Garden Visit

After Michael had visited my garden on Saturday, myself and Phil popped over to see his. As usual I had my camera in tow and braving the rain I took a few very quick snaps. The quality of some of the photos is low due to the speed at which I took them. The lack of a plain background means that some of the trees don’t look as good as they do in the wood, so to speak. I hope to get some better shots of Michaels bonsai soon.

Some beautiful plants in the garden as well. I never miss an opportunity to get a few flower snaps. I even got some of those Pink poppies home with me 🙂


The look on Phil’s face here 🙂

In the Sun and the Rain

Well, I had great fun yesterday spending the day with a few mates working and talking about trees.

I started off on my own and made a start at defining the deadwood/live vein on my Rigeda juniper. This is as far as I got got before Stan arrived.

Stan brought his Chinese Juniper for some styling work. This is it before.

We started working outside in the sun.

Stan had to be given a special pass to be allowed into my garden wearing a Man Ure shirt! This was Stan’s first proper go at wiring and, he’s either a natural, or I’m an amazing teacher!! More than likely the former 🙂

We had to move inside as our usual Northern Ireland climate kicked in.

He even cleans up after himself which is a rarity in my garage.

This is the tree at the end of the day. To pull it further into shape it would have required further fine detailed wiring, but I felt that this was sufficient for the day. We discussed the addition of a shari in the future and another possible front.

Here’s the before and after side by side.

Stephen brought down his two satsuki for thinning and structural work. These hadn’t been touched in years and were in dire need of a major haircut.

We started on this one. It has had a hard life! A few years ago it lost the whole apex and had been left to regrow. This year a stray plank of wood being waved around by a careless workman broke another branch near the apex. (Sorry Phil couldn’t resist 🙂 )

Many of the problems can’t be addressed today as further growth is required. We hope that after this pruning, vigorous growth will allow for a redesign of the apex and a new potting angle to compensate.

Stephen at work, hiding behind the tree. It’s only a shohin 🙂

Pad before and after thinning.


and after work today.

We ran out of time with the other satsuki. We only managed to get the rest of the flowers removed and one branch partially thinned.

Another visitor to my garage was Michael, who has just joined the club. He’s been doing bonsai for roughly 12 years and had contacted me asking for advice about a few trees that had suffered over the Winter.

I think he enjoyed a walk around my garden and I popped over to his house with Phil that evening for a look at his trees. More of that in another post.

He brought with him a Juniper that had been previously styled by a few of Europe’s big names. It had suffered due to the Winter and a poor choice of potting mix. He was quick to see the benefits of a more open mix that he had previously been taught to use. In fact may of his trees had issues with mix choice.

This is Michael having a chat with Phil about Juniper growth and the techniques used to improve his collection.

Michael also had a problem with the deadwood at the base of his Juniper rotting. We introduced him to a few new products to stop this and helped him get the rotted wood removed down to savable harder wood.

During all this Phil was busy taking cutting from the two satsuki azaleas and a Cork Bark Elm.

That’s all we got done for the day. I’ll post some photos from Phil and I visiting Michaels garden later.

Further to my last….

…about the Tsunami relief, here’s a link to an interesting article in the Mail online about the so called harmony in post tsunami Japan. It does not make pleasant reading and is all the more reason you should send a few shillings to Dru’s Paypal account at to get help right to those who need it.

Mail Online

Here’s the latest email I got from Dru.

“I just got back from Ishinomaki and believe me i cannot ever  possibly say “ive done enough” . There is too much to do .We will be in this story until they dont need us . Then we will stop with a smile.The more i go up there the more i see how much they need, especially fuit and veg for the old people and kids. A few people 2.5 months ago said please dont forget us in a few months so we wont.”