Bonsai Walk in Autumn at RHS Wisley

I visit the Bonsai Walk at RHS Wisley regularly and in this video the trees are starting to blush with their Autumn colour.

Today is the 30th of september we’ve had a long hard summer and the sun is still dragging on and i’m here at wesley at our own herons bonsai walk where we sponsor the bonsai collection and i’ve come to see it i must admit that due to the covet this is only the third time this year i visited wesley i normally come here once a month that means 12 times a year but the trees are looking good let’s have a quick tour of the place and i’m really surprised how nice it looked look at this creeping juniper here this creeping junipers have planted to make it look like moss so if you have trouble growing moss this is the juniper to plant it makes a beautiful display in fact i need to cut it back a bit because it’s hiding the beautiful rocks and i’ve never seen an um look at this chinese elm these are the arms that are normally grown as indoor trees but if you grow it outdoors and expose it to the sun look at the colorness absolutely stunning absolutely stunning i love this tree huge one because it’s only the end of september we’re not quite into autumn yet but the autumn will come and they’re only just about turning color so give it another month i would say three weeks to a month this will be completely red the latches are turning as well so we look at all the trees and see what’s happening the full autumn color has yet to come some of these trees have not been repotted for about five to seven years so it just shows that you don’t have to repot them every year it’s high time this was done but this is managing to do well and because you don’t repot too often look at the way the roots show this nebari and the nile roots come from not repotting too often if you repot very often you don’t get this effect i noticed and the same with the spine you see all these lovely surface roots this simply comes through not repotting it too often see the roots have filled all the pot here this is only one of our garden pines that we grow in our field and turned into a nice literary shaped bonsoi this was made about 20 years ago and if you remember it from the previous visit to wesley this was green and was laden with beautiful mulberry fruit and this is the lovely autumn color of mulberry beautiful gold and yellow these are not imported trees this is a ordinary english beach that i dug up from the herons hedge and when i got there in 1986 one of the first things i ever did was to dig up this tree and it’s been made into a bonsai since 1986 so it is about 34 years in training but the tree must be about 45 years or more old but again this beautiful autumn color the yellow has yet to become more intense so you’ve still got the autumn color to come you notice these are all large trees they are large for two reasons if you have a public display you can’t really put very small trees not for a public display like this if they’re very small they could get stolen if they’re large they’re less likely to get stolen and they’ve got a presence in a big garden like this and this applies to the bonsai that other people collect i have a lot of customers who have large gardens and they love the large bonsai so bonsai don’t have to be small trees this is an ordinary dwarf scots pine finest sylvester gubernances that i started making when i lived in pearly i think i started making it in 1980 and it’s been many many years in training it’s another of our tridents we have so many tridents that i love to share them and this i reckon is in fact one of my nicest tridents look at the powerful root system here so all credit to the wisley staff they are ordinary gardeners they’re not bonsai people and they’ve managed to look after the truth pretty well you must be wondering why there is such a lot of gravel on the surface i find that in a place like this the children young kids usually the under fives they love picking up the gravel from here and they put it on the surface of my trees in some bonsai collections i won’t mention names but there was one collection in britain where they had the trees behind iron bars i have never thought that it was the right thing to do so although we’ve been having the bonsai collection at wesley since 1997 which is a very very long time 23 years we have never kept it behind bars and we’ve never kept the public away from the trees i’ve seen people who come and touch them in fact the first bonsai display area at wesley was called the garden of the census because it was for people who had seeing difficulties hearing difficulties so they used to come and touch the trees people who had you know i wouldn’t say blind people but they had side problems they used to come and touch the trees and it was very very uh nice in a way that people could be tactile with the trees and touch them so i never mind and all the 20 what is it 23 24 years they’ve been here i’ve never had a broken branch and i’ve never had a stolen tree so i like people to come and touch the trees and feel that the trees are part of the display and part of them part of the experience another of the latches we made from our fuel grown material nothing special this is a group of the japanese white park beach and this is the rough spark chinese arm there’s a story behind this tree when it came from japan back in 1990 the tree also almost died and half the tree rotted and although it rotted i managed to rescue it and you see how well it’s gone you can see that the cambium is callousing on the inside on the dead wood take a close look and see how it has healed up and it reminds me of a great big oak tree that we have in lingfield called the lingfield oak where the cambium has callous into the dead bark and keeps the tree alive so you actually see trees like this in nature i remember last year when i came here at the end of october this tree was in blaze with color in fact i’ll try and sneak a shot a still of this last year showing the autumn color this is an ordinary mountain maple i always reckon that the best autumn color on maples is usually on the mountain maples and arakawa also has got very good autumn color but this humble asapharmatum straight mountain maple or the japanese called yamamomoji has the best autumn color i love try this because they’re very hardy trees and the other thing i need to mention is that because this is an open site and the display is 12 months of the year none of these trees are protected in the winter and on all occasions you will get temperatures of minus 10 degrees but that is only for a couple of hours in the winter but we don’t store them away in some countries maybe the winters are more harsh uh but they stored away their trees bonsai collection in the winter not displayed but this display is here 12 months of the year look at this beautiful launch again a large size is made from some of our field grown trees we’ve got hundreds of them on the nursery but with a little bit of care and attention you can get these stunning looking trees this is another homemade tree this is the finest austriaca or the austrian black pine again made from some of our field goal material that’s one of the indoor chinese arms that also is in very good condition this is a large garden white pine that i supplied back in 1997 so it’s been here 23 years and the shape has changed considerably we took some of the branches out so that we can show the trunk more and this was moved in the year 2002 so we dug a large tree out this is a 2002. [Music] now 2012 sorry 2012. so it’s eight years since we moved it and it seems to have survived well we took it with a huge root ball which was about i would say five for six feet in diameter i still have photographs of it and each year we have to prune these long shoots so that we retain the shape and then we have to clean the needle so all those long shoots at the top will come off and this is a texas kospidata which is the japanese u i think we need to prune this at some stage again because the pads are now merging into each other and we need to show the pads much more so here we are with pruning the pads so that the tree won’t lose the shape the definition of the pads need to be more pronounced you can do more than that emma more than that all right yeah more than that okay yeah careful you don’t cut your finger off those ninety seconds the number of times i slice my finger off i’ve been showing the staff how to make the pads on this instead of making them round blobs we’re making the pads more japanese-y looking so we’ve created these pants we made them more definitive so that you can see the separate pads but this one i can still create separate plants from this so what i will do i will go in there i’ve got to leave an apex mind you but i’m going to create a new card [Music] oh so i think in the space of about half an hour we’ve pruned this entire tree so i’m just going to finish off the tour by looking at all the other trees they all look very good still 30th of september and some of the autumn color is there look at that lovely crab apple that’s looking very nice too yes this is the famous juniper chinensis blouse that i created in 1984 and it was used in my second book bonsai master class so the entire history of this tree is recorded in the second book bonsai master class so this is the tree today at wesley so this is 36 years in the making so i would reckon the tree is about 46 or 50 years old well i’m still at wesley and i just came across this because i’m just in the alpine greenhouse or the alpine area and you see how they grow the alpines this is really like how we do our panjing so how is that different you know so all these rocks and things are used here for making these little penging or the rockery compositions for the landscape and i will just show you another area where they’ve got the entire alpine collection this is all artificially made just vertical slabs of york stone or whatever stone and you see what a beautiful landscape has been created here again i thought i’d just show it to you because you can use the same ideas for doing your pinging plantings so nothing is new nothing is new every culture has its own way of interpreting the way plants are displayed and this is how you would find a conifer growing in the mountains in switzerland so i hope this gives you inspiration for doing some of the things that you can create with bonsai as well this is a vast massive landscape and each of these little crevices have been made by the spaces left between the rocks so the pockets of soil or gravel are used for planting these different plants look at that beautiful plant it’s some sort of i don’t know what plant this is there you are that’s the name globular ribbons from the pyrenees so these are plants that grow in the pyrenees look at it so beautiful there’s another one absolutely stunning so if you’ve never been to a wesley that’s the place to come so that one is spicier abs little gem so it’s a dwarf spruce called little gem very popular for making very small mommy trees in bonsai so just getting carried away looking at these beautiful little trees and i’ve just spotted a hinoki cypress believe it or not look at this one this one is chemistry object leprechaun so this is a very raw form of hinoki cyprus i come here so often but i’d never take notice of this look at that lovely paving lovely paving by putting these slates on edge that’s some sort of mugo pine i think i can’t see the label and the saxophrage so many types of saxifraga they’re lovely alpine plants and of course our bonsai people use a lot of these things for their accent plantings so they all make beautiful accents so that was a lovely day we only spent about two and a half hours here at wesley and we’ve managed to achieve so much i can’t get away from the place and look at this just ordering roof tiles laid on edge and in between the edges pockets of gravel and sexy fridge grown in between so this gives you ideas of how you can do your bonsai these are the autumn flowering alpines [Music] look at that [Music] hypoxis [Music] so [Music] so with that i will sign off another excellence honestly the more i look the more i want to hang around oh gosh [Music] you

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