Demo by Corin Tomlinson – 22nd August 2018
We had a great evening with Corin Tomlinson this month, demonstrating his initial styling method on a Western Hemlock (Tsuga heterophylla) which had been grown specifically for bonsai and maintained in a dome shape with just regular trimming.
Corin described himself as one of the younger people in bonsai who had probably been doing it for longer than many of the older people, having started learning as a boy working with his father, Harry Tomlinson.
First he used shears to cut away about an inch of the top soil and root mass to expose the flare at the base of the trunk which was a good shape. He then removed some of the thicker lower branches and some of the weaker ones before looking for then proposed front of the tree. Unfortunately, the best view of the trunk did not coincide with the best shape at the top but eventually the best overall balance was chosen.
We were then entertained with some bonsai information and anecdotes (some old and some new) while Corin worked his way up the tree, wiring the primary and secondary branches and removing further weak and unnecessary ones. A rare skill to be able to talk and wire at the same time! Once it had been eased and bent into a good shape, scissors were used to remove any downward and upward growth to separate the pads and let light and air into the tree. The branches were bent into graceful arching curves to accentuate the natural habit of the Hemlock tree. Once he had finished handling the tree, Corin sealed the cut wounds with Lac Balsam and explained that it will be returned to its training pot for now and will probably be repotted into a shallower rectangular pot towards the end of October, when growth will have slowed down but the weather would still be warm enough to allow it to recover before winter sets in.
And finally, Corin’s bonsai tip of the evening ‘Make sure that you remove the wires one week before they start to cut in’. Easy to understand in theory but a skill which can take many years to master!
Many thanks to #CorinTomlinson from #GreenwoodBonsaiStudio for a very entertaining and informative evening.