Quercus robur.

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Every year I start up with my students different long time projects. We always do that with a group of about 10 people. We started up with the same variety of the same age with the whole group. This example shows the Oak of one of the students which was started up in december 2003.  This is a 14 year old Oak cultivated in our nursery, we potted him up in a very big pot in pure akadama.

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By every step we do I made a scedule with what they have to do at home and when the tree has to come back on a workshop. This photo is from 1st check up in july 2004. I just told them to let everything grow, fertilising and watering.

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One year later, december 2004, we did the first winterpruning and removed all the strong growth.

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Two years later, november 2005, another check up. From now on we remove every year the strong buds on the end of the branches. We made already a decission not to wire the trees, just by pruning and wire that pulls the branches down has to give us a more natural looking Oak tree.

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Again I told them to let everything grow, except on the end of the summer removing the strong buds again. Photo taken in august 2006.

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November 2007, the previous summer we had worked intensively on the leaves to let more light in and we worked only on the outside part. Result a lot of small ramifications on the inside.

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Februari 2009, the tree starts to get his volume. We did some drastic winterprunings to open the whole tree. The root base is already improved and the bark of the trunk looks older.

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August 2009, previous techniques repeated and some new wires pulling the most important branches down.

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Juni 2010, end of our cultivation process. This was his last season in the oversized pot. We achieved everything that we needed over a period of 7 years.

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March 2011, we selected a first bonsaipot that fits with the autumn colour. We did some winterpruning and from now on we can talk about a bonsai, that means that all techniques to be done are changing from now on. This prooves again that long time projects are worth to be done. Many thanks to Johan for trusting me by this project.

 

 

Starters material.

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In this time of the year we prepare nearly every day hundreds of starting plants. These are Larix of 12 year old. They always have been pruned back, they have a thick trunk and the branches are close to the trunk. They are all in the size of around 30cm to 40cm.

 

 

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This is Juniper squamata raw material of 16 years old, movement in the trunks, good sized trees of 60cm to 80cm with thick trunks and compact foliage. They are ready to style.

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An example after the first styling.

There is also a team that is doing the pré stylings every day. We have a very busy season to do all this preparation work for next year. If you visit our nursery and want to buy out of this raw material ask what you are looking for because they are in a separate closed greenhouse.

 

Mugo Raw Material.

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Our crew prepared about 50 pcs of Pinus mugo. They are 17 years old and ready for styling. This is very good workshop material because we can do a lot of different techniques in one step to create prébonsai. This is cheap material to start with for beginners and always with good results.

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The first example after styling had dammage on the trunk which we turned into an advantage. The branches are easy to bend and it turned out in a compact tree.

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Another example; the raw material had many branches of which we kept only two and the rest we shaped in jin. The material has a good rootball and it is possible to pot them  up directly in an oversized pot. After this styling these trees are going to be maintained from next summer on and in about 3 to 5 years we can talk about a bonsai.

 

Saturdays workshop an impression.

DSCF2582.jpgOn We always start our workshops with a discussion about all the trees. This is interesting for every participant. During the discussion I show an example of every technique that has to be done.

DSCF2600.jpgDoing some grafting work; give a trident maple new branches.

DSCF2604.jpgAnother Trident maple that was missing one important branch, I did a branch grafting on the side. This is another technique without drilling through the trunc.

DSCF2628.jpgDiscussing the styling of a Mugo Yamadori.

DSCF2677.jpgSome pré styling on Junipers.

DSCF2682.jpgCreating more deadwood on a Juniper yamadori.

All together on that day there was worked on about 25 trees of 8 different students. This is how it works, some people start trees up, others come back for the next step on their tree, some trees come in for check up, some restylings etc. We always try to follow up all the trees that has been start up over the years.

Carpinus Forest.

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These Carpinus betulus were cultivated in our nursery especially for making group plantings & forests. Like our other material they were also cultivated a couple of years in pot and in the field.

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Selecting a good variation is important; we need different sizes in thickness of the trunks, different heights and especially differences in age. Like every natural looking forest we need to see the diffence between the oldest, middle aged and youngest trees. The root balls were also very compact and good enough to do the first step.

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The first composition with this group of trees, planting them the closest together as possible, happens in a wooden box. We let them grow together for a couple of years.

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One year later we were able to bring the trees more compact and make a new and better composition. The root balls were now so good that we could prune the rootsystem near to the trunks without taking any risk. With such good prepared material we can plant the trees very close to one another. This was the botanical part. Estetically we created a good harmony in the movement of the trunks, different distances between all the trees, a good depth in the whole forest and the goal was to create a forest that you see from a certain distance; that means a group of trees that make a small forest in an open landscape.

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The whole composition has to grow to one piece, in the meantime we do the maintance work, branch selection, wiring, pruning for ramifications. It is important that every individual tree has his own caracter and still create a harmony together with the other trees. All this takes a couple of years.

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The step to a flat bonsaipot was possible. On the rootball you can see that it is now one piece, all the roots are growing connected with each other and the root pruning was possible to make it flat and go in a landscape pot. We selected a hand made pot for the final destination of the group.

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The forest as it looks now recently. In reality it is much more impressive than on the photo. The forest is about 90cm high and over 1m wide. The ramifications of the trees has developped already very good. Thanks to Micky, one of my students, with whome I did the project over the years to create a unique piece of bonsai. This is a good example of making a programm for your creation. The making of is not done in one step “before and after”, but preparing and improving step by step. Time and timing will always lead you to a succesfull result.