JBP, ‘Arakawa’ 2019

Here is the previous installment for this tree. I ended up repotting it in 2018, and wiring it in 2019. Here is the starting point:

Reduced the right branches in hopes for a back-bud closer to the trunk.

Trimmed back; Arakawa forms lots of buds, so trimming back took a while to get down to the bifurcation branch structure. before:

Thinned out:

Wiring started:


Wrapped in parafilm:

Scion prepared:


Cut paste to seal out water, then wrapped in parafilm, and then raffia:


Branches tweaked a bit more, and ready for the 2019 growing season.

Two weeks later, and the grafted bud is starting to move, a positive, but not definitive sign yet…

As of 4/1, the bud is 1.5″ long.

And at the end of the month…


I won’t be ready to call it a success until I see a new candle growing from it next year.

Memorial Day weekend, 2019. It is growing well, if not a little unbalanced, and the graft so far is still growing.

Around the 4th of July holiday, it was decandled:

To this:

Notice the graft is also growing at this point.

In early November, here is the graft:

The tree will be ready for some more work this winter, needle-pulling, bud selection, and some wiring.


Been working on the site a little…

I have updated some of the more static components of the blog site recently. I wasn’t thrilled with the “theme”, and found one that showed larger photos, and was a bit cleaner in appearance.

The “Monthly” page has been updated with some newer photos and tips.

The side bar navigation has been updated to organize the links and widgets. You’ll also see the blog has climbed up to #17…all thanks to you!

A page to revisit is the Shimpaku article, added a few years ago when the WBF site went MIA, and I was able to recreate it from a printed copy and way back machine searches for photos. This is the best article I’ve ever found on the history of the Shimpaku juniper, and truly a labor of love that I am proud to host here.

If you’re a fan of Japanese Black Pines and want to learn how to train them using the techniques you’ve read about and can’t quite get your head around, check out my book. I wrote it to be like a flip-book showing photos of the same tree in the same place, while showing and describing the training techniques so you can see how and when to prune, needle-pull, thin, wire, summer candle cut…and how it turns out. The link to the book is at the top.

Finally, due to the heavy photo content, I have had to upgrade to a paid subscription on WordPress, which is not a big deal. However, enabling advertising on the site, while mildly annoying, should just offset the cost. It almost did last year. The more visitors to the site, the cheaper it becomes for me to cover the ongoing cost, so please share and encourage your bonsai friends to visit the site…and thanks in advance.

Now, on to the trees…

2019 was a brutally hot summer, and a very busy time in general, so the trees have suffered some heat and neglect. It is finally raining today, and when things slow down a little, it will be time to catch up on tree work. When I do, I’ll share it here.

This winter, here are a few projects I hope to get accomplished, and posted here.

1. Wiring out the Ume. It’s been allowed to manage on clip and grow, but the branches are getting out of control. Adding some wiggle and downward movement should add to the illusion of age.

2. Prune the Japanese maple, and wire. The 2-year thread graft has finally been separated, and the next step is to continue refining branches. It may need another thread graft to fill in a bald spot in the middle-right area.

3. Thin out the JBP, pulling old needles and trimming shoots back to pairs:

4. Detail wire this Shimpaku from Evergreen Gardenworks…settle on a front maybe?

Prune and wire this chuchin JBP. This was nearly USNBE-ready for 2018, and took a nasty hit during a cold winter. It’s recovering now and in need of some pruning and detail wire:

Over the next year, you will also see a few posts covering a year or more of development on some projects I haven’t shared yet, including a stewartia, a very big JBP, a Zelkova air-layer, and more on Ume pruning techniques. I look forward to doing more of these, because the cause-effect of the techniques become very clear when a single post compresses a year or two of work.

Have a great fall and holiday season. Thanks for reading!

Alabama Bonsai Society’s Carolina Expo Display

Our club decided to show a Shohin display for this year’s Carolina Bonsai Expo, a great regional invitational show held annually in Asheville, North Carolina at the Arboretum. Over the last couple posts, I shared show prep on a black pine and a Shimpaku juniper; both trees were part of the Shohin display. Our club was invited to participate by submitting trees to be part of the display. Here is what we came up with.

Top: corkbark Japanese Black Pine, Shibakatsu pot

Middle left: Shimpaku Juniper, Chinese pot

Middle Right: azalea in painted pot

Lower left: Japanese Maple in Koyo pot

Lower right: crabapple, ‘sargentii’ in Roy Minarai pot

Accent: mixed planting in Sharaku pot

Outside right: Itoigawa juniper in Bigei pot

And so the cleanup began.

And here are a few photos from the show, from Karin R. and Wayne F.