2012 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

About 55,000 tourists visit Liechtenstein every year. This blog was viewed about 280,000 times in 2012. If it were Liechtenstein, it would take about 5 years for that many people to see it. Your blog had more visits than a small country in Europe!

Click here to see the complete report.

Out with the Old….

2012 has been a fun year here on the blog. I have done my best to post daily to keep everyone up to date not only with my bonsai happenings but also directing you to other sites and items that I found of interest. You must have liked it, as I reckon I’ve had 279,000+ hits on the site this calendar year ❗

I thought I would share a few links now from some of my favourite posts from the year and also some of the most popular. But first up is your favourite pages.

ENJOY and have a great night tonight.

Your favourite pages:

Escallonia Progression

Airlayering a Hawthorn

Chuhin Maple

360 bonsai

Scots Pine Progression

Favourite and popular posts:

Noealanders Trees

Noelanders Trophy Winners

Kokufu 2012 

Kobote Engei Exhibition

Free Online Bonsai Magazine

Rhododendron Virtual Pot

Root Over Rock Seasons

Ume or Yumie

BSA 6th Exhibition

Tree Collecting

Eejits on Tour

Willowbog Collection



Stephen’s Larch Restyle

After getting my own larch sorted out, attention turned to Stephen’s one.

This is it sitting at Stephen’s house. When we worked it out, it hasn’t been wired in 8 years. The last styling was done by Marco Invernizzi back in 2004.

Photos from then can be viewed here.

It’s a big tree and we wanted to try and complete the wiring in one day. Phil collected the tree in his van and we transported it to my garage for a little space to work in. Stephen’s bonsai studio was only build for hobbits and I’m definitely not that size 🙂 This it is photographed before we started.

About now you are probably having a close look at the base of the tree. Yes, it’s a strange one, it’s hard to see but there is a strong root that runs directly under the trunk lying parallel to the ground. This will be exposed to help show stability. There is another option, but that’s for another day!

The three of us got to work and managed to get the wiring completed.

One area that was a problem was the apex. It had been created from a single branch curled around to make it look fuller at the time. 8 years on this has become a problem. It could have been hidden by placing branches over the offending bits but could not be removed totally and make a convincing apex. We discussed it and Phil was keen to make a change rather that it becoming progressively worse with time. He came up with an option and Stephen decided to go for it.

This is the offending apex.

Branch being reduced.

Keep an eye on him Stephen 🙂

A typical Stephen Coffee break.

Birds eye view.

Final tweaks

The final image. Stephen is considering a change to the top jin, what do you think? Remove, leave, shorten?

The new apex looks a great improvement.

A closer look at the base.

Side view


Before and after side by side.

The 3 amigos for scale, and just for fun.

We did this work without looking back to Marco’s styling in 2004. It was interesting to compare now having looked for the original photo.

Tall Larch Restyling

I eventually got around to wiring up this larch yesterday. This is it before work.

This tree has fantastic old bark, as good as I’ve seen on a larch. It originated in Scotland and I’ve had it in my collection for many years. It’s not a WOW! tree by any means but I do like the formal image that can be produced from it. It got a year of little or no pruning to allow me to have some extra length to the branches that I could play with to increase the amount of different levels I could create.

In the 18 years that I’ve been playing with bonsai I have been using aluminium wire. This year I’ve gathered up enough copper to give it a go on my conifers. Yesterdays wiring saw me using only copper wire.

The final image saw me adjust the front slightly to the right.

For scale, I added myself to the image.

Side by side

Back in 2002

The bark


Spring 2012

Other images here

Fantastic evolution

Kitora no do



Fagus crenata 1995-201020071214131550_zattera2010414141949_IMG_3127Zattera di fagus crenata


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Invisible Animals

My wife drew my attention to this photo article in the Daily Mail and I just had to share it with you.

It has a photo montage of animals hiding in plain sight. These are my favourite 3


and this one done my head in, spot the snipe!

Make sure you check out all the others here.

Winter Walk

Last Sunday I walked a bit of the County Down coastline with Stephen and Philip. WE could hardly call it walking in a Winter Wonderland but it was pleasant al the same. Trees, birds, water, dogs, wind! take your pick. Notice a confused gorse bush in flower!


Disappearing Bit by Bit

This old tree is a bit of a landmark if you live in Bangor County Down. It can be seen from the road when travelling from Bangor to Holywood. It’s in a now famous field as Rihanna cavorted around in it during the Summer and got told off by a local farmer 🙂

Michael over on his futterwithtrees blog photographed it back in December 2011 but as you can see, recent storms have reduced the tree even further.

This is Michaels shot last year

and mine from last weekend

Happy Christmas

Where has the year gone!!

I would like to wish all the followers of my blog a very Happy christmas. Your support and friendship means a lot.

Dancing Hawthorn

This Hawthorn was named the Dancer by Mike Jones a few years back when I first showed it here. It’s kind of stuck with that for me 🙂 It’s still early days in the branch development. I gave it a little thinning out a few days ago, removing straight, fat or unattractive branches.