Shohin crabapple

This is a sargentii from Evergreen Gardenworks. It’s an older tree, by Brent’s description, but new to me in late 2016. It came in a 1-gallon can:

It took significant root reduction to get the tree into a Bonsai pot; this one a gift from Roy Minarai:

Unfortunately, I let it go a few hours too long between watering and it dried out in June 2017:

It was pruned back in the early spring 2018, before and after:

Repotted again in March 2018:

It bloomed for the first time in my care in April 2018:

And it grew fairly erratically, but very strongly, and even bloomed again in June 2018. I decided it was strong enough to prune some of the coarse branches back which should help define the nice taper and movement of the trunk.

Brace yourself…

As the new shoots extended, the best-located ones were coaxed into position and given some movement with a little wire.

And a month later, it’s starting to take shape…

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Making some accents

Since our local club show is in the Spring, the accent plants should suggest the season. Here are a few that I prepared for the upcoming show.

Once the pots were sorta matched to plants, it was time to dig in…

I don’t mind mounding up the soil, so they look well-established, and a nice layer of moss helps the look as well.

Erodium is one of my favorites, here in a Byron Myrick pot:

Next is some “Doone Valley” thyme, lemon-scented, with a yellow variegation, and just the hint of lavender flowers, in a very small Joshu Shouzan pot:

and a little more in a first-generation Yamaaki wonky vessel:

Thrift in a Bunzan trident-maple shaped dish:

What I like about this one, is the glazing inside the dish allows for mounding up the planting:

Thyme and variegated ajuga in a Byron Myrick pot, the one I showed at Nationals in 2012. Funny story, a bonsai acquaintance from NOLA was good enough to pick up my tree in Bham on his way to Rochester, and somehow, during setup, this accent was paired with the wrong tree, and my tree was displayed with someone else’s hosta. Jim told me he switched it back a few times, but it someone kept changing it. I have no idea what tree it was displayed with, but I am impressed it made its way back to Bama.

A native dwarf crested iris in a rare Sara Rayner porcelain pot. The blooms are done for this year, it appears, so this will be for next year. I really dig the color and scale of the dwarf iris, so it will be fun to keep this one going for a while.

Finally, a relative of thyme (tag didn’t make it home🤨) in a cheap 6-sided Japanese pot:

The cycle continues: Shimpaku with Bjorn part 2

Finished trees are worked in 5-7 year cycles, spending 3-5 years preparing trees to get them to the pinnacle of show condition, showing them for a year or two, and them starting the cycle over again. The cycle started in 2013 for this Shimpaku when I acquired it as shown:

Since it had once been prepared for show by the previous owner, and it was an older but healthy Bonsai, the preparation cycle was a bit shorter. It was repotted into good soil, the deadwood was cleaned, and it was allowed to grow in 2014:

Then, in May, 2015, Bjorn and I detail-wired the tree in preparation for the USNBE in 2016:

It was allowed to grow out in 2016, so it could be cleaned up again before the show, but shown in a fuller state.

Fall 2016 before:

And after; ready for the 5th USNBE:

At the USNBE in 2016:

And at the Carolina Bonsai expo the following month:

And one last appearance at our local spring show in May 2017:

Then it was allowed to grow out for the rest of the year, really one of my favorite shots in this progression; even, balanced, full, but still retaining some definition. However, the wires were pretty deeply embedded by this point; most having been on the tree for 3 growing seasons, and leaving it much longer could have resulted in damage to branches.

And finally unwired over Christmas 2017, it was a bittersweet project that took about 6 hours.

Light pruning:

And so I could stand to look at it, I guy-wired a few branches down, and the tree will get to rest this year.