Susquehanna Bonsai Club

The premiere bonsai club of south-central Pennsylvania

Leave a comment

Corin Tomlinson – Bonsai Demo – Susquehanna Bonsai Club

Corin and his brother Paul are the second generation owners of the Greenwood Bonsai Studio located on the edge of Sherwood Forest.  Their father Harry Tomlinson, who passed away in March, began the business in 1978. 


By the looks of it, we had a good club turn out for the demo!



Corin presented a slide show of the nursery and specimen trees they have styled.  Go to their website, to view some of the specimen trees. 

For the demonstration, Corin chose to work on a dwarf spruce, Picea jezoensis ‘JD’s Dwarf’.  This tree’s history starts in 1984 when Jim Doyle brought a potted specimen of Picea jezoensis back from Japan and planted it in his garden, intending to style it in a few years after its roots developed.  Years later, still in Jim’s garden, the tree caught the attention of nurseryman Greg Gulden.  Greg decided to graft this dwarf exotic specimen from an obscure region of Japan and name it after Jim.  ‘JD’s Dwarf’ characteristically starts out as a low spreader for about six years and then develops a dominant leader and eventually takes on a nearly perfect pyramidal form. 

Corin commented that the spruce has a lot of branches that are long, the trunk is quite straight, a lot of branches are radiating from certain areas and the specimen was grafted low. Corin styled a fairly formal tree.   He chose the front of the tree with the roots going right and left, and cut off a few crossing roots.  Next, he examined the branches and removed a heavy branch from the back and other smaller branches that did not add to the design.  He scored the jin and remove the bark, but left it long and will do the carving and styling of it later when the wood dries out a bit.  Also, some of the jin can be removed later if it does not add to the composition. On the lowest level, Corin kept three branches, 2 opposite and one to the back.  On the next level he kept a left and right branch and one toward us (the front).  Finally, he removed the larger branch of the apex and reduced the length of the top branches. 

Corin said that spruce are quite flexible, so the remaining branches were brought down to fill in the bare spots and disguise the fact that the trunk is quite straight.   He used aluminum wire since it works a bit faster than copper for demonstration purposes. His recommendation is to generally use wire that is ½  the thickness of the branch you want to bend. Corin kept us entertained with anecdotes from his bonsai world while he wired the tree.  He recommended keeping the wire on for a year, but take it off sooner if the wire begins to cut into the bark.  The tree will probably have to be rewired again after the wire is taken off since spruce have poor memory.  At that point he suggested bringing the branches down to make it look like an alpine spruce with a snow weight on the branches.  Also, put movement in the branches, and fan it out some. 

Keep the plant in the pot for this year and re-pot it next Spring.  Since the roots are exposed above ground, he recommended using some rocks to make the base more appealing.  

(click on first image to scroll through gallery)

Also prior to the demo, Corin styled the below 2 bonsai while at Natures Way Bonsai Nursery.



Congratulations to Norma Brandon on winning this beautiful JD Dwarf Spruce that was raffled off after the demo!


Thanks for viewing the Susquehanna Bonsai Clubs blog. If you are relatively close to Harrisburg – York – Lancaster areas, please come out to a club event and if you like what you see please join us!!