Shohin Zelkova

This one is new to my collection this year. An old tree that originally was an import to the UK back in the late 80’s, it lost it’s apex when with the previous owner. I got the tree back in June as I saw some potential in making it into an even smaller shohin tree.

This was the tree as acquired. A bit weak with some dead branching. It hadn’t been fed much in recent years.


when I got it home.


I cut down the height by about 2 inches and cut the leggy branches back quite hard. After a few months free growth it had produced some new fine growth.


I was able to do a little wiring once it dropped leaves for Winter. This is it after work. Some branches left long and will be left for another year to thicken branches as required. New beginnings, we’ll see how it goes. Major repot required this Spring.


One to One: Hornbeam & Zelkova

Here’s a couple of pieces I worked on last week during a one to one session. Both the before shots are slightly older photos but give a good view of the changes made.

First up is a hornbeam that was getting it’s first proper wiring. Tree has a nice trunk and we wanted to get it started on the path to make a nice deciduous image.


And then this Zelkova group got taken out of it’s training box and potted into a more suitable pot. Two new smaller trees were added at the rear to help the image.


One to One : Zelkova Group

Had another one to one session on Tuesday night, this time helping to get this Zelkova group planting on the right track. This is a very natural looking group put together last year after the trees had been field grown for a number of years by a previous owner. The group needed a serious working through planning for the best approach for each tree and branch. We had some die back to deal with and a few straight branches to sort out.

This was it last April after putting it together.

This was it on Tuesday night. Extension growth has been cut back a few times over the last growing season.


This is it after pruning last night with it’s new owner. Still some branches in need of work but care needs to be taken not to lose the naturalness of this image. Another year in the training box gaining vigour will allow for more detailed work next Spring and perhaps a pot.


Zelkova Group Planting

I was offered a few field grown Zelkova recently. I had passed comment to the owner that a few of the tougher trees could be used to create a group. As part of a little deal I got to dig up and create the group for myself.

These photos show Stephen and I collecting the trees from the ground, thinning out and planting up a group.  One went to an individual pot as it was required for the forest.

Hunk of Wood

This hunk of wood is a Zelkova Serrata that was field grown and neglected for 8 years during this time it grew to 25 feet tall and was a bitch to get out of the ground. It was transferred into this blue tub were it has resided for the last 4 years or so. It weighs a tonne and I wanted to start to try and make a tree out of it. I needed to examine the nebari such as it is to determine the best option for the tree.





On Wednesday night, ably assisted by Alan I managed to get it out of the pot and removed the branches that would definitely not be required in any future design.


Alan and I then repotted the tree and managed to get it down in size to a mica training pot. I would have liked to have made it slightly more upright but the roots and pot wouldn’t allow this this time around. It’s not going to be a pretty Zelkova like many you see but it will have a certain rugged charm in about 10 years time. It’s a big tree as you can see below. It’ll have rotted deadwood features and a rather ugly nebari but powerful in it’s own nasty way 🙂




Some more pruning and wiring required to set it on the right path but it’s an interesting project. The big one in the middle was it in the growing field back in 2003!

overview 5 03


Ian B’s Zelkova

Another one worked on with Ian on Saturday. A Zelkova that he has had for a very long time, from seed kit I think!

The before image looks great with lots of fine ramification but if left unchecked it will go backwards this year. We gave it a haircut removing some dead inner branches and thinning out the outer canopy.



It’s in an old Lark Lane pot, if anyone remembers those. They used to be in every garden centre in the country about 20 years ago, some crap ones but I love this one.

Never Make a Shohin This One

This is the first photos of a Zelkova that I’m starting to work on. Grown from a cutting!! Eight years in open ground resulted in this 25 foot tree being chopped down to the bottom branch. A very fast growing tree that actually got away on me for a while. It’s been in this tub for 2 years now and I feel it safe to do a little pruning. It also needs carving on the chop mark to make it more convincing. It was carved back a little last year to allow the wood to dry out and stop it producing 100’s of shoots around the wound.

Me for scale

The chop

A little pruning to stop the apex getting carried away again. Bottom branches will need many years to thicken to the right size.