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

Sunday, 19 June 2016

The Passage of Time

Time is a crucial factor in any bonsai story.  Time is essential..for branches to grow, leaves to sprout, roots to take hold, recovery to occur, for bark to age, for the seasons to cycle.

It is very tempting to do too much with your bonsai, especially when you just start out.  I remember wanting a nice looking tree immediately and didn't really know how the tree was going to grow.  I would wire too tightly, cut and pinch new growth until I killed the tree.  I learned that I needed to befriend time.  Curb that enthusiasm.

Season after season you can watch what happens to your trees and you can learn.  Some trees will die, some will grow sparsely, some will grow out of control.  Know what each season brings is also worthy knowledge.

This purpose of this post is to encourage you to take photos of your trees from season to season...just to amuse yourself.  When you compare your photos you will gain confidence but most importantly a greater understanding of each tree's growth.  This knowledge will guide you when you are faced with other trees that you buy.  You can then begin buying trees that you can visualize having potential to become a good looking bonsai tree in the future.

This tree was collected from a mountain in Taiwan that was growing on some land where we grow trees on.  The tree was collected in a February Winter of 2015.

After some trimming and careful wiring this is the tree in June 2016.  16 months later.
This ficus was involved in an air layer in 2013.  The layered section became another tree and this is the mother tree.  A new leader was given time to grow.

I added some wire into the new leader in the beginning of 2015.  I wanted to create some movement into the new top part of the trunk.

This is the tree in June 2016.  I also wired up the right branch in 2015.  A nice side branch grew out from the left side and right.  I now need to concentrate on the apex.  I let the apex grow out of control because the tree needed taper.

This tree was given to me by a New Zealand friend who left Taiwan for his homeland.  The branches were long and leggy so I wanted to drastically reduce the height.  There is a side branch growing down the bottom...see it?  It's on the right side. I removed everything except this branch.  It was to become the new apex.  I did this in 2014.

I then did some trunk wiring and waited for some side branches to grow.  You can see cut paste where the larger truck was removed.  The cut paste helps keep moisture trapped in this area.

A few months later we have some branches and more leaves.  This tree is a bougainvillea and I'm not so sure if these trees are suited for a small bonsai.  The leaves are quite large but once more branches begin to divide, the leaves should become smaller.  The tree only has a certain about of energy.  If it has to supply this limited energy to more branches it makes sense that the leaves will be smaller as a result.
I also reduced the size of the bulge where the truck was originally removed.  I then added more cut paste.

This is the tree in June 2016.  A work in progress.

This Chines Elm was also given to me by the same friend in June 2014.   I wanted to play around with it to see what would happen. 
After only wiring two branches and some clip and grow work this is the tree two years later.  Elms are tough and grow so quickly.

I bought this tree, which was originally a much taller tree, 3 years ago.  I immediately made it shorter and left the top part a jin (dead wood).  This picture was taken a year after I bought it.

A year later it has grown well.  I still need to refine this tree and begin creating distinctive pads of foliage.  If I don't do this the inner branches will not receive any sunlight and begin weakening and then that will be the end of them.

This tree featured in another post.  It took me a while to work out what to do with it. 

I see the trunk!
I did this initial work in November 2015.
June 19th 2016 - 7 months later.  I will let it grow a little wild and then refine.  It is important to let your beginning trees grow a little out there.  It adds vigor to the tree and they become healthier to work on later.  Again try not to clip, pinch, wire every thin branch, prune too much until you know the tree is in a good state.  You will eliminate your death toll this way.

This guy was bought 3 years ago and I left it for about a year before I got around to doing anything with it.  It had a twisty trunk and I wasn't really sure what to do.

On February 20th, 2015 I decided to give it a go.  I wrapped my old shorts, that I cut up, around the tree.  This protected it during the bending process.  I then fanned out the branches so as to catch as much sunlight as possible.  This aided in the branches filling out with new growth.
June 19th, 2016.  16 months later.
I bought a small cutting that had a few branches growing.  I don't remember what it originally looked like.  However, this is the result of some messing around in September 23rd, 2014. 
Filled out a little a few months later.

Here we go - September 31st, 2015.  You see the scissors resting in contemplation.  I think I did minor pruning on this day. 

The branch to the left was annoying me.  Your tree shouldn't have too many opposing branches.  You must have a theme and your eyes cannot be darting to the left and right in a kind of confusion. I need to clean up the top part so it doesn't look too much like a ball of fluff.  By clean up I mean cut a few smaller branches to create more space.  The top section of any tree will always grow more vigorously due to receiving more sunlight.  The wire has been taken off.   June 19th, 2016.

September 1st, 2017  Here we are developing three distinctive pads of foliage.
This bad boy was grown from a cutting 3 years ago.  The cutting was bought for 30 cents and was the size of a weak pencil.  I planted 70 of them on a mountain in Taiwan.  The land was leased to us for a hobby interest.  I took this photo on the 12th July, 2015 after bring her back to my rooftop apartment.

I think I am most proud of this tree more than any other.  I know it has a boring trunk (not many bends) but I think it looks like a tree that has age.  When I first started learning about bonsai I wanted to know all the stages involved.  I wanted to be able to grow and train a tree from something that looks like a twig to something that resembles a bonsai tree.  It is a simple tree but I feel like I have accomplished a goal of mine.  Now I have to keep it alive!

Time doesn't stand still for anyone.  Catch these moments before you forget the journey.

Take care out there!