Turning Four Problem Pines into Bonsai
Right we’re into the first week in april and things never stop at herons. I spent literally two days d wiring, this old juniper, which appears in my first book in subsequent books and i’m trying to restyle this tree.
So that’s kept for another another day. Now what i have for you today are these pines, and this is like a magazine. I will do quickly for you, because many of these trees are typical trees. I wouldn’t say that you would find in the nursery.
These trees have been partly trained and i leave them here on the nursery, because there are people who come on my workshops and they like to buy stuff like this. So if you take a panoramic view of all the trees, they are all quite challenging trees.
If i might say this is a type of mugo pine, let’s see what we can do with it. You know i mean people would just throw that away and that’s another one of the same. So these are all typical sort of trees that you would be able to get hold of, and you wouldn’t have a clue as to where to start.
But for most of you, who know me by no now will know that anything tall usually ends up as a literary, because that is how pines are used, and invariably, i would say, i think they would all probably end up as neutron.
Let’S see, i’m not going to do a race, but let’s see what we can do with each of these trees, so this is in real time, nothing fake. So this tree has been grown in this pot for a long time. So, let’s take it out and in fact there’s a silver birch seedling in here.
So without further ado, i will save this silver birch after i’ve rewired the trigger okay. Now, looking at this tree, the line is quite interesting, quite quite interesting tree and we just leave these to grow and, like wine, the older they get the more interesting they become.
As we say, nothing is ever wasted here. Many people think that these are just discarded. Trees are not they’re waiting to be worked on. Okay, so let’s turn the tree on different angles to see how we can deal with it.
This is an instance, i would say where simply wiring, all the branches will make it interesting. I’M not sure if i want to wire the trunk, it seems to be, i think, a bit much if i were to try to wire.
Let’S see if we can pop it this way, putting it at this angle might work just pop it into let’s a [ Music ]. The angle of planting of most bonsai are critical to the design. Simply by putting it at a slightly different angle.
You get a different looking tree just trying to see. If what angle i can get the tree. Okay, what i will do in fact is simply wire everything inside and once it’s wired we will bend the branches to see what comes from it.
So, let’s begin by doing that, so i’m going to wire using the two branch principle branches in pairs and the one i’m using here is three and a half mil water. This is an aluminium wire. If it was copper wire, you would probably get away with like two mil wire.
Copper wires very hard. I did use copper wire this morning, but it is very painful and spiteful on the hands. [ Music ] see these trees are sold and they’re covered in cones. I’M not going to show you the entire wiring process, because it might bore you to tears.
I will just start the wiring. What i’m doing is literally wiring every single branch, very often on my classes. This is what i advise people to do simply by wiring. Every single branch in sight and then once once it’s wired, we will place the branches in the desired position and you’ll be surprised what you get.
Okay, i’m not going to cut anything. I always like to talk about the weather, because in england the weather is so important that we’re always talking about the weather. Two weeks ago we had temperatures of 20 degrees, 21 degrees, and then last week the weather turned cold.
We had hard frost every morning and the day temperatures were only like five degrees at most seven degrees. Now today i believe it’s like 12 or 13 degrees, but next week it’s going to get cold again, so whether it’s so changeable when it comes to wiring, always experiment with the greater wire that is needed to bend the branches that you want to bend no hard And fast rule you just got to try it.
This buckle pine because it’s so old, i dare say the boxes are very, very stiff, [, Music ]. So that’s the first pair of branches done. That means i wired four branches. Now, let’s carry on wiring some more so without me having to say it, it’s the two branch principle every time, so i’m wiring these two branches see except for some dead stubs.
I haven’t cut anything off yet. So if i am to make a literary, then the literati style needs very, very few branches, and if it’s going to be a literary then this is going to be a bit too much already looking nice.
So there’s three pieces of wire used so far, just three and because this is quite substantial wire, i don’t have to put double coil of wire. It’S holding extremely well bit confusing there, so this is going to be the first cut.
If i’m going to do a literacy, i don’t need this. Probably i don’t even need this. We don’t need this a little more wiring and we should be there warning the pads, [ Music, ] and then the rest is just salting the pads off.
Let’S find the right grain of water, so this is what i mean you see these are sprouting up. I need to flatten it not really flatten it. You can do a zigzag to shorten the branch like so so all these will be shortened and made into cuts, even though so now this is shooting up like that.
So what do i do? I still use the two branch principle by wiring to an existing wired branch and then taking it up to this one and then taking it this side, so keeping them all flat like that. These should also be flattened.
So i’m now using one and a half mil water for thin branches like this one in half is usually okay, one and a half to one. So that’s flattened, this should be flattened, go, but i’m not going to take a valuable time, because i still have quite a few pairs of branches to wire that should be wide there and this should be flattened.
So you get the idea so tall and lanky pines like this. I think there is usually only one solution, literally as we say, literati is a refined test, not everyone likes literati, but it’s a very sophisticated style, sophisticated state.
Now let me just point out: if you can home in with the camera, can you see these little buds there? There are dormant bugs which are going to break so who says: pines don’t put back on old wood, so that’s breaking back on really old wood.
All over the trees breaking back on old wood, so a few more, these are all going to be wired. Probably i should stop uh filming because i just want to do it and then show you, because we’ve got four trees to do now.
This is a rather tricky tree, another of these specialist mugo pines and uh josh. The cameraman has just pointed out that it’s a grafted tree, so it’s some unusual mugo, i’m not sure if i know the name well, what do you do with this? Okay, you may think literacy, but it’s inverted corn doesn’t quite uh.
You know blend with the literary type image. I need to bring a branch down here that can go there quite a few branches, maybe too many branches. So you have to deal with that problem. Uh – and that is an ugly thing – you see – that’s a thick stub there, so that looks odd over there.
So i have to do something to that now, because it’s up there and i can’t bring it down easily, i will try splitting it. So let me apply that broad splitter to this tree, but i’m splitting the trunk not to be able to bend it.
I’M going to wrench it out to see if i can make the branch hang down more easily. Let’S see what we can do. Okay, bit of a dangerous thing to do, there’s no going back now should make it look wet, let’s see so [ Music ].
So i’m just experimenting. I don’t know what the outcome will be. This is the fun part it’s almost like playing russian roulette. Maybe if i did that it might work that might work plant the tree at an angle going through more at that angle and that way, because it was very hard to bend that now it is bendable, i’m just cleaning the stub.
So i don’t know what to do with this, because i’m in a quandary as to whether i should split it, some more uh. So these you remember, i did a splitting of a black black phone. Wasn’T a slow with that cleaver that i use for cleaving meat, and this is a little vegetable knife also used.
I make sure i disinfect it when i use it for my food, but let’s see if i can cleave it a little more. The last time i used the cleaver i banged, the top so much, i damaged the cable. Okay, it’s gone quite a bit.
Okay, we’ve got to be careful, don’t be too enthusiastic. Okay. Now let me see what i can do so this is just experimenting. I don’t have any design in mind. All i know is that is a problem on that side.
Okay, that’s as far as i take it. Okay, i’ve opened it out [ Music ], so i’m just going to prop it up with a bit of wire. I don’t have to stand back and have a look well. If it doesn’t work, i will just tie it back and i’ve lost.
Nothing is, is seal itself again. I think that may be the best answer. You know that doesn’t do anything. It’S going to be too thin anyway, so that didn’t work. So let’s go back to square one back to square one, not to worry it’s worth a try.
If you don’t try you don’t uh, have the fun of experimenting. Part of the fun of bonsai is to keep experimenting like anything. If you experiment and go a bit adventurous. Life is more interesting okay, so we decided that that’s not going to work so we’ll wire that back up, so what i will do, i will use some thick wire and do some wiring.
Now the wiring i’m going to do will be a bit different. Okay. Now i’m going to put wire on this, but rather than mark the trunk, i’m going to protect it with inner tube of a bicycle tire. So, as some of you know, i used to be a very keen cyclist.
I still have about three bicycles, towed away and the puncture tires i use like this, so i’m going to wrap it around there and you see in a minute what i’m going to do, rather than while the two branches like that, i’m going to take the wire From here, so i’m going to give some reinforcement.
This is all improvisation, it’s not in the textbook, certainly not in the textbook. Okay, that should hold i’m doing a bit of a naughty i’m not using too broad’s principle. How can i okay, i’m going to okay i’ll? Do something else? Okay, you see some improvisation in a minute.
Okay, i’m going to take this wall down below okay, so i’m terminating the y. By doing that, okay, it works. It works. That’S a lot of hard work that is still an ugly branch. I think i will bite the bullet and get rid of it.
There’S a lot going on here as well too much. This is what we call downright improvisation, okay, okay, i’m just wiring, and then i will bend the trunk and see what happens. This is just going to be like a free form, experimentation.
What shall i use this for i’m going to go a bit adventurous, use thicker. One thing: why i’m just going to be wasting time? Okay, so, but this is not like trying to do circus tricks where there’s always a warning, you know it can be dangerous, don’t try at home, you can try it at home, except that if you use the cleaver make sure you don’t cut your hand, [ Music, ] now keep trying and improvising [ Music ].
I don’t usually wire with a coil. This is where i wasn’t sure how much water i needed – [ Music ]. Ah it bent it. That’S painted looking promising. So what i showed you just now was, if you sometimes use very thick wire, you can create bends which would otherwise be impossible to create so do experiment sometimes with tick-a-wire.
I don’t think i need that somehow take that off now, there’s so many little branches there. Let’S take some of the congestion out, so i take the middle one out, there’s spacing between two remaining branches, so that gives it space.
So it won’t look so congested this very thick one i’ll take out hard to bend. So, let’s rationalize that this is sprouting upwards. Take that out – and this is hanging down with that – take that out so i’ve taken three or four out of three, so i can have a more presentable or interesting looking pad.
In fact, i think i can take this one out as well. You see how i’ve rationalized it so that pad looks very nice like this okay, so let’s wire those up. So this is a situation where, if you have a lot of material or material that is not very valuable, you can experiment and play with it and see what happens.
Okay, i wasted a bit of wire. What sort i hate wasting wire. I always always try to use exact amount of wire without having to waste because otherwise it just gets dumped and then the end. I will just curl over like that.
That’S good! Now this branch on its own. I will link it to an existing wired branch to give the anchor and then wire it out to this, and then we’ve got these three amazing amount of bud back. I’Ve got on this tree.
Wherever i look, i find a lot of dolmen buds and then one more [ Music ]. So i think i have probably done justice to this tree. We got another literary, an experiment that didn’t work. I will repair that and that’s not a bad looking tree.
So you’ve got two interesting literatures. I will show you after i’ve, put them into uh, appropriate literary type pots and then show you what it looks like. So that’s number two done. Okay, let’s go! This is number three.
The other two are mugo pines. This is one of the many governances that we have on the nursery and this bouvonnensis came to me originally as a young graft, which was barely pencil thick newly grafted tree, and it’s been growing for the last 15 years, 15 years.
Believe it or not – and it’s already become that thick the craft is very good – it’s grafted over there, so it’s got a low branch. So what would you do with this? This? If i might say so, and if you’re thinking in your mind, you must be trying to puzzle out or out, think me what is peter chan going to do with this one? This on the surface seems to be a simple tree.
You’Ve got an interest fairly interesting trunk and you’ve got one branch two by three branch: all these branches seem to be in the right place, but the trunk is too thin if we were to make a bonsai we’ll probably have to cut that off and make the Tree this high only this side without that seems a waste, and i don’t want to keep making this varieties.
You know i’ve got enough literary. So what can i do so? I’M trying to wreck my brain to see if it would really make a nice literary what if i spit the trunk and maybe to bend it, but because it’s so sparse it is a problem.
It’S a healthy tree! Look at the lovely mycelium in this root ball. Beautiful mycelium, so the thing is growing well uh and i don’t think a cascade somehow would work. Even a semi cascade might not work so well.
You need more curve there and a nice head over here. It is possible, but not ideal, no idea, cascading down that work possible. You could do like a circular head and then bend this more. It’S going to be quite a job to bend.
It might snap so in formula upright tree possible body to take yonks before this trunk thickens. So the trunk is not that thick cascade is not appropriate. Literature is possible, but who wants more literally or got enough literary? So that only leaves me with one solution, which is to try and do a raft raft is usually made with pines with junipers, not usually with pines, because pine summer seems quite a difficult subject to work with.
So let me see if i did a rough. I can make this as a tree. That is a tree. This is a tree and if i bend this back, i can get it in as a tree. So let me reduce the root ball. Stay there. Take a close look, i’m going to reduce the root ball.
So it fits nicely in the trim whenever we do wraps, we always look to the long term. It’S not a short-term thing, so i’m going to reduce the root ball by half and pines, don’t usually root further up.
If they don’t air there as it were, if it was a juniper, you could get roots underneath it with a fine. You want so it will forever in a day, be just a straight trunk, but without roots coming out from it.
But before we do anything else, we will probably need to put some wires to tie the tree in so [ Applause, ], okay, so we’re going to pass some wire through the holes, so the wires here just to keep the tree anchored to the pot.
If i didn’t do it, the tree might pop out or get pulled out accidentally. So it’s not often i drew a raft, but this seems to be a good situation, good example for raft. So i got that in the pot and because i want to bend this part back, i think i may have to split the trunk, we’re going to split the trunk, but for the wrong reason: okay, okay and split it some more! That’S where you have to keep trying trial and error: oops, [, Music, ], okay, so yep, i’m afraid that the big branch might break.
So i could be extra careful, i’m trying to join it up again, some more! Oh! Let’S do this! It’S getting very dangerous! I don’t want to kill this part: [ Music ], you [, Music, ], all right. Let’S see, i need to join this back.
Let the trick off this way, but it’s not in the right finish: [, Music ]. I’Ve decided that i should really wire the branches. First, so that i can bend the tree upwards because once it’s in the pot, it won’t be so easy to put the wire on so, let’s wire it like, you would wire any other bonsai project and we will use it to make like a one-sided tree.
So so that is one tree up and this one could be another tree coming up, so i’ve used quite thick wire. Otherwise i could not bend the trees up. I want to be careful not to snap, and then we will wire some more.
We certainly won’t get an instant bonsai at the end of this exercise, but you can see the future direction of this work and then one more [, Music ]. So can you see what i meant by one-sided tree? All the bloods are facing that way: [ Music ].
So luckily these pines are quite pliable, quite flexible, so they’re not breaking. We can position the trees as well uh, so you can see. We’Ve got one two three four five trees, so these are going to be wired up i’ll, try and make it look as presentable as possible.
As i said, it’s certainly not the finished work, because i want to leave some sacrificial branches on this as well to thicken them up taking the trunks up. Okay, so it’s improvising all the time, i’m just improvising.
I haven’t rehearsed this at all, even if i were to practice it. You know the next time i did a similar thing. This situation wouldn’t be exactly as we find here, so you have to improvise yet again, so i’m not wiring the branches and the trunks to make it more visible as a tree.
So i will carry on doing the wiring, i’m determined to make it look fairly, presentable and recognizable as a forest overnight. This is such a lovely pine. You see how small the needles are. The needles are almost like the needles of a spruce by sear, dwarf alberta, and yet it’s spruce just a two needle pine.
Unfortunately, it’s one of those species that is not available at garden, centers and nurseries, because it’s not a popular tree for the common gardener. They just want these shrubs and plants that have purple flowers, red flowers, but anything which is green is no longer fashionable.
So, for that reason, these dwarf conifers, which they come into the category of conifers, are not often sold at garden, centers and nurseries, which is a great shame. I remember in the 80s up to the 1980s dwarf corners conference was still quite popular as garden plants.
I’M leaving this certainly as a sacrificial to thicken that trunk, but i will wire some of these to make the tree look more recognizable. Some of the youtube followers ask: can you do something with monkey puzzle tree now that is an ever so difficult subject to tackle monkey puzzle tree? That is what we call the bane or the curse of all bonzai practitioners very, very difficult to do anything with multiples.
Now, one day they call it a puzzle, isn’t it even a monkey would find it a puzzle to climb the tree. So i’ve got that far. So here’s a raft or a forest with five trees, and you can see one two three four five.
These are going to be sacrificial branches, because i want to thicken this part of the trunk, so i’m leaving this i’ll leave it for one or two years and see if it thickens that meanwhile, you’ve got five trees, which are quite visible and obvious as trees and All i’ve got to now do is to tie the whole thing down so that it doesn’t escape, and then i will fill with soil and there you have it.
In fact, i will fill it with salt and then i’ll take another shot. So we now come to tree number, four, which is also abundances. You see, i have so many on the nursery quite incredible, so this one is a problem tree.
It’S been a problem tree for quite a while, and it’s laying around on the nursery and people are always scared of it, because it’s got these three very gangly trunks and uh. I know i could use two, but i don’t think i could use three and this like a catapult like that, so that is ugly.
What do you do with that? Uh? Look at it from every possible side. Even a cascade would be difficult, usually a cascade as a head and then a tail that could possibly work but a bit weird again. You can do a raft again.
You could do a raft if you wanted to tall tree with some small ones. That is possible, but do we want to do a rock? What is nice about this tree is the trunk line. This part is very beautiful. This is a beautiful line: curvy liner, all natural – it’s never been wide in its life, but that line is so uh sinuous and interesting, crying out.
For literally i know i don’t have enough literatures, because a lot of my literature sell very quickly and if i continue to leave this branch here, it’ll cause inverse taper there. You can call the inverse taper here as well.
You could do a little gin there. What a pity that pines don’t earlier, i always keep saying that pines don’t earlier, and one or two american friends always tell me that they do live, but from my experience i’ve learned from times to earlier easily.
So sometimes, however nice the branches may appear to you, you have to take the decision. All the famous pete’s chan saying bite the bullet so bite. The bullet means probably getting rid of these two before i cut it off.
If i were to use this as the trunk, that is also possible, but it’s very straight here. So that’s not very interesting, so i still come back to this, because all that is interesting. All that is very interesting that would be approaching trying out for neutrality.
I couldn’t do much with that. So, however much i want to keep these two, there comes a point. You have to cut it off. This is what people find very difficult to do now, i’m going to make a bit of gin there.
So i make a sloping, cut, remind you how it’s done come and see. So we do a sloping cut away from the trunk like that, and that will enable me to tear the branch break it and that’s how you initiate the gin foreign so try to keep your gins short, so cut halfway or third and then rip rip it off.
Like that, so that’s how you make the gin [ Music, ] and then the gin pliers you can use to rip. The thing won’t hurt. If you take a bit of the bark off and then you can refine it later, [, Music, ], [, Music, ] so and the rest is just wiring.
Okay. I won’t show too much of that, because this is a fairly simple one. So i’m just going to wire the top. You notice that we have all these turntables with different heights and uh. I find them very useful because every situation is different: [ Music ].
So if you see many turntables hanging around, there is a purpose for that. I’M using, i think this is three and a half mil quite thick. You could have even used four i’m going to take this to the top, because i’m going to wrap double coil around the top [ Music ].
This is in the word. This isn’t the way foreign, i think, by the time you finish watching many of my pine videos. You will have learned quite a lot about literarity. The reason why we do so many literatures is because the scots pines or most of the scots points, i’m not saying all even the bobanensis they tend to lend themselves to literary.
The japanese white pine is more of a squat pine with low branches, so the conventional shapes are more easily achievable with the white pine, japanese, five needle pine. I don’t know how the editor is going to use this footage, because there’s a lot of minutes in here.
So so so the rest is refining the wiring, which i won’t show because already there’s a lot of video time here. So i’m just going to refine the wiring and then i’ll show it to you again: [ Music ]. So after about four or five hours work, we’ve completed the four pines and i’ll just show you it’s a bit of a mess is how my workshop looks like and i’m going to show them to you individually, so that you can get a better view of each Of the trees, the wiring, the detail, wiring of all the small branches, that’s what takes time, but the actual design and decision making as to what shape it should be.
That is what is done in an instant. You will find that, as you do more, you will get more used to it. So don’t despair. It will come now, i’m going to just turn the camera off and focus on each of the trees in turn.
So this is the first of the mugo pines. You may remember, i tried to split it, to bring the branch lure down, but that didn’t work, so i uh covered it up again using a rubber inner tire from the cycle, and i put a double coil of wire and bent that branch down.
So we’ve got a classic literati shape here, looking at it from different angles and of course the beauty of the literary is in the trunk line. If the trunk line is fine, then the literati works. Seeing it on camera is not quite the same as seeing it in real life, but you get an impression of what it is put it in one of our new chinese spots that suits the literary okay.
So, let’s move on to the next one. Now this is the second literarity also with a slender trunk. This tree must be every bit about 60 centimeter tall, and the trunk line is very, very interesting, so the literati is defined really by the beauty of the trunk line and sparse foliage.
Quite a few pads that have been wired. You can see some of the detail there and i put it in an in curved round pot, which also is a very nice literary type pot. So that is the second one. Now this third literary, this has been done with the bhuvanensis and if you remember it had two additional long, gangly branches which were thicker and larger than the main trunk, but we decided to get rid of it and we created short gins instead because it didn’t work.
We can’t be too greedy, and this is how the tree has turned out. The line is quite interesting. You can still play around with the apex line, but this is again what we call a classic literati shape. This is the front it recedes and then comes back again.
If i can just show you. This is a side view, and this is the back view, so that is the third literacy made from bouvernensis point. I’M sure those of you who live in countries where you get other types of pine, i believe in america there’s so many types of pine jack, pine red pine.
I don’t know what varieties you have, but they are all very useful for making shapes, especially literature, things that don’t have low branches lend themselves to literary. So that is the third project.
Now we will come to the last one, so the last project was also with a bouvenances pine, and this had many branches, but it had some very low, thin branches and just to be different, we decided that the best solution for that one was to make a Raft, i do make rafts with uh pine trees, especially the bouvernances pine.
So with those thin branches i was able to get five discernible trunks. So that is one trunk. This one in the front is another trunk. That’S another trunk, that’s another trunk! So we’ve got five trees from the branches and for the future.
I can even use this branch, which has been grown as a sacrificial over here, and that could become another tree and in the future. I could use this slow branch, bring it back on itself and make another little tree with that one.
So i’m not cutting it off. So while it serves as a sacrificial, i can bend it back and add two more trees to it for the future. So that is our view of the raft raft is very interesting if you’ve never tried making a raft do have a goal.
This is the other side, it looks nice from every side and again the video or the photograph doesn’t do it justice in real life. It looks much more interesting, so these are just ideas for you, so i’ve got a five tree forest from a single tree with pine pines are not often used as forests, but if they are made well, they do look nice.
So i can’t wait to refine this tree and once the thing has got more established, i don’t expect it to root from the trunk, but it can then go in a long oval pot, mica pot or ceramic pot, and it will look a very credible forest group.
So there you are uh there. You are these four different pines, four different challenging subjects, but everything can be used for bonsai, so i hope you’ve enjoyed this uh different episode. Thank you very much.
[ Music ]. You
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