What a Way to Finish The Year

Bjorn and Owen have made it very easy for me to decide what to post here on the last day of the year, Thanks guys 🙂

The latest video from the Bonsai Art of Japan is a parody of some of the best You Tube Bonsai Channels out there, and also, some of the worst 🙂

You really need to see these links as well to fully understand where this is all coming from.

Lindsay Farr’s World of Bonsai – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jhEkwNVFq6E
White Pine Inspiration – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qVM2AKctips
Wolf Meditation –http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xGbs6QwxL8M&list=UUTg68jVX0EeA0NUEMgSlUwg&…­
Funny Asian Guy – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JJ1bwUxVnAA
Mr. Potter’s Series – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BHIvEFiuJNo

A few comments from myself after viewing:  [spoiler alert]

Owen, you really need to work on your Aussie and Brit accents 🙂 I loved the Farr hat but you are missing the hair for Mr Wolf 😀

I also loved :

Your Farr nursery visit on Fast Forward, made me cry

White Pine fondling


Sam Jotter – hit with a wheelie bin :-), take pride in your wiring!

Asian Guy, mass production and by the way, this is so nice camera 🙂

and my favourite bit, ‘I’m not sure how this man got into my nursery… or why he’s here’ Fecking brilliant 🙂 You must have sooo many out take clips after this!!!

Thank you guys for all your efforts in bringing us your series this year. Long may it continue.

Caught in the Act…

of taking a  ….. photograph of course. Why, what did you think I was doing??!!

This was me last week whilst out tree hunting. Phil sneakily took this one while I was trying to get a shot of some fungi on a log. Now on his Facebook page under the title, ‘Mushroom Man’.

This was the result.

Posture when Styling Bonsai

This year I had problems with some old injuries to my neck and shoulder. This impacted  quite a bit on how I worked with my trees. Most people take for granted, or just don’t consider, how they position themselves when working on their bonsai.  Hopefully this post will make you consider these things in  more depth, it may even save you a little pain in years to come.

When you learn the basics of wiring, it usually centres around how you apply the wire, what size of wire, etc. However, a big part of it is how you stand, sit and position the tree while you wire it. Some trees take many hours to wire and  repetitive movements made with the wrong posture will result in pain, now, or in the future.

The images used are just snap shots of a moment in time and don’t necessarily show a person working for long periods in the wrong position, it’s just that I may have caught you at the wrong time 😀

The best person to demonstrate how to position yourself when working on trees is Marco Invernizzi. Marco always looks relaxed when working on a tree and will constantly correct your position during a workshop to ensure you are working to your maximum potential.

So what should you do? To start with, consider what height the tree is and decide if you are going to work standing up or sitting down. This will determine the height of the table you use. When working on a tree you should be able to wire the tree without repeatedly needing to raise your elbows up and out from your body. If the tree is placed on a table that is too high, this will require you to raise your elbows. This will cause unwanted strain on your shoulders and neck.

Here you see Stan removing bark to create jin on his Larch. If there was a lot of jin to create in this tree, at that height, the tree should be placed on a lower table to save his shoulders. In a workshop senario, this can be difficult with limited space.

Also ensure that the tree is placed close to the edge of the table. If you place it in the centre of a large table, you will have to stretch too far and over a few hours this will exhaust your shoulder muscles.

Her you see Ian B at a club meeting thinning out a Zelkova. By placing the tree at the edge of the table he avoids stretching. However, the tree is a little low.

Make sure you have a turntable. If you don’t have different table heights then a turntable with an adjustable height is essential. As you work on the tree, rotate it so that the branch you are working on is facing directly towards you. I have seen many people stretching around a tree to add wire rather than move the tree. Let the turntable do the work.

Here you see that Peter has positioned Ian B’s White Pine at the right height to allow proper examination of the roots and branch placement on the bottom pad.

Her you see Keith and Glenn placing a tree on a turntable to get it to the correct hight. By pulling it over to the corner a little more it would also allow both of them to work on the tree without stretching. In the background, stretching for the apex at that height will tire the arms if carried out repeatedly.

Are you a stooper? If the tree is too low, you will find yourself bending over the tree for long periods and this will result in neck and back pain. Consider sitting down.

Here you see me stooping over a friends tree in a workshop instead of raising it to the correct height. The owner, Bobby had the sense to work on it sitting down. This will cause  back pain if prolonged.  Stan in the background has his Larch at a raised table to allow work at the correct height.

Standing or sitting? This is personal choice. As the years pass, a chair becomes more appealing. I personally do a little of both. As sitting requires more elbow raising, I tend to stand a lot to save my shoulder injury.

Here, you can see that I’m sitting down to carve a Cotoneaster. This allows me to support the forearm of my injuried right should on the table taking the strain. It also allows better support for carving too.

Danger times!! All this is well and good but, as soon as you work on a tree with someone else, most of this goes out the window!! You will find yourself stretching to save the tree being moved as the other person is still wiring. You will stretch to wire the top branches instead of adjusting the height of the table or turntable. Being tall and being friends with a few hobbits helps 🙂 I do the top, they do the bottom 😉 Workshops and demos always cause trees to be worked on at the wrong heights and angles.

Here you see Peter working on a workshop tree whist rotating around the room. Rather than shift Bobby away from the tree he stretches across the tree to demonstrate the technique required. Good for teaching but bad for his posture. Again, this is only a snap shot of a moment in time and wasn’t a repeated action over a long period.

Philip shows an unusual position whist styling his Juniper in a demo. He was unable to place the tree lower as the crowd wouldn’t see the action so, adding to the drama, he stands on the chair!

Take regular breaks when completing a long wiring job. This allows muscles to relax and loosen up before continuing. These two eejits know how to relax.

When lifting large trees, get help. Don’t push your luck and risk causing injury.

I hope this makes you think a little deeper into how you work on your trees. Not just wiring, but repotting, carving, pruning etc. By making a few changes and paying more attention to how I work on trees I have saved myself a lot of pain. Usually after a workshop I’m wrecked! But the last few have proved to be pain free.

Got to go, my back is sore sitting at this computer for an hour 😦

Stolen Tree Recovered

You many remember that I post THIS back in September about a Stolen Hornbeam.

Good News, the tree has been recovered. I believe that there’s more to the story but to keep the facts correct, I’ll paste below the correct info direct from Mike’s Bonsai Passion Blog.

‘Back in September of this year, I brought sad news of a bonsai theft from John Trott … aka, Mendip Bonsai

The theft occurred whilst JT was exhibiting at the Royal Bath & West show.

During the last week, this beautiful Bonsai has been recovered. Sadly, not as it once was when owned by John. The tree was successfully recovered in the Manchester area of the Country.

The hugely important fact, is that due to concerted effort by many to circulate this information as quickly as possible, has undoubtedly been instrumental in said recovery. Had this information not been circulated as much as it had, then it is likely John would never have been contacted … regarding HIS tree!

Thank you to everyone who did all they could to make people aware of this theft. It has on this occasion paid dividends.

I am unable to go into further detail at this time.’


I guess he got it wrong LOL

I guess Mr Madden got a White Christmas wrong but it’s hard to rule out his projections with his track record. He’s predicting a cold and windy January.

Winter Bloom

A few photos taken around my parents home. My Dad’s a real plant lover and has the greenest fingers of anybody I’ve ever met. He could make a fence post shoot roots. 🙂 There’s always colour in the garden somewhere if you are willing to look.

and finally, Mum’s Christmas Cactus.

Merry Christmas One and All

Merry Christmas to all those sad enough to be checking your emails, blogs, websites, forums etc on Christmas day, I’ll be on later 😀

This is the last tree that I styled. A formal upright. I can’t take all the credit as my 17 year old son did some of the initial branch placement. However, I did all the final tweaking.

Santa left me a strange present under the tree!

Have a great day everyone.

PS. I did this post yesterday and scheduled it for this morning, in case you think I’m totally blogging mad!! 🙂

Eejits on Tour Part 3

The final instalment.

At one point on our day out, Phil took me to a river that he fishes on for Salmon. A beautiful spot. We lingered there longer than planned thanks to a show put on my 3 Dippers fighting over the same set of rocks. Must have been good fishing there 🙂

The water reminds me of a pint of Guinness getting poured. The colour comes from the peat in the area. The foam finishes it off 🙂

In the shot below you can see a branch that has been placed in the river as a perch for kingfishers. None on view today sadly.

What was sad to see was that some idiot was dumping into the river from the road side above! There was even the remains of a car in the pile. A strange pipe also drained into the river and nothing much wanted to grow below it 😦

Some nice beech trees along the riverside as well.

Some deadwood and a fallen Beech 🙂

We stopped for a Fish Supper on the way back at a lovely little Fish & Chip Shop beside a Harbour.

The fish was rather on the large size, but we both managed admirably.

That’s it! The day in photos that took 3 days to share with you. Hope you enjoyed viewing the images. You’ll have to wait for the yamadori photos 😉 but they’ll be on here in the Spring. I’ll leave you with a photo of a Heron winging it’s way along the coast.


Yesterday this Blackthorn bonsai was stolen from a collection near Bristol, south west.

A full description of the tree can be found at http://snsyamadori.co.uk/blackthorn then scroll down to Blackthorn 5.

Please be on the look out for this bonsai.

There is a healthy reward for anyone who can give any information which leads to the return of the tree.

Eejits on Tour Part 2

Some more shots from our tour of the North.

This was a rather strange one! A tree surrounded by a large stone wall. I assume that the wall was there first, some sort of hill fort or burial cairn. The tree probably self seeded in there and it now looks like this.

The whole area is covered with long abandoned crofts which add to the look of the place.

Some of the terrain that we find collectable Hawthorn on.

A rather unusual hawthorn hedge. Up, down and up again!

Nice in the Summer but bleak in the Winter!

Spotted some very interesting fungi along the way. I don’t know why I’m so fascinated by them! There must be some sort of support group out there for me 🙂

I loved this little fella growing in a hollow on a tree. Tree had an entish look to it 🙂

Yet more to follow!!