Well today has been quite an easy day today for me and why not it's Sunday.
Well the morning started off OK, no rain as yet and it was quite mild. It's still very muddy under foot though, but hopefully if we don't get anymore rain the land should start to drain and therefore dry a little.
I put pieces of 3"x2" timber under many of the trees to tip the pots to drain excess water away this morning. Not all my trees are in the poly tunnels and not all have their wellies and water proof leggings on either. So invariably some get excess water, and at this time of year that's no good for the trees over a sustained period. I can't wait to get the new big poly tunnel put up as soon as the weather warms up. A few friends have offered to help me erect one right now, but as anyone who has ever erected a poly tunnel before knows, you need the warm weather to erect one to be able to stretch the poly skin tight. Then as the temperature drops it goes even tighter like a drum. Plus at my age erections and cold weather are a bad combo!
After checking around the nursery I took advantage of the dry weather to get some photo's taken of the new trees (that are left) so that I can get my website updated. There are lots of trees on the website now that are either sold or reserved and I have around 25-30 new trees that should be on there. Plus I have the new bronzes to add to the Ten Pei page on my site. Unfortunately I do not make any changes on the website myself, it is done for me by a very nice lady. I am PC illiterate that's for sure. This blog is challenge enough, and I can only compare it to an electronic Rubik's Cube.
Because I do not do the work on my website this means that I cannot update it as fast as I would like and invariably trees come in and get sold and never see the website. And then there are trees that get sold and are still on the 'TREES FOR SALE' page. On top of wanting to get the site updated with all the new images I have taken, I still have new trees to photograph that are arriving soon. The shipping company called me Friday to say they would be delivering another shipment of yamadori to me on Monday. So it will mean more photography on Monday weather permitting, as long as my back holds out after unloading and as long as my old 'mucka' George doesn't keep me drinking coffee all morning. So you can see I really need to get the site updated.
Here are a few images taken today of the trees that have to be added to my site.
This first one is a Mediterranean Cypress Cupressus sempervirens.
They have nice dark green scale type foliage which tightens up very well under bonsai cultivation. Heavy branches can be difficult to move, but they set in place quickly so in this respect think 'Itoigawa'. As a bonus they have wonderful red flaky bark which can give a different feel or image to what you would associate with a juniper for instance. Think Hinoki Cypress but heavier flaking of the bark.
Of course it can be removed to give a smoother boot polish red look if you wish. But I am hoping more people will take advantage of the species' individual characteristics rather than render it a juniper clone.
As it is a fairly new species to the UK I expect people to be wary and therefore slow in trying the Cupressus, but it is a forgiving and tough species and I think that once one or two are seen exhibited, then they will catch on. It just needs a few people with passion and vision to try them. It may be that I have to style one or two myself to show people what they are capable of.
This one is a beast. It is as thick as a mans thigh. You can see the pot of Japanese cut paste in the photo which gives you some idea of size.
This is the preferred viewing side.
This is the reverse side.
I think with some sympathetic carving, this tree will be awesome. And the wood is very hard on this species and it is used for making pipes and furniture. Because it has hard wood due to it's slow growth habit, it carves beautifully with a machine like a Makita or similar. In that respect it is like Olive or Hawthorn.
It is not often you see fruiting tree bonsai that are so powerful in the trunk.
Of course as it is a cherry tree you will be treated to fruit on this tree, but it also has clusters of beautiful white flowers.
The next image is of a Quercus suber or Cork Bark Oak.
The final image for now is of a Scots Pine.
I really like it's natural 'tree' silhouette which for me is a refreshing change from a lot of the Scots Pines that I get which are contorted and very 'bonsai' like, but not necessarily tree like. For me there is room for both, but sometimes you can have more of one type for so long that you appreciate the other type when it comes along.
All the Scots in this batch have very good bark quality and I will be keeping at least one for myself to develop. But don't ask me which one just yet as I am torn between 3 trees. The one pictured here, a nice triple trunk and a'kabudachi' style one which is wonderful.
Unlike the Scots Pines that I get from the Pyrenees, these pines from Scandinavia have very flexible branches which will be a blessing I am sure to one or two people who I know have struggled with branch bending when styling some of the much older Pyrenean pines.
I find it fascinating to see how a species can vary in appearance so much from one country to another, and the Scots Pine is no exception showing amazing regional variation across it's range which starts in Ireland, across to Scotland the east across Europe to Siberia. For me it is the 'king' of all pines. The reason being it has all the best qualities of all the other species favoured in bonsai all in one species.
It has a good needle quality which can be brought down in size easily. The needles are a nice deep green colour and are not prone to twisting as they leave the sheath as many Mugo's do. The needles are not course like Black Pine or wispy like many of the types of White Pine are. (I must admit to loving the vibrant green needles of the Red Pine though).
The branches are not as flexible as the Mugo Pine but they are certainly more flexible than the Red Pine Pinus densiflora. It can have bark quality to equal any other pine species be it European yamadori or Japanese import. They back bud easily and are programable if you know how. They are tougher than the Japanese Pines and they grow well in the UK which can only be a bonus.
However I still like White Pine and Black and Red Pines and there will always be room for some in my garden. But if I could only keep one pine species it would be the Scots Pine!