Fall work on shishigashira maple

Hey! I’ve  tried to make a timelapse video for the first time tonight. Don’t judge, it’s poor quality so far, but I’ll make improvements on the setup and background and maybe I’ll be able to show you some more of my work soon! 🙂

Annual Quebec Bonsai Group exposition

This weekend was held our annual bonsai exposition. Good news: the Quebec Bonsai Group is expanding slowly but surely. The quality of the trees is gradually increasing, and this year’s exposition was no exception.

The following tree belongs to Brian Donnelly, and was the public’s choice winner at the Montreal bonsai exposition earlier this year. It is an absolute masterpiece, and is even more impressive in person, as the compisition is 5 foot high.

This here is another American larch. If you zoom in on the picture, you’ll see tremendous movement in the trunk. This is all natural, as the tree was collected as is on the Côte Nord region, 8 hours North of Quebec city. Part of the reason why we chose to change our exposition to the Fall season is to get those marvellous autumn colors like this bright yellow on larch needles.

This canyon/forest composition is quite impressive and still surprisingly young. I’ve had the pleasure to water Brian’s trees a few years ago, and I can attest that this group of trees progressed really rapidly to get to this point today.

Trient maples have quite the root system. They adapt very well when growing on rocks, no matter the shape. This is again an excellent example of Brian Donnelly’s talent.

Here are 2 trees from François Calovi. The resolution between the branches of the Kingsville Boxwood is quite impressive.

The deadwood at the base of this François Calovi Thuya is a stunner. When you get up close, you can literally see through it, as there are large holes in it. I got caught looking through the holes for a long time. I also love how the tree is designed. Very elegant.

This Ficus belongs to Sacha Bois. The tree took 20 years in the making I believe, and the structure of it looks quite nice at the moment.

This other Ficus was grown by Alexandre Dufour. Just by the looks of it, we can see how dense, green and healthy this tree is. Alexandre has quite a talent for understanding plant physiology, and it shows here.

The shimpaku on the 2 next picture is Sacha Bois’. The wiring job on this is just exceptional, and it reminds me of The art of bonsai Japan episode 38, with Andrew Sellman. One of my favourite episodes. This tree conquered me and many others and was among my favorites in the exposition.

This lovely Arakawa Japanese maple is the work of Alain Goulet. Beautiful composition and stunning colors. I wish I had these colors on my maple for the exposition, but living in the south of the city, my trees are still very green at the moment.

This Thuya occidentalis belongs to Martin from Drummondville. Aside from driving 1:30 to get to Quebec, a deer hit his car and severely damaged the driver side of the car, he got a flat on a tire, and the pot of one of his accent plants was broken during the exposition. I guess you can blame it on Friday the 13, and I hope you’ll come to see us again Martin!

This Japanese maple is mine. As I said before, it is still very green. I find the trunk is also quite slender.

This is a Chamaecyparis pisifera boulevard by Benoit Harvey. I would take this tree in my collection if it was available. I has a nice silouhette. 

These junipers are the result of a 3 year course with Brian Donnelly. The result here shows that we were able to get pretty decent results in 3 years, provided a good teacher!

Of course there was many more trees at the exposition, and there is many outstanding trees of which I didn’t have time to take a picture. My apologies for all trees who weren’t featured here and to you readers for the lack of info! The 2 last ones are a Trident maple from Brian Donnelly (public choice winner and the exposition) and a Jack pine by François Calovi, an absolute masterpiece. See you next week!



My bonsai garden

Hi! Last week I showed you a few trees from my bonsai garden. Since I have around 80 trees in total, here’s a few more.

On this table I put my conifer shohin. Below, you can see a Japanese yew on the left, a Japanese black pine var. Kotobuki in the middle, and an Itoigawa juniper on the right. I know, the itoigawa doesn’t look like one. I went to hard on it this spring, and now it has a lot of juvenile foliage on it.

Same picture here, but moved 1 bonsai to the left. On the left you can see a future semi-cascade Japanese black pine shohin. The project was originally started in a workshop with Yves Létourneau from bonsai enr. The project was to make a shohin black pine within 6 years. I am currently in the 4th year. I don’t think the tree will be finished in 2 years, but it’s going well now.

Below is an American Larch that was my first collected tree many years ago. It is not an outstanding tree, but I like the simplicity of it and how it is possible to do something decent with very simple material.

This one is a kiyohime Japanese maple. It has a nice trunk diameter with a nice nebari, but that’s all there is to it at the moment. I want to grow it higher and to improve its ramification, to get that tiny leaf size that we see so often on Kiyohime japanese maples.

This is a shimpaku shohin I started as a cuttings 3-4 years ago. It grew rapidly, and now I got a nice little tree with a lot of movement in it. I like this tree enough that I started many juniper cuttings this year and I plan to grow them as shohin.

Here you can see a hinoki cypress, chamaecyparis obtusa nana. I’m slowly building the ramification on this one. I will put it in a pot soon. I will eventually show the progression of this nice little tree.

This tree was sold to me as a zuisho Japanese white pine, but I think it might be a kokonoe. The branches are well placed, and now I got to improve the ramification, especially in the crown.

And finally here is my air layered Sharp’s pygmy all leafed out. Thanks for reading, see you next week, as I will start posting photos of my visit in Japan!

A few trees

Hi, so I thought I’d add a few pictures to show my trees in formation. Don’t judge, many of them still have a very long way to go before becoming nice.

The first one below is a Japanese five needle pine hagoromo. I would still like to get a lot of trunk thickening on this tree.

This one is another Japanese five needle pine, but a kokonoe this time. Just like the first one, it needs a lot of thickening. This is why you see that big sacrifice branch on the tree.

Here is a juniper, a chinese juniper ”blaauw”. I went very hard on this tree since it was a non specialized nursery tree. This is why you see a lot of juvenile foliage. As the tree grows up, this juvenile foliage will gradually be replaced by mature foliage that will look a lot nicer.

This is the japanese black pine I posted earlier. It is recovering nicely after a huge 6 foot long sacrifice branch was cut in the winter.

This is a kashima Japanese maple. The trunk size satisfies me for now, so starting next spring I will defoliate it to improve ramification.

This shimapku is seen from behind, unfortunately. This is one of my first trees and I consider myself lucky it survived for so long. It is recovering now, and there is still a long way to go until I can make a nice refined tree out of this.

This is a nice European beech. On this picture, it needs a bit of thinning, but the tree’s structure is nice.

The Japanese maple below is also one of my very first tree. Some of the branches of the tree were badly placed, so this year I decided I’d start the tree from scratch and cut all of the branches. With Japanese maples, this isn’t much of a problem and the tree budded back vigourously. I will start defoliation next spring.

This is a nice kabudachi American larch. Some of the trunks are dead and contrast well with the living ones. I am currently letting it grow vigorously and will wire it next sprint.

This is a tree I like a log: a Shishigashira japanese maple. The leaf size is nice and the structure as well, but the back of the tree desperately needs some branches. This will come with time.

This is perhaps my nicest tree. I just bought it this spring. It’s a Suberosa Chinese elm. I am working on improving the ramification even more.

This is a Japanese maple I put in expositions by the past. Right now, I feel like the leaves are too big and the tree needs even more ramification.

Thanks for reading!

Shots from the bonsai at the new house

I realize I haven’t posted any pictures from my trees and it has been nearly one year since I moved here! The setup is pretty rudimentary, as we plan to move again in 4 years to a bigger house. I don’t plan to plant trees in the ground because there is not much place to do it and I wouldn’t want to leave any good material back here when we leave. Anyway, I like this simple setup, I can see my trees pretty well!








My bonsai collection







Actively searching for sekka hinoki

The title says it. I am actively trying to get my hands on a sekka hinoki cutting. They are not  available in my region, and I am very fond of this beautiful hinoki cultivar. I have seen some amazing shohin trees featured in the Kokufu-ten and Taikan-ten. Please contact me if you can sell me a cutting of this! Meanwhile, here are some pictures of the sekka hinoki I have seen in Taisho-en, Taiga Urushibata’s nursery in Shizuoka.

Spring colors on Japanese maples

I know it is late to be posting about spring colors, but better enjoy them late than never! Recently I was writing how much I love red and pink colors on Japanese maples. Here are two of my all stars on spring colors. Both have pink shades, the first one is my Beni hime Japanese maple, and the second one is Beni chidori Japanese maple. I believe my good friend Alexandre Dufour and I are the only ones in Quebec and probably in Canada to have this outstanding cultivar. I made cuttings this summer. Maybe 6 of them survived the critical first month, but I am still not sure if they will survive as Japanese maple cuttings aren’t so easy to succeed. Fingers crossed!

Autumn fertilizer

At this time of the year, heading into the winter, it is time to promote plant health over plant growth. This is why I tend to lower the nitrogen (N) component of my fertilizers at this time of the year while increasing the potassium (K) component. Nitrogen promotes protein synthesis and is particularly helpful in supporting growth of new tissues. Potassium is quite useful for maintaining osmolarity in plant cells, hence turgor pressure (keeps the plant from wilting) and therefore promotes plant health.

On my trees I use only organic fertilizer. In the beginning of September, I use a 4-6-8 formula from actisol, which is basically hen manure. I believe this fertilizer is only available in Quebec, but any organic fertilizer with the last two digits higher than the first one will do.

Chuhin Japanese Black Pine

I recently bought this nice Japanese black pine. Let’s face it, I bought a trunk base with all the rest to develop, which is the most pleasant part! Since the sacrifice branch was removed this year, I won’t perform candle cutting this year in order to let the tree regain some strength. Next year I will start candle cutting to begin shaping the tree and hopefully turn it into a decent chuhin size within the next 7 years.