Welcome to All in One Bonsa

Bitten by the Bug

Welcome to All in One Bonsai...a blog that aims to remind me of what I have forgotten. Over the years I have been finding out as much as I can about the art of bonsai. I hope the information in this blog will shed some light to the beginning bonsai enthusiast out there.

I saw some bonsai trees at a corner market one night in Taipei and asked the guy if he was willing to teach me how to create these miniature trees. He directed me to a night school where all the instruction was in Chinese. My Chinese ability is very ordinary at the least so although I was learning bits and pieces, I really wasn't getting all I wanted from the course. The best parts were when the teacher would start pruning a beautiful tree or when he showed us how to repot a bonsai. The mystery was still out there but my interest wasn't waning, if anything it fueled my motivation to find out more. And so I did.

Let the adventure begin...

Recently I have discovered the joy of pottery. Bonsai and pottery are close friends so it was only a matter of time before I was introduced to her. Welcome to All in One Bonsai...and pottery.

Feel free to visit my site where you can purchase some of my handmade pottery. Quite a few pieces have been wood fired as it is the prefered method here in Taiwan:

Esty Shop: AllinoneCeramics

Thursday, 7 August 2014

Bonsai Nurseries in Taiwan

An old Favourite 

It's nearing the end of Summer here in Taiwan but the temperatures remain hot.  My summer vacation is also coming to a close so I jumped at the chance to visit one of my favourite bonsai nurseries in Taiwan.  The simple fact that it is so large, neat and full of cheap bonsai stock are the reasons I like it so much.  The people working there are also friendly and willing to discuss growing techniques provided you drink their tea!  The owners grow all their trees in a huge area of land and develop each and every tree.  I always buy some to add to my collection.  Please enjoy some photos.  

You can buy trees in different stages of development.

The majority of trees for sale are Junipers, Pine, Ficus, Boxwood, and Cherry.

Take your pick!

Some larger trees are also scattered throughout the yard.

A small forest.

Cascading junipers trees - planted with a small rock in each pot.

A few of the older, more developed trees.

Our next stop was an hour away at a small nursery that import Japanese trees and sell them to wealthy Taiwanese customers.  
Great shari!

Rows of shohin juniper bonsai.

A gnarly old trunk!

The trunk has been developed - now let the foliage grow!

Tree art.

I really liked this literati style pine.  The bark was great!

The next five pictures are of shohin bonsai - all Japanese Junipers.

A nice forest planting.

This particular tree was purchased from Kimura's nursery - the famous Japanese bonsai artist.

I love the trunk.

A nice maple tree.
My artistic shot of moss growing on the wooden benches.

A solid fellow.

This particular tree has never been wired.  It has been shaped only by pruning branches over many years.


Another nice maple.

An old azalea tree.

Hope you enjoyed these pictures.  Whenever I visit other bonsai nurseries around Taiwan I will post pictures for all bonsai enthusiasts out there around the world.

Please visit my online pottery shop at AllinoneCeramics for handmade ceramic pieces.

Wednesday, 6 August 2014

New Leaders

Go Up to Go Down

One of the major goals when developing a bonsai tree is to create taper.  Taper is the key to a bonsai looking older than its years.  If we allowed the tree to grow freely and unrestrained the tree would become too tall, the top branch which receives the majority of the sunlight will continue to grow straight up.  This kind of tree growth is not conducive to bonsai development.  *However, if you still want to thicken up your trunk, let the top branch grow wild!

To create taper, you must remove the leading branch so the tree becomes more compact.  A new leader, a thinner branch, will grow, thus creating the taper that you need.  You can also cut just above a thinner side branch which can then become the new leader, or apex.  You may need to wire this 'side' branch upwards.

  In the picture below you see the leading branch growing up towards the sunlight.  This branch is allowed to grow for a certain time and then it is cut at its base.  The smaller branches below it, will then become the new top of the bonsai.  The reason this branch is still on this pine tree is because the smaller branches below it are not thick enough just yet.  By letting the top branch grow strongly, the thinner branches, which will become the new top, are allowed to become thicker.  On this tree, the base of the trunk is quite thick and at this stage those smaller top branches are a little too thin.  If you cut the top branch now, yes you will have taper but it will look too drastic.  Timing when you cut the leader will ultimately be up to you and what you believe looks aesthetically pleasing.  

Black Pine in development
Below are more examples of cutting the leading branches to develop a more compact tree.  

In this example the leader is cut above a side branch.  This side branch then became the new top.  More interesting movement was also achieved by this trunk chop.

The same tree.  It will take some time for the wound to heal and callous over.  Apply cut paste to speed up the healing process.

When you first cut, leave a stub.  This is the safer way and over time you can gradually cut more wood away creating a more natural tapered look.

The cambium layers will eventually cover the whole cut area.

A new leader chosen.  Because of this cut the tree becomes a lot more compact and tapered.
You can also try this technique with side branches as well.  

Again, the idea is to develop thinner branches in the upper part of your tree - thicker at the base, thinner at the top - TAPER.   But before you can do that, allow some branches to grow freely and then cut!  Before you cut, look closely and find the new branch.
I hope this pruning technique will help you develop a more compacted bonsai tree that will look as if it was 100 years old.