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.

Fall cleanup (and unexpected show-prep) on a twisty Itoigawa

I did some work in February, and let it mostly grow wild into October. So we start here:

The tree is one-dimensional, and has a few long branches extending on the back side, and a bald spot in the back left.

Below, my hand is covering the back left branch that needs to be shortened, and the bald spot is visible above my hand:

And the back right branch (this right side is the stronger side, and it’s pretty dense):

It does look ok from the front. However, you can’t limit the viewing angle in a show…

First, cleanup undersides and prune it back a bit. Here is that back left branch, removed:

First phase done:

Next, cleaning up the loose bark with a knife and scrubbed up with a toothbrush:

Soil surface mossed, and pot oiled with baby oil:

Finally, a coat of diluted lime sulfur on the deadwood:

Fall cleanup and show-prep of a corkbark Japanese /Black Pine

I have shared this tree on several occasions, and managed to do fall cleanup work around this time last year as well. Here is a link to that post. I’m not convinced the tree has changed any this year, except it has stayed healthy and green. Little victory!

First, cleaning off the moss without destroying the flakey cork bark. The Hachi-gen cultivar develops flakey bark, or tortoise-shell bark, rather than the wings and valleys in many of the nishiki cultivars. If you want to read about it, check out Evergreen Gardenworks’ website. Mine came from there, and is cutting-grown, so I’m ok with the appearance.

First up, remove the moss with tweezers, before:

After:

Pull old needles, and balance out the tree. Since I learned that I’d be showing this tree in Asheville next week, I left it a bit fuller. I had no plans to show it, but it should show ok.

Notice college football on TV? Bama beat Ole Miss pretty easily after the work was done. Light pruning:

A little light wiring to coax some branches into place, moss the soil, and oil the pot…

Good enough for this time. If I wasn’t showing it, and wasn’t in a huge time-crunch, I’d probably prune it harder, thin it out even more, and do a full wire job. Maybe this winter.