little cornish trees

little cornish trees

A new forest is born

leaves and buds - deciduousPosted by marcus watts Thu, November 24, 2011 19:00:15

Last March on a local club night we made small group plantings from various deciduous bare rooted hedge material. On the night i used 9 european beech trees, and after getting home decided to repot it with some extra trees left over from the hedge we planted at the front of the house - this ended up as 23 trees in a large oval inspired by the real hill top forest down the road.

I think we all tend to be self critical and each time i looked at the group the fact they all had exactly the same thickness trunks meant I was never very happy with it - and the pot was too big for such little trees. By mid summer I knew the group needed a complete overhall so a few days while walking the dog managed to add 7 tiny seedlings to the stock of trees, then a hunt in the 50% discount area of my local bonsai nursery added a plastic box with 3 larger trees that had been rough pruned for a few years so they had some taper and plenty of branches to chose from.

Next thing was to make a pot for the group so a sheet of wire was cut to shape, a few re-inforcing metal rods were put through and floor tile cement was mixed to a wet consistancy and poured into the mesh. As it set a bit of texture was worked into it with a trowel and the drain holes were put in.

24 hours later it was set hard so small holes for wire were drilled all over and 1mm copper wire threaded through. A few hours were spent bare rooting the trees, cutting the tops and roots back and assembling the forest. The 3 main trees wers placed first, then the tiny trees, followed by the medium ones. The shape of the slab was designed to suggest a path running deep into the forest so the foreground has used the large trees and the tiny trees were at the back, giving perspective and a feeling of depth.

Moss completes the scene for now and everything will be left until bud break before starting the pruning, directing the branches so they work together rather than becoming a tangled mess.

Tree source - wild seedlings, Dutchy of Cornwall Nursery, St Mawgan Bonsai Nursery

European Beech, Fagus sylvatica, common beech

Pot - resin cement - 30" wide

I threw the tree on the mercy of the ibc forum and had some excelent suggestions of ways to further improve the planting - so a larger slab is in the pipeline and a tweak to the trees on the right is planned. - Thanks go to Robert for the skilled observations

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The forest on the hill

The real dealPosted by marcus watts Wed, November 23, 2011 07:46:39

I love this view - it is a perfect scene to tell me you are nearly home after a long journey. Because the trees are deciduous you get a changing image to go with the seasons too. Yesterday was a beautifull November morning so a quick trip up the road with the camera snapped the 'forest on the hill'.

Below is a photoshop virtual skillfully created by Robert Steven (author of vision of my soul, mission of transformation) that shows how the real forest would work well as a bonsai creation. He has even reduced the amount of field visible to show the efffect of the shallow pot. This has inspired me to plant a forest like this and i will use either acer palmatums, or tridents I think - both have nice soft growth and curving feminine outlines.

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Winter is coming

Clubs, Shows and displayPosted by marcus watts Sat, November 19, 2011 10:33:47

Here is a little display I put together as a practice for the club AGM. The tree is a small to medium sized white beech on a japanese stand, accompanied by an apple wood jitta and a pair of broze acorns. The tree is developing ramification quite nicely and the aim is to increase this while keeping the tree much the same size. A few branches need easing down a bit with guy wires and i may loosly wire a few bits this winter - but the wire needs to be off by spring as these trees mark easily.

Fagus Crenate - Japanese White Beech or Siebolds Beech

Origin - Japan

Source - Willowbog Bonsai Nursery

Size - 20" , Age approx 25 years

Pot - Wallsaw ceramics

Apple wood jitta and bronze acorns

Source - Mendip Bonsai, John Trott

I'll do a little wiring on the tree and I think it is ready for the club AGM display.

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pine scent and sticky sap

Pine treesPosted by marcus watts Wed, November 16, 2011 23:08:56


We just had a great afternoon as guests of the Exeter Bonsai Society to do a talk and demo on pines. This was a follow up to an earlier meeting that became a fairly in depth few hours concentrating on techniques and seasonal requirements. This time we concentrated on the members trees and looked at potential designs for the raw material trees, looked at refinement for the trees already well on their way and also had the pleasure of enjoying a couple of mature refined trees.

part waythrough the demo I was reducing a lot of heavy top growth from an old scotts pine that had been in a ladies collection for many years, initially taking the tree down from about 5ft high to 3ft. Many younger strong branches were taken out completely, and the long extensions on every branch were pruned back to weaker inner shoots. Then as a complete bonus I managed to buy the tree ! so now it is sitting outside ready for a few years work on building strength & foliage.

The bark is very mature, and even a nice flaky red that occurs on wild trees but not on bonsai very often, and the 'never wired' trunk has some very natural curves along it.

And today the tree was wired into a striking literati bonsai with a low sweeping branch, several jin and a conecting shari. this is just the initial styling - there is lots to do making back buds and extending the shari to the top (once the raffia is off)

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