Juniperus procumbens.


Two years ago this Juniperus procumbens was transfered to a bigger bonsaipot. The tree reached the end of its first developmental phase meaning it has grown completely dense and fully developed after the first styling.


The two years in the bigger pot without any intensive maintenance have made the tree more powerful again.


Compact ramification and growth has never showed itself in this tree yet. Now it is time for the preliminary trim.


This tree carries all the features in both trunk movement and placement of branches to become a high quality bonsai.


The second phase in development is even more important but if the first one hasn’t been correctly performed with regard to initial wiring and necessary fixation, it is simply useless to start it anyway. this tree is now ready and thinning out and selecting the right branches can begin.


Top view on the thinned out tree.


Inside view with fixated and nicely moving branches.


Detail of the thinned out foliage and selected branches.


All the work at this point is done.  I never go a step too far. The first next trimming is due near the end of summer. In the winter there’s one last wiring scheduled. Next spring a repotting to a smaller suitable pot in a slightly different angle so that the trunk is  a little more above ground.




Saturday Workshop-Carpinus coreanum.


This Carpinus has grown out of proportion and now it urgently needed to be pruned back drastically.


We start with a proportional trim in order to built the tree up again next year.


We are able to prune everything back up to the last buds and leaves and we will repeat this scenario once more at the end of September or next year around the end of May.  Now we depend on good temperatures in order to obtain strong growth.


Saturday Workshop-Chaenomeles


This Chaenomeles came in for a proportional trim.


It was the perfect moment to remove the first overgrowth.  Inside the tree there are enough small branches and they are all well portioned.


Saturday Workshop-Buxus


This Buxus  (right one on the photo) came in for a maintenance trim as well as for a proportional and style pruning and for balancing the foliage.  It has also been adviced to alter the fertilizing schedule in order to strengthen the colour and growth.


After pruning.  Interventions like this demand good after care (correct watering, right habitat) and the adequate nutrition. Do not trust nutritional tips for Buxus kept in the garden (full soil). Here we talk about a bonsai hence the growing medium is limited. If you want to let the tree successfully regain its vigour you better not make any mistakes.


Saturday Workshop-Taxus


This Taxus came in for a next step after the initial styling that took place last winter.


Starting with pruning back and selecting the usable material.


Next step will be starting at the end of September and this can be done throughout the whole winter. First step is accomplished meaning creating foliage close to the trunk.





Saturday Workshop-Larix



This Larix came in for maintenance. Freddy has kept the tree up well and now it has come to the end of this developmental phase.


The tree was growing too slowly and the outgrowth of the branches was minimal. A well trained bonsai enthusiast knows that something has to be undertaken now.


This is a pruning task in two steps. After thinning out the tree and when it will have shed its needles the next step starts.




 Flowers change into fruit / berries.


Juniperus yamadori.

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This Juniperus yamadori has been photographed near the end of 1999. The tree was kept in a wooden box for about 5 years and was now ready for its first styling.

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The foliage was strong and healthy. There was only one branch which was hanging next to the trunk.

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First thing to do was cleaning up the dead wood, giving it more structure and refining the jins.

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I bended the one branch as compact as possible towards the trunk with some tension wires and I placed the foliage around it.

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After thinning out the foliage and selecting the usable branches I repotted the tree in an ample pot. The foliage wasn’t ready enough for a refined styling. Since the outer parts were thoroughly trimmed back and there was only inner foliage of lesser quality left, refining should best be postponed for a year or two. We refer to this as a pre-styling with instant powerful regrowth.

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Possible back side. During pre-styling no definite front side is chosen yet.


Five years later the tree was presented on a “Ginkgo Bonsai Award”. Back then it was still supported by wire. A front side was chosen and a good suitable pot. On this picture taken in 2005 it is the first fully grown stage. The way to maturity however is still a long one. There is a big difference between trees with dense foliage and mature old trees.  About the further refining one can read post 05/11/2012 “Preparing for rewiring” and a next step in post 08/11/2012 “Wiring and positioning branches Juniperus”.


Recent Job on a Fagus crenata.


This Fagus Crenata has had its top pruned out and thus made it 30 cm smaller. During a period of three years it was trimmed only roughly and now it has developed sufficiently, so that we can start again with more precise pruning to let the tree develop further.


To obtain better development of the new branches we choose for a late pruning.


The newly prepared starter ready to be trained from next year on. Al the branches that are needed and the fully grown apex are ready for further refinement.


Juniperus rigida midsize.


This Rigida isn’t ramificated well enough to be maintained through soft pinching.


The preparational trim during a couple of years until there is sufficient compact ramification.


After pruning. This fall the tree will be wired one final time and next spring it will be ready for maintenance through soft pinching and from there on during further development. One must be aware it will take 15 to 18 years of preparatory work going from first styling to this stage with all branches well fixated. The last developmental phase with soft pinching is the most important one for the image of a rigida. This beautiful quality mid-size tree in an antique tokoname pot is for sale.


Good Ol' Days_Japan.


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When my interest was aroused to learn everything there is to learn about Juniperus rigida I initially thought that by watching (observing) how the technique was performed in different gardens in Japan, I would understand. I thought completely wrong…Very soon I discovered there are different ways of trimming according to the stage of development of the tree. The technique itself remains the same but how much trimming that has to be done, where and when to do it, differs. At first glimpse the results after pruning were the same. I confined myself to one teacher who taught me everything about it, going from  maintenance during developmental phase to the stage of ripe, mature trees. From then on everything was clear and there was no more confusion. On this picture you can observe Okumura’s father doing normal maintenance work without intentions for further development.


Sho Hin protection.


Yesterday was the first day we had a lot of sun and high temperatures. The shaded area where the sho-hin are kept prevents damaging by burning and/or drought.


Juniperus rigida.


This rigida has been left to grow for a longer period before it was ready to be trimmed. The last 10 years It has had a very intensive maintenance  and thus in the next few years it will need a longer time for the new growth to mature and strengthen  before we prune it. But even then it will still be trimmed two to three times each season. On this picture it is trimmed halfway starting from below.


Detail of the trimming. The longest growth is the one that has been selected last year to pull on the tree this spring.


The pulling shoots that will be trimmed the next time are now equally spaced. It is important to foresee this every time you trim in order to prevent  growth being brought to a halt during summer.


Apart from pruning the foliage that has grown too dense had to be selected and needles were thinned out as well. This is the tree after a day’s work.


Pinus thunbergii.






This Black Pine came to us in spring for maintenance pruning. It was too soon to do that just then (see post of 19th of April).

Now we are nearly two months later and the tree progresses well but it is still not ripe enough for pruning. Timing is one of the most important factors to be able to work on bonsai successfully. With this tree the maturity of the new buds determines when to start trimming, in this case within a few weeks. If the time of pruning is correct the results will be very positive after one summer.

Remember well: It is all about timing and observing and not just about pruning because it is in a certain month of the year.



Acer p. deshoyo_Part 2.

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After one growing season; The grafts have grown into the holes and new shoots are being cut back once. Still, these plants don’t look as roots nor render visible results yet.

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A year or three later. On the grafts little twigs are being thinned out and cut back. Left: a tree from the same series. Right: the better developed project.

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Every summer the tree is getting a light maintenance trim. The green leaves below are from the grafts (the pulling plants).

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From the fifth year on the grafts begin to perform their task well and provide a wide trunk’s base.

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Every now and then the shoots are pruned back drastically and new, lower branches are added.

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The project has completely grown towards its ample dish.  Every midsummer trimming the grafts. The tree receives an even bigger dish.

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After 7 years, the grafts (Branches) became roots.

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Wiring and styling. The tree has developed going from a 38 cm to a 76 cm pot. The grafts keep up the good work year after year.

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The base of the tree’s trunk, now 19 years later, the pulling ends are completely removed but only after 12 years and the roots were drastically shortened after every repotting.  It took a long way but it was worth it.


Acer p. deshoyo_Part 1.

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This was the base of my Acer p. deshoyo about 19 years ago.

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The goal was to obtain a strong developed rootbase.

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These are young plants of Acer p. which will serve to pull on the whole project in order to have it develop  faster.

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Preparing the young material.

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Preparing the roots of the young material.

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The three young  plants that will be used to pull are being added. The bark is peeled off on the lower part in order to get new root formation closer to the trunk.

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Just below the root base three holes are being drilled to fit in the pulling new plants. Very important: These activities are being performed during rest-phase of the tree November/December.

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We drill on locations where the trunk base isn’t fully developed.

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The pulling plants are grafted 1.5 cm deep into the trunk. The whole is being  transferred in an oversized growing pot with straight akadama.

 Will be continued tomorrow.








Good Ol' Days_visitors from Japan.


A delegation of Japanese bonsai cultivators visiting my garden, a few years ago.


Good Ol'days_Visit to Mr. Iwasaki - 1.


Visiting the late Daizo Iwasaki in 2005. Mr. Iwasaki visited my garden a couple of times and he was an honoured guest at the Ginkgo Awards. In 2007 he appointed me as advisor for the WBF (World Bonsai Federation).  However, from that moment I decided  that I could mean more here on my own bonsai nursery and that there was no time left to hold a traveling position in the bonsaiworld.

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Until he died we kept in touch though and the man understood my situation completely.

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Big Juniper chinensis yamadori.

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Juniper chinensis yamadori styled by Kimura on the world congress in Korea, I think it was in 2002 or 2003.

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His recently created  landscape garden.

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This is only a part from Mr. Iwasaki’s bonsai collection. He was a collector and didn’ sell any trees.


Good Ol' days_visit to Japan.

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Kimura & Danny.

This picture is taken about 16 years ago in Kimura's garden.

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In the old garden of Mansei-En when Sabura Kato was still alive.  Already a living legend that was fortunate for Omia Bonsai Village.

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Slurping noodles the Japanese way.


Thanks to this man, Noburo Kaneko, the Ginkgo Awards have become what they were supposed to. He taught me all there was to learn about esthetics in bonsai and what to do with it on exhibitions. A great master and artist. The Old Skool generation left its legacy and everybody that still uses it is very grateful to these people.


Kokonoe Pine on Rock.



Today my Kokonoe rock-planting had a thorough pruning.


Top view on the main tree, 20 % ramification has been removed. The rest facing towards natural growing direction again.


The two small trees have also been pruned back and thinned out.


Detail after trimming, regrowth is assured.


The rock-planting after pruning. This creation stands already more than 25 years on this Ibigawa rock.

It is for sale.

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