The fifth of five bonsai is chosen without shaking on my hands. In this small fun series were I have chosen the five bonsai species among my favourites, the choice is Pine. it also i one of the most difficult trees to succeed as bonsai I find. There is numerous techniques to control the tree that one has to know, and at all the varieties there are different things to do. You just can´t do the same on all pine varieties.
Pines, Pinus, are very elegant trees as bonsai, that have a majestic powerful expression with the aged old bark and gentle green needles. Therefore it is among the king of trees in the bonsai world, and often chosen among favourites at bonsai exhibitions too. In the small tree world of shohin enthusiasts it often is a pine tree that is selected as main tree in a composition. There are several good pine specimens for bonsai. Scots pine, Pinus sylvestris, is common in northern Europe. Pinus mugo, the mountain pine, is broadly recognised and used in middle and southern Europe. From the east comes valuable trees like the Japanese Black pine, P. thunbergii and Japanese White pine, P. parviflora and others.
The challenge with pines are the control of growth. Different slow growing techniques are used to develop the fine clouds of needles that frames the aged trunk. The needle length is also determined by accurate control of watering and feeding. The soil in general have to be very free draining. The more air in the soil, the better. All of this have to be adapted to local climate. There is a huge difference in conditions, if you live in the warm parts of southern Europe or here in the slightly chillier part of northern Europe were I have my feeds walking.
There probably are no other tree that present an aged bark with so much beauty as the pine. The bark holds the spirit of the tree. All the different growing techniques are fare to complicated to tell in just one post, and the meaning with this post is to inspire. Therefore I will salute the pine bonsai with a small gallery of pines seen in Japan. Enjoy.