End of an Era…….

… well 4 years at any rate.

As part of the NI Bonsai Society programme for the last four years we have had the pleasure of delivering the ‘Bonsai School’ 3 times a year for the last 4 years. This has been in partnership with Willowbog Bonsai and in particular, Peter Snart.

I’ve known Peter for over 15 years and in that time we have become firm friends. As I host the school sessions at my home, I have had Peter as a house guest 12 times since 2011 and this doesn’t count many other times in previous years. The favour has been returned when I have visited Willowbog Bonsai to attend shows and take part in workshops with people such as Ryan Neil, Peter Warren and Marco Invernizzi.

Peter has now called time on the school in it’s current format, I think mainly due to the fact that he’s fed up packing that bloody van!! 🙂

Bonsai for me is as much about friendship as wee trees and I’m delighted to have both Peter and Jean as friends. The school may be over but the friendship continues. I’m pretty sure he’ll be back at some point and I’m definitely sure I’ll be at Willowbog in the years to come, but in the meantime, thank you Peter.

There, gushing over lol


Busy Day….

I played host to the Clubs Bonsai School Session today. All very enjoyable with good friends and bonsai learning at the top of the agenda. Just how many times can Ben photobomb!!

Youth to the right age to the left 🙂






Workshop at 13-14/09

Munster Bonsai Club

There are some pictures from our club workshop with Ian and Phill in acction

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Sunday Walk

A few from Sundays Walk.










Old Fashioned Flower Show

On Saturday I had the pleasure of Judging the Bonsai classes at one of the few remaining old fashioned Flower Shows. Belfast Parks Autumn Fair has been up and down over the years but seems to be undergoing a bit of a revival this year both for the public, who were there on mass and also for bonsai. Our club had done a little bit of a push for members to exhibit this year and they responded with nearly 60 trees on display. It’s far from ideal for displaying bonsai but still serves a purpose to attract the public and recruit new members to the club. Here’s a few general shots of the show. Sorry I forgot my memory card for the camera and had to take these with the phone.


The ‘Helix Root’ Limber Pine Styling-

Michael Hagedorn

Until a couple of years ago, I’d never worked with Limber Pine, one of our North American white pines. It’s growing on me. Buds back well, nice short needle, strong. Has a nice name, Limber Pine, which comes more trippingly off the tongue than Loblolly Pine, for instance. And it has great deadwood features.

This Limber Pine was styled in a Seasonal Workshop a couple of weeks ago. It was collected by a student of mine, Steve Varland of Backcountry Bonsai, who was able to be in the Seasonal to help style it. Loads of fun!

Photo essay follows our journey with this tree-

DSC_0267 Limber Pine from one side…

DSC_0270 …and from the other side.

DSC_0271 And a couple of shots of the base, with the ‘helix’ roots.

DSC_0273 Other side.

DSC_0300 We discovered that a large area of the trunk was dead. That is, not obviously dead. We might call it ‘pre-shari’…

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Parthenocissus quinquefolia display

Ginepro taiwanese-Juniperus fomosana