Create Bonsai from Potentilla & Berberis Shrub

I take an ordinary Portentilla shrub and arrange the branches and plant it in a plastic pot to create a bonsai. I do the same with a Berbers tree.

What i have here are ordinary nursery or garden center plants but if you choose right you can always find material that that is very suitable for making into bonsai this is a potent tiller shrub and this one is called red ace which has orange red flowers i chose it because it has a nice trunk pot and tiller as a shrub don’t often produce nice trunk they take very long to produce a decent trunk they usually have multiple trunks and the multiple trunks you can’t do much with it because they don’t look tree like but on the order occasion that you can find plants that have a single trunk like this one it is virtually ready-made bonsai so what do i do with these it is so nice it’s leaning in absolutely the right way all i’m going to do is arrange the branches so that i get a nice conical shape they will probably lose all the flowers it flowered only a month ago so pretty i didn’t do it when it was in flow otherwise it would have been spectacular but let’s wire the branches to see what we get so i’m literally wiring all the branches in pairs very often bonsai is just about wiring and creating the shape nothing more but having the vision to see the end product is part of the success that comes with bonsai you’ve got to visualize and this tree leading nicely i’m not even going to change the angle of planting this is what we call inspired nursery material because it’s a flowering shrub the beauty of this bonsai is going to be when it is in flower when it is in flower it will be absolutely spectacular those of you who remember my third book called create your own bonsai from everyday garden plants i think the cover on one of the versions of that book is a potent tiller a yellow flawed potent tiller and the publishers of that book chose to use that for the cover because it was attractive they didn’t want these hundred and two hundred year old trees as a cover they could have easily chosen that mind you publishers can do what they like with your book but they chose this humble homemade potent tiller for the cover so i hope i’ve used the correct gauge over this is one and a half millimeter wire as you do more bonsai you will soon realize what is the correct gauge of why to use there are no hard and fast rules you just got to play it by ear because different species and different age of trees have different degrees of pliability so there’s no hard and fast rule that can guide you as to what gauge of wire to use there’s a bit of a false branch there no this i don’t need this is dead i think i don’t need this so i shall keep wiring so there is a front this is the front nice that there are so many branches to choose from i think the worst scenario is if you get a tree that doesn’t have a lot of branches then you’ll be in trouble what do you do with it it’s only the trunk i don’t want to do much more i will just put it in a pot and you will soon see how nice this is she’s got a lovely root base and trees like this which don’t look very promising you can always enhance it by putting the odd little stone or rock and make it like a landscape and this is what the penjing is all about the chinese style bonsai why is it so attractive they’re nothing trees but they use beautiful little compositions which enhance the totality of the piece of art that they’re trying to create always remember that when you are making a piece of bonsai material think of creating a picture you’re not just potting up a tree you’re creating a picture if you remember that you can’t go wrong that has always stood me in good stead create a picture still too much again the pot is bigger than it needs to be it’s amazing how well they survive in much smaller volumes of soil it’s still a bit too proud so just to show you that if you get that situation don’t despair because if you see a lot of root then you can cut a lot of it off without affecting the health of the tree i’ve reduced the root ball quite considerably okay we continue to plant it at an angle beautiful what they call nebari or root base i’m not going to waste your time potting it up but there you are once it comes into flower this is going to be a beautiful tree so that is making tiller bonsai i’ve got other little interesting things you come here and i’ll show you there’s another potent tiller here look at that beautiful trunk there that’s going to make a beautiful bonsai now what have i got here these are berbers with the orange flowers let me show you what you can do with these so let’s take it out of the pot first and whenever i take them out of the pot i think there’s a little robin lurking around they’re always looking for little earthworms that come out of the pot is our permanent little friend hello so where you get trees or shrubs with interesting trunks simply revealing the trunk will create the image of the tree so i’m just going to show you what i’m going to do with this nothing sophisticated i’m just going to reveal the trunk as much as possible these little branches are broken off they got roots there i planted it nothing wasted i’ll get another little tree so i don’t waste anything so so what i’m going to do is simply prune it in a conical shape maybe one piece of wire will do the trick so it’s just about revealing the trunk i think if i open that out a little bit open this out a little bit i will use just use just for this sake of completeness i will use two pieces of wire just opening it out i think just doing that has done the trick maybe open a little more another one i think that little robin will learn quite a lot about bonsai because he’s watching me all the time so we gave the robin some touring scissors he’ll be able to make a tree and then what will we do with it let’s put it in a little pot and how easy is that the roots are almost like box roots box trees behave in the same way they have this very congested growth but if you just bother to separate the branches like so what i’ve done here i dare say these shrubs are quite old because the trunks are really thick and old for those of you who are keen gardeners did you know that that the nandina or the sacred bamboo is part of the berberis family they can also be used for bonsai there you go that didn’t take any time so ordinary shrubs like this can be used for bonsai [Music] you

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