I’ve been waiting a long time to share the progress on one of my black pines, and now is a great time for it!
Let’s start with the back story. In 1993 – by coincidence it’s the year I started growing bonsai – Kathy Shaner started a batch of black pines from seed that ended up at Lone Pine Gardens in Sebastopol, California.
Lone Pine took care of these trees until the early 2000s when Boon Manakitivipart acquired the whole batch. I was in charge of the digging, maybe 20-25 trees altogether, with help from another Boon student named Pak. Boon temporarily potted the trees as they came out of the ground.
After two days of digging, Boon and I spent the next three days carefully replanting all of the pines into growing containers. When we were done, I got to choose one of these trees to take home and develop.
The first photo I have of the tree is undated. It’s likely from the early 2000s.
Field-grown black pine, early 2000s
I didn’t take many photos in the next few years, so we’ll skip to 2009.
2009 – grafting in progress
The jump between photos is dramatic! I’d removed most of the large sacrifice branches, decandled a few times, and started grafting the future branches I’d use to create the final silhouette.
The grafting continued the next year.
2010 – more grafting
Some of the grafts took and others didn’t. The grafts I most wanted to take – the trunk grafts midway between the upper and lower branches – never did, so I made do with what I had.
From here the main work was building density – decandling, plucking, and pruning.
Progress could have been much faster during these years, but I didn’t take the time to wire the branches and cut back leggy branches on a regular basis.
I did, however, develop enough branches to form the crown at which point I reduced the trunk and finally saw the tree at what would become the final height of approximately 18″.
Reducing the trunk
Now that we can see the basic outline of the tree, we’ll pick up the rest of the story next week.
News & Updates
There are lots of fun events are on the horizon:
- The Bay Area Bonsai Associates are hosting their annual exhibit on January 14-15 at the Lakeside Garden Center in Oakland, CA. The show opens at 4:00 p.m. on the 14th with a demo/presentation (by me) at 6:30 p.m. Sunday hours are 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
- There’s still space for the Shohin School’s Winter Seminar in Portland, Oregon on January 28-29. Learn more on the Shohin School website.
- The California Shohin Seminar will be held at the Mission de Oro in Santa Nella, California, on February 3-5. I’ll be vending, presenting, and leading a workshop at the event. Learn more at the California Shohin Seminar website.
- The Bonsai Garden at Lake Merritt’s annual Mammoth Fundraiser will be held at the Lakeside Garden Center on February 18-19. A huge auction kicks off on Saturday followed by a day of vendors and community tree sales on Sunday. The event is a fundraiser for the BGLM – learn more about it here.
And finally, for those getting ready for the coming repotting season, small and medium akadama is in stock now on the Bonsai Tonight Online Store.
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