A Great Start

I finished work today at 5 and am off now until 13th April. I have lots of bonsai things planned during this time and thought I’d get stuck in by clearing away the mess in the garage left over from the potting up of the collected pines on Sunday. As I was checking the bags before they went in the bin I spotted a missed shohin sized tree in a bag. After a further check I spotted 3 more!! Result 🙂

All were still in good nick as they had been collected with a full rootball still encased in field soil.

This is what we’ve been finding, even small trees with amazing bark and character.







I’m Back!

I think that’s officially the longest I have ever went without posting on the blog! I have been meeting myself coming back in work of late, with every minute taken up doing more important things than blogging 🙂 Yes, I do have a life lol.

I did find time to go collecting on Sunday with Phil and Mark. Not great timing with the clocks going forward for BST. It meant that after a couple of hours sleep we had a 5 hour drive followed by a 5 hour collecting session, followed by another 5 hours back home, followed by 3 hours potting up session, followed by a double shift in work today!! I’m feeling pain in every muscle after humping up and down the side of a mountain, but you know what? I wouldn’t have missed it for the world 🙂 Mark had it easy, he only had a 3 hour drive from Cork to get to the site lol.

A wee cup of tea before heading home.


The sort of ground we had to collect over.



Trees, Scots Pine and Lodgepole Pine, all now potted up and under cover. Not a lot of photos taken either but more to follow soon perhaps.

Burning Bush revisit –

Michael Hagedorn

Several have asked to see a photo recap of this chunky Burning Bush, Euonymus alatus. We (my students and I) started the process of turning this vigorous stump of a shrub into a bonsai in 2012.

The fella who collected this Burning Bush said that it was growing by the side of a pond where nutria (a large rodent that eats euonymous) would graze on them. This one still has the shari from those gnawing nutria.

Although this tree is still many years away from ‘show shape’, maybe 10 years, here’s its 3rd-year progress report…

(And while I have your attention…submissions to the Artisans Cup will begin April 1. Also that day, incidentally, is the final day (extended deadline) for the National Pot Competition, so you potters out there have another few hours to get your best efforts together. Good luck everyone! It’s an exciting year in bonsai.)


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A Tale of Two Accents

First one is my Mukdenia Rossii just starting to flower now and starting to mature nicely as an accent plant.


And a little viola put together by young Jamie at the workshop on Saturday, looking good in it’s Magic Ceramics pot.DSC_0207


Bang Goes the Neighbourhood!!

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Hostas Baby!

Yes! Been waiting patiently for signs of Spring so I can assess what accents have made it through the Winter months. A good few of my mini hostas are showing signs of growth now. I can feel some splitting coming on.



Group Workshop

Saturday was a group workshop hosted by myself and Phil. Eight people signed up for the day and you can see one is hiding his identity for employment reasons 🙂

The usual talk though of workshop trees at the start of the session.




Jamie’s Scots Pine before.


Ian B’s Scots Pine before, sadly no after shot.


Mark’s chunky Elm before.


Everyone getting busy.


Maciej’s Larch before.


Alan’s White Pine Before.


and After


Maciej’s Larch Afterwards.



Jamie’s Juniper there for advice and a cut back. This is now going to be a squat heavy trunked tree as we opted to removed the straight section which lacked taper.


Ian B’s Larch after some detailed wiring.


A possible new front.DSC_0178

Piotr’s Juniper afterwards. Should have taken a back shot as I think that’s a better option showing off more of the deadwood.

Owen’s Juniper before


Piotr’s Juniper before.

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Mark’s Elm after some branch placement and a repot.


No where near enough photos taken, but in our defence, we were busy! Apologies to those whose trees missed out on photos especially the after shots.

Everyone seemed to enjoy their day with some great work carried out by all.

Evaluating bonsai at BABA’s 34th annual exhibit

Happy St Patrick’s Day

To all those with a tint of green in the blood out there in the Bonsai World, Have a great Day 🙂

Shohin UK 2015 is all ship shape and Bristol fashion

British Shohin Bonsai

The 2015 Shohin UK event was a resounding success at the weekend and delivered clear evidence that the standard of the smaller sizes of bonsai has yet again run itself further up  the bonsai flagpole in the past twelve months.

The village hall at Failand near Bristol attracted nearly 200 visitors from as far afield as Paris and Paisley to see this quietly understated but nevertheless highly professional exhibition. This throng (which had significantly increased since two years ago) were augmented by ten traders all offering visitors a fine range of trees, pots and other bonsai items.

The stars of the show were of course the bonsai. A total of eighty trees were on show, spread among twenty six displays.

And what superb displays they were too.

It was interesting to read the “mission statement” on the BSA’s banner which states that we intended to push the standard of shohin…

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