New Videos while I was away

I spent an hour last night catching up on some of my favourite YouTube Video Channels. I always like to add the ones I liked here. Here’s four Links, two for the Art of Bonsai in Japan Series (it only gets better) and the latest two from Graham Potter.

Hope you enjoy them as much as I did.

The Art of Bonsai in Japan Episode 7

The Art of Bonsai in Japan Episode 8

Bonsai Wiring Part 2 – The Burning Question

Bonsai – How hard can it be?

The Grand Floridian Bonsai Adventure Part 2

Having left Ricks house we followed him over to Paul’s home. On our way Rick stopped to show us one of his collecting sites for Bald Cypress. (I have it marked on the Satnav 🙂 Only joking Rick, they are safe from me, for now) This one is a typical shot of bonsai folk talking about the thickness of their trunks 🙂

and the site itself ..

We travelled onto Paul’s beautiful home and were ushered out the back to the pool area where Paul keeps his bonsai. This was a beautiful set up and Paul has done what I dream of having.. a compact collection of bonsai. They say that the wise ones do this 🙂

One of the first things I noticed was the variation in the types of bonsai that Paul had. Not just in variety but also in style as well. Ever the Ficus where of different varieties.

Again, the backdrop isn’t perfect to see these trees at their best and many of them can be viewed on Paul’s website

This Crape Myrtle caught my eye. It had a powerful little trunk and a lovely small leaf. I was informed that the foliage was grafted on from a dwarf variety. The flowers are also beautiful. They reminded me of how the escallonia flowers on extension growth. You have to put up with this if you want colour.

One of Paul’s smaller Ficus.

Another Ficus and a Black Pine.

Some of these I just can’t remember what they are! I’m sure Paul with check and help me out. Being a talented photographer as well, I’m sure he has better photos as well.

Possibly Buttonwood??

Trident Maple

Another Big Trident recently defoliated.

A beautiful Bougie.

Spotted this fruit on one of them. Not sure what it’s called either! Should have taken notes!!

A big Literati Bald Cypress

There’s another one in the sixth photo down that has a sacrifice branch at the apex. Going to be a stunning tree. I just love their foliage.


Whilst I was snapping away, the craic continued in a cooler spot. We were all amazed by just how many similarities we had with bonsai problems. One issue that did raise it’s head was the pronunciation of a few words. Aluminium or Aluminum wire was discussed and we had to point out that it was our language first so we had to be right 🙂

Stephen and the chaps.

Myself with Paul and Rick.

I would just like to publicly thank both Rick and Paul for taking the time on a very hot Sunday morning and afternoon to show us their collections. As I say to anyone on here, if you are in Northern Ireland, look me up and come visit. Rick, I’ll happily take you out for a real pint of Guinness 🙂

I have more photos from my holiday of inspirational trees in the wild and nature in general that I will be posting over the next week.

Orlando Bonsai

As a prequel to my next post I have added this link to my Blog Links page. It’s Paul Pikel’s Orlando Paul kindly let me visit his bonsai collection earlier this month.

Just click on the image below to see Paul’s site and watch some of his videos.

The Grand Floridian Bonsai Adventure Part 1

During my trip to Florida I took a day out to visit a few bonsai enthusiasts in the Orlando area. My friend Stephen was also in Florida so I dropped my wife and kids off at his villa pool and we set out for our fist stop.

A few months back I had been googling bonsai in Orlando and made contact with Rick Jeffery, President of the local bonsai society in Orlando. I said I was going to be out there in July and he said to give him a ring when I got there. I think he was surprised when I actually followed through 🙂

We arrived at Rick’s place one Sunday morning. Thank goodness for Satnav!! Rick’s lovely home is nestled away in a forested area. After a warm greeting we made our way out to see his benches. Nearly all the varieties used for bonsai in Florida are new to me. My climate just wont have all these Ficus and Bougainvillea 🙂

Rick and Stephen having a look around

 They may be different species of tree but after talking with Rick for a while about bonsai, clubs, techniques, etc, it was obvious that we held many things in common.

Rick had some beautiful trees. This Brazilian Rain Tree was my favourite. I got Rick to pose with it.

As there was only a green forest for a backdrop, Rick sent me a shot of it with a better backdrop. This tree has been exhibited in an Exhibition recently. I’m sure Rick will correct me if I get any names of facts wrong 🙂

He also had a great collection of Shohin Ficus. I normally avoid these, but seeing them in their proper climate and observing just how good they can be for bonsai was an eye opener. I used Stephen as a backdrop for a few photos.

This is one of his bigger Ficus.

and another. We had a good chat about options with this one.

He also had a few nice Bougies on the benches. This big one caught my eye. It’s well on it’s way to being a stunning tree.

and a smaller one also with a few pics supplied by Rick.

I spotted this Holly on the bench. Rick told me that it was collected material that he was going to sell or swap. On closer inspection I told him he was mad! It was a great multi trunk tree in there. We discussed a few options. If I had longer ( a spare day) I would have loved to have styled it with him 🙂 What variety was this again Rick?

The flowers on this Crown of Thorns caught my eye and Stephens 🙂 We have both now added a little one to our collections 😉

One of the most eye catching yamadori in the garden was this Pond Cypress. Did I get it right Rick? It’s not Bald Cypress is it? Stephen used for scale, for goodness sake Stephen put those wee ones behind your back 😀

One of the best features of the tree is the knee at the base. This is a root that extends up usually in swampy areas and is thought to help the tree process oxygen. I have a nice photo of one to show in another post.

We had another discussion about the future front of this tree. The knee was always to be a visible feature to show off.

Here’s a few general shots of Rick’s benches.


He even had a little Trident maple. I didn’t think they would grew in this climate but they are obviously a very adaptable tree.

Rick only had the one Juniper in the garden and it was raw material belonging to the club. This was a surprise to me as throughout my stay in Orlando I saw many Chinese Juniper varieties being used as landscape plants and was rather envious.

Rick’s Chocolate Lab was also a welcome sight. I was missing my own dogs dreadfully 😦

It was a very hot day, even for locals. We moved inside to cool down and a great chat ensued with Rick and his wife Patty about Ireland, the black art of Gunniess brewing and drinking, genealogy and dogs 🙂

We moved on then to our next destination. This was the home of Paul known for his bonsai videos on   You can see this part of my trip in my next post 🙂

I’m Back!!

Well, that’s me back home after 4 weeks in Florida on holiday. It’s now 2am and I can’t sleep with the jet lag time zone change thingy 😦

I had a great holiday, swam with dolphins, saw Gators and a Bald Eagle in the Wild and was nearly struck by lightning at the pool last week!! The loudest thing I have ever heard barr one 😉

I didn’t announce on here that I was going away. Not a good idea to advertise that you are away from home and all your trees are just sitting there in your garden! I have been posting the odd thing to give the impression that I’m still at home. I had made a few draft posts before I left. 🙂

Once I get sorted, I have plenty to post. I made a few new bonsai friends in Florida and now on my return, my trees are all over grown and crying out for some TLC. A big thank you to the 4 guys who have been watering for me in my absence.

Bonsai Backdrop

With all this running around photographing club members trees, I’m on the look out for a portable backdrop that will work for big and small bonsai. I saw one of these being used recently and thought it was ideal. The blue side anyway. You can get different colours. Problem is the price. As usual they cost at least double what you pay for them in the USA.

Video for it in use. VIDEO

Flakey Bark on a Trident

My Trident has started to get that flakey bark and I’m in two minds what to do. I quite like the bark as is but I also like the way the Japanese will remove the flakes of bark to create a patchwork of different colours.

What do the rest of you do?

Looking good

The Cotoneaster that my brother pulled out of a garden is looking good.

Here’s the story so far.

Free Cotoneaster

Signs of Life

This is it now. It’s a squat chunky wee fella with lots of scope for carving. My hand for scale.

It liking the conditions in the poly tunnel and the nice open mix of grit and cat litter. It’s even budding up at the top of the tallest trunk.

Exposed Root Spirea

I spilt a spirea last year into two separate trees. One is now root over rock and this one is exposed root style. It’s had no real training as yet but the flowers are pretty, so I thought I’d share.

Tale of two trees

These are two Celtis I have. I think that’s what they are I’m not sure see here

This first one was repotted this Spring and was placed in the poly tunnel. I didn’t defoliate as I want to thicken the branches and chop back.

Spring 2011

April 2011

and now

The other one wasn’t repotted and had been outside on a bench. For some reason this one got mildew and I had to defoliate. I thought being outside with good air circulation would have been a less likely spot to get mildew, but what do I know.

This is it a month after defoliation.