners.
After pruning
Shot of the guy wire pulling the upper right side down into the void.
After wiring

Finally, a coat of diluted lime sulfur to clean up the deadwood. This is how the tree will ride out the winter. The plan for the upcoming growing season is to keep the upper backside thinned out to allow sunlight to get into the inner branches allowing them to strengthen. I won’t repot it in 2022, but will likely wire it at some point this year.

Stewartia end-of-year update

This Stewartia has come along quite well in the 3 years since I dug it up. Below is a shot at near-peak fall color.

A few days later, after a couple freezes, only a few leaves remain…
…which were removed to reveal the branching structure I’d been eager to see for quite a while. It did not disappoint!
After tidying up
The apex before pruning back
After light pruning; just the long shoots and too-strong shoots.
A comparison shot from 3/2020 and 11/2021.

Merry Christmas, and Happy New Year. Thanks for reading along this year. I’ll be back in 2022 with new posts on old trees and pots. Until then, I hope you enjoy the holidays with family and friends.