Itoigawa Workshop: Start to Finish

Bonsai Prelude

Itoigawa before photo Itoigawa before photo

The workshop I chose to participate in this past weekend was the Itoigawa juniper workshop with Ryan Neil. In this post I hope to point out some of the things I learned, guiding us through the process of styling just as we did in the workshop. So get your notebooks out, this is going to be a long one.

The first step of the styling process (assuming you’ve already chosen the tree) is to identify the following, in order of importance:

1. Find the best base for your tree. By this I mean view your tree from every side, the idea is to find stability. Trees that have an unstable appearance (generally caused by a very thin trunk entering the ground) create an unstable feeling in the viewer. In most cases you’ll want to pick the view where your tree looks the widest at the point where…

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Japanese Maple 2


Bought this JM off Alan Harriman who used to own China Mist (Bonsai Pot maker) for £600.This is it in the boot of my car 6th April 2014:


And this is it on my bench a few weeks later. Picture taken on the 24th April 2014:


I had a attack of black fly, they sit on the stalks and under the leaves and suck the sap out of the tree which effects the leaves, especially the internal leaves. Picture taken 1st May 2014

IMG_2132 IMG_2131

So I treated it with Systemic Insecticide call Provado and defoliated to start all over again. Defoliation took three sessions or about 5hrs! pic taken 5th May 2014:


The tree was healthy and should push out a new flush of leaves within a few weeks.

Time to Decandle

This tree has been feed heavily over the passed 3 months and the candles have extended to around 10-20cms and the new needles are poking their heads out of the sheaths.


As per the virt I drew previously I am going to be getting rid of all branches except to the to left in the coming winter, so when I cut off the candles i left a stub on all branches except the branch I will be using to create the new top with.


The stub left over


The candle on the branch I will be keeping and developing in the future:


With no stub left to restrict new growth:


And here is what the tree looked like after: