More Magic Pots

I’ve just uploaded a new selection of Magic Ceramics accent pots to my FlickR Album. Some fantastic pots from Maciej Targosinski including some Kusamono dishes, tiles and even bonsai pots these days. It always pays to support local talent.  Prices are given on each photo description. Give me a shout via Contact Me if you are interested.








El Tim Demo Video

Another great video from Bonsai Empire.

A ‘Cliff Bonsai’—Western Hemlock Styling

Michael Hagedorn

We often think of cliff or rock faces being the place where cascade bonsai get their inspiration. And they do. But there’s another commonly seen growth habit in those steep, rocky areas…

I collected this Western Hemlock (Tsuga heterophylla) on Vancouver Island several years ago, where, coincidentally, it was growing off a boulder. The leaves were tiny and yellow from the water and nutrition stresses of boulder life. In less than a year it had rebounded and was growing green and vigorous.

The lace rock used in this experiment was purchased without an intention in mind, driven only by the impulse of ‘What a cool looking rock, maybe I’ll use that someday…’ It had several possible inclinations, one of which proved useful for this composition. And so last Thursday turned out to be ‘someday.’

Enjoy the photo essay!

DSC_0490 This is what we started with…a chunk of lace rock and a Western…

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An Early Spring Visit To Shunka-en Bonsai Museum

Valavanis Bonsai Blog


Today I woke up to a cold, rainy day in Tokyo, not the best weather conditions to visit Kunio Kobayashi’s Shunka-en Bonsai Museum. But I did not let a little rain stop me from taking a bus, train, subway and taxi to get to see his bonsai. I’ve visited gardens to see bonsai in the sun, rain, snow, ice, sleet, slush, mud and even in the remnants of a typhoon in Japan a couple of years ago. The rain stopped just before lunch, but it was still cold, 41F compared to the 90F I left in  Manila.


Each time I visit this beautiful garden I see more and more bonsai, all beautiful and large and well maintained too. Last month during I my visit I saw a new rooftop addition holding mostly maple bonsai. Well, at the top of the stairs there is the foundation for another addition to the…

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Burrs Workshop 2016 announcement

Having attended Burrs myself, I’d highly recommend it.

Bonsai & Yamadori from Tony Tickle

Burrs 2016 poster

To book you place complete the form here: Booking Form

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An Early Spring Visit To Omiya Bonsai Village

Valavanis Bonsai Blog




On the way home from Manila I planned a short visit to Japan. It’s been 46 years since I’ve seen early spring in Omiya Bonsai Village. There is no way I could simply travel through Tokyo’s Narita Airport and not get off the plane to see bonsai. But, because of flight problems with United, I got stuck in Guam for six hours. Since I was “cheated” out of six hours of studying bonsai, I decided to stay in Japan for an extra day. Not too painful, but I’ll pay for it because of a scheduled workshop, show meeting and two more workshops a few hours after my “anticipated” return home, but I’m not there yet…. so who knows what will happen.


The main activity in Omiya Bonsai Village is transplanting. A repotting area was set up in each garden. Loads of soil prepared for each species, and in three…

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Bonsai Society of San Francisco 2016 exhibit

Auction Beech Trees

I know I’ve probably mentioned the auction being held by my local club  before, but for those who missed it be sure to check out the new trees just added, among them are a few very tasty Beech trees that have been developed over 25 years.

All the auction trees are now residing at my place and can be viewed here before the auction, just contact me first as climbing the fence results in dog bites and a lead injection 😀

Here’s the beech, and the auction page can be checked out HERE.


Berberis Clump Repot

I had hoped to get to this Berberis Clump sooner to do a little initial wiring but the tree had other ideas. As it’s been in this big plastic training pot for a few years I decided it was still ok to repot now and make it a little more manageable around the garden. I also wanted to get a closer look at the base to help me make my mind up on a front. For some older posts about it see, HERE, HERE and HERE

This was one option for the front. I’d chatted with Peter Warren about the tree when he was last here. He liked this option but said it would always look like a garden tree. He pointed out another option.

This is his option which I also love. Either would make a great tree. Time for a closer look.

Plenty of fine root in there

I didn’t have a lot of pot options but this one actually fitted the bill ok. Loppers show scale of this big fella.

A few alterations

and a few more…

And this is the final result. An even better base that I thought, still loads to do to make a bonsai out of this but I think it’s a keeper.

1.5 Million Hits

It would appear that while I wasn’t looking my blog has passed the 1.5 million hits mark.

After a slow year blog wise in 2015 I’m really trying to get back in the groove with the whole blogging carry on.

A big thank you to all who follow on a regular basis and even those who just pop in now and again for a wee look. Always feel free to comment, I enjoy the input and making new contacts around the world.