I found myself recently bored not knowing what to do with my bonsai. It’s our winter season so there is not a lot to do. I’m waiting for the first trees to show signs of growth so that I can repot them.
So, I started reading books and magazine articles. To my surprise to saw there were a few things that can be done during the winter period. As I read these articles I was tempted to start work on my trees as I was itching to do something. Reading how to do something and doing something is not the same. I spoke to someone that has been doing bonsai for more than 25 years. He gave me the chance to come over to his house and we worked on a few of his trees. That was just the inspiration I needed to go back home and work on my trees.
Here are a few things that I discovered that you can do during dormant period:
- Winter pruning
- Preparing soil mixture (it is recommended to mix your own soil if you have a huge collection of bonsai as it can be expensive buying a professional bonsai soil mixture)
- Clean Jin’s and Shari’s (deadwood) and apply new jining liquid.
- Treat trees with systemic pesticide
- Clean benches
- Set up trees in order of repotting
I discovered that there is always work to do with bonsai. It does not matter if it is something small like pruning, trimming or cleaning the area around your trees. By going through this exercise, I can now keep myself busy with tasks in and around my bonsai area for hours daily. Lucky for me I have a very understanding wife as my newly found passion sometimes keeps me busy till late at night. I heard people say that they like bonsai as a hobby because there are different things to do and there are no two days that are ever the same. I did not understand this until now.
Some of my old trees that I have just been maintaining I have advanced to better trees than before by just changing small things. It is difficult to redesign a tree. The reason for this is it requires you to look at the tree from a different angle. How do you do this? There is an easy way to do this:
- Look at the positives and negative of the tree.
- Is the front of the tree the best front?
- Change the planting angle.
Not all changes are big or need expert techniques, but they all have big impact on the look of the tree. Other changes just enhances the focal point/s of the tree.
Trees I changed