Big Bonsai

I popped over to a friends house on Saturday with a view to helping him select a tree for entering in Bonsai Europa next Autumn. It was nice to see some of these trees for the first time in Winter image.

This Beech is a monster.

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This Acer Campestre or Field Maple isn’t much smaller.

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And a little smaller again, this Ulmus Glabra or Wych Elm. Hard to see with the poor backdrop but again, you get the idea.

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And last but not least is a Hazel, it’s covered in Catkins for next Spring and even produced 6 Hazelnuts this year past.

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Tree selected and plans made. Josh in one of the nicest bonsai people I know but then the rest of us are all oddballs 🙂

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Lone wolfe all’UBI 2014

Nashville Bonsai Exhibition 1

Nebari Bonsai

In mid-July, Owen Reich and the Nashville club put on a tasteful show with high quality trees and accents. Here is a gallery from the show.
JRP Jane Kluis:

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Kusamono:

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Juniper:

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Trident maple:

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Ponderosa Pine:

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ROR Trident:

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Sage:

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Shohin Rack, stewartia top, crab lower right, pyracantha lower left:

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Shohin juniper:

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Mike Blanton’s “Bucket List” juniper. A massive and incredible tribute:

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Clump JBP:

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Nice dwarf hinoki:

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Azalea:

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Bill’s shishigashira:

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Trident maple paired very nicely with an interesting pot. This one was “on tour” this year, appearing in Nashville, Rochester, and Ashville!

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More next week. Happy Thanksgiving, and ROLL TIDE!

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Winter Image – Trident Maple

That time of the year when we get to see the good and the bad in the branch structure of our trees.The dregs of Autumn removed to show my Trident Maple.

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Sunday’s Two to One

Sunday saw another workshop session, this time a Two to One with two of the guys from the Leinster Bonsai Club. It was a busy day with a lot of trees examined and a lot of time spend looking at what makes a good bonsai.

When we got down to work this heavy-trunked raw material Hornbeam got some carving to remove dead stumps and some problem branches. What’s left will make the basic structure of a nice tree. The final trunk line at the apex will be reduced further next year. Left for new to allow buds to pop to see when the best chop point should be.

The material

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Some major chop points to be worked.

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More pruning wounds.

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Some chopped roots also needing work.

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Owen at work. Think this was his first time with a makita and he loved it 🙂

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and the new front after removed of unwanted branches etc. Tree will be a little shorter, just below those top branches, however after the chop just below that pointed I opted to keep it a little taller to draw sap in the Spring. As more adventurous buds appear it will be reduced by about 3-4 inches.DSC_0933

Rear view of the chops after basic carving.

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Owen also brought this little Blue Spruce, picked up for 10 euros and bought for practice. He got some wiring practice out of it at any rate.

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As the tree fills out a few more branches will be removed.

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Another tree worked on was this beast stump of Berberis stump, a two man lift.  Some adjustments were made to the deadwood and then the young branches were placed at the right angles and movement added. This has to be done at this stage before they harden further,berberis are brittle when they thicken. We were only concerned with the first few inches, after that the tips were pointed upwards to give vigour.

Before work.

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We opted for a twink trunk image but to make it convincing we had to removed a significant portion of the second trunk to make it look thinner that the main trunk line.DSC_0914

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Some block carving carried out  on the sencond trunk. No point doing any refinement at this stage of the trees journey.

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It was a busy day but the guys seemed to enjoy it as can be seen on Owen’s blog HERE.

AUTUMN 2014 JAPAN BONSAI EXPLORATION– Part 6 (Final?)

Valavanis Bonsai Blog

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Today we visited the top bonsai gardens and collections in the Nagoya area on our private bus.

Daiju-en Bonsai Garden

Toro Suzuki is the third generation proprietor of Daiju-en Bonsai Garden in Okazaki, Japan. His grandfather, Saichi Suzuki, was one of the greatest pine bonsai masters of all time and is responsible for the introduction of Zuisho Japanese five-needle pine and the Princess persimmon. His father Toshinori Suzuki continued in his father’s footsteps of training masterpiece bonsai and added Needle junipers to one of his specialties. Many of the now common pine training techniques for shortening needles came from Saichi and Toshinori Suzuki. Toro Suzuki is in charge of the Nippon Taikan Bonsai Exhibition which finishes today.

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Toro Suzuki continues to specialize in Japanese black pine bonsai, but also has a great number of Japanese five-needle pine and Chinese quince. Dean Harrell from Virginia is currently studing with him along…

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Saturday’s One to One

I had a one to one workshop on Saturday and as part of the session we carried out a little work on this Maple Raft. This is the front before we started.

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End on view

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Back view

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and from the other end

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Over the Winter and into next Spring we planned to reposition the last branch on the right of the tree. In it’s current position it stopped the flow. The branch when viewed end on, or even in the back view above, turns almost 90 degrees towards the front and brings the flow to an abrupt end. We raffia’d the branch and wired it to allow us to bring it around into a more suitable position. This was done in stages during the afternoon. We opted to use a bar to act as an anchor point to give us more control of the branch. The tree had a few other branches wired at the same time. The wire will need close monitoring in the Spring as this tree is a vigorous grower. Hopefully the wire can stay in place until the tree is defoliated in late May early June at which point it can be removed.

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Some work was also carried out on a deadwood hollow in the main trunk. Some wood was rotting and in a few places deadwood was stopping the rolling in of the cambium layer. The hollow will be darken down to catch the eye less when viewing.

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The tree after work.

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AUTUMN 2014 JAPAN BONSAI EXPLORATION– Part 5

Valavanis Bonsai Blog

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This year the autumn viewing season for maples has been excellent. A sign in our hotel indicates the stage of leaf coloring in several of the popular viewing areas. It looks like we visited Kyoto at the best time, too bad I did not have the opportunity to visit any of the gardens.

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Last views of the 34th Nippon Taikan Bonsai Exhibition

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Sargent juniper, Juniperus chinensis var. sargentii ‘Shimpaku’

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Only three shohin bonsai compositions this year were displayed. In early January there is a huge shohin bonsai exhibition which fills the entire building.

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Shishigashira Japanese maple, Acer palmatum ‘Shishigashia’

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Japanese black pine, Pinus thunbergii. This masterpiece bonsai was created by Kenji Oshima and won the Prime Minister Award at last year’s Professional Bonsai Exhibition.

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Even the suiseki were carefully watered. Note the cloth placed behind the stone to avoid moistening the valuable display tables.

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Winged spindle tree, Euonymus sieboldiana

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Red…

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Are we crazy??

Owen's Bonsai

5.30am on a Sunday morning and for normal people if your not still out on the lash your supposed to be in the comfort of your nice warm bed but nope not this fella, I’m up dressed and ready for me Bonsai mate John to pick me up to drive for 2 hours up north for a day of learning at the hands of Bonsai Eejit.

Should be a great day 🙂

Oh and hopefully there will be crispy bacon and eggs with home made bread waiting on us … Dream on sham lol

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First Frost 2014

I always post when I get the first frost each season and today was the first of Winter 2014. Comparing that to the last 2 years blog posts it’s roughly 20 days later than the normal. What that means for this winter I have no idea!!

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