Close Up

A few trees in close up from European Bonsai San 2019

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Accents of European Bonsai San 2019

Some of the accents that caught my eye at the show.

Bud-Ten Bunratty

From small acorns mighty oaks grow….

It was an absolute pleasure to be be involved with Ray Egan at Bud Garden Centre in Bunratty and watch the first (and not the last) Bud-ten exhibition come together.

Bud Garden Centre in the Shadow of Bunratty Castle

Ray is one of guys who works hard in the background to push bonsai forward in Ireland and do it in the right way. From a chat last year over a few beers when he talked about hosting a Japanese Gardening Weekend at Bud including bonsai, to what just transpired last weekend, it’s been a rollercoaster.

Ray hard at work

Bud is nestled away in a corner opposite the historic Bunratty Castle and although small, offers plants missing from most garden centres. Ray hosts monthly meetings for the Munster Bonsai Club of which he’s a founding member.

Ray asked if I’d help pull the bonsai side of things together and as things progressed I ended up down the rabbit hole 🙂

Ray invited me to judge the exhibition so he could award deserving trees and help encourage exhibitors to push the standard of their display. The exhibits are from various people at a wide range of levels but Ray encouraged many of his fellow club mates to exhibit for the first time for the experience. Here’s the exhibition and the winning trees.

Japanese White Pine Best in Show -Michael Guerin




Higa Siama Japanese Maple Best Broadleaf in Show – Michael Guerin 

Shohin Rack Best Display in Show -Stephen and Vanessa Dodds, Ben Follis, Ray Egan

Best Shohin -Itiogawa Juniper Stephen Dodds

Best Accent – Dodecatheon Paul Lynam 

Best Native Elm -Steven Short

Best Conifer Japanese White Pine- Mark Cashman

Best Tree Pot Combo K. Hornbeam on left in Beko pot – Dermot Woods

Best Mame Musk Maple on left – Kris Stoker

And a few other photos of exhibits



The accents from the show.


WE had some fun social evenings with bonsai enthusiasts from all three clubs in Ireland getting together with our partners for food and drink.

Dangerous putting these girls together!

On the bank holiday Monday, after the exhibition had ended, I delivered a Kusamono workshop for 11 people and afterwards gave a talk on beginning bonsai for the public.

Friends old and new being brought together all weekend.

A massive that you to all those who made the weekend such a success, Visitors, exhibitors, helpers but most importantly to the man below, without Ray’s drive and commitment this simply wouldn’t have happened.

Trophy Trees

Here’s a selection of photos from the Trophy.

There’s Always One

This was the most used phrase on this trip away with friends 🙂 Folk getting lost, falling asleep, trying to open their hotel room with a credit card, Getting threw out of the demo for eating mustard dripping hotdogs in the front row, breaking a pot on a trader stand, trying to bluff their way into the priority boarding queue for their flight, the list was endless. But what a great few days we had on the road at the Trophy.

Here’s a few general pics of our travels. Photos of trees in exhibition to follow shortly.

Leinster Bonsai Club Autumn/Winter Group Sessions

I’m delighted to have been invited back to the Leinster Bonsai Club to run another 6 group sessions starting in October and running through the Winter to March 2019. These sessions are being tailored to the requests for the club members and will include hands on workshops as well as an in depth  look at repotting, wiring, design etc.

Session are being held once a month on a Sunday starting at 10am in Mounttown Community Centre, Mounttown. Dates below:

21st October /18th November/16th December/20th January/17th February/10th March.

This fast growing club is open to new members and welcomes new faces at meetings. If you are interested in signing up for these 6 sessions,  CONTACT THEM HERE.

Here’s a few snaps from last Winters sessions.

Noelanders Trophy 2018

Another great Trophy last weekend. That’s my second Trophy attendance two years in a row thanks to my good friend Harry who facilitated my flying visit again. Cheers Harry.

I think I enjoyed this one more than the last. This was mostly due to the traders being in the same slots as last year making it a lot easier to get round the two halls and find what I needed. I was also able to purchase pretty much all the pots I was seeking. I know my carry on luggage wouldn’t have taken any more.

The exhibition was just as you’d expect, a few that looked out of place, most fitted the bill, and of course, a few outstanding trees. I walked the trees with friends on the Saturday and I picked the spruce as my personal best in show. Great to see it getting the best Conifer award.

Great to meet up with old friends and new. Apologies to those who I didn’t get to meet. My phone died half way through the day and I was unable to make contact with a few people to hook up. Sorry Xavier, next time my friend 🙂

Apologies as all my own photos are from my phone and quality is low. These are in the gallery below. However the following quality photos are courtesy of Oscar at Bonsai Empire along with the video. Enjoy.

Noelanders 2017 Flying Visit

When my friend Harry in the Netherlands kindly offered to collect me from Amsterdam airport and take me to The Noelanders Trophy on Saturday, who was I to say no 🙂 I jumped on an Easyjet flight (other airlines are available) and made my way with Harry over to Genk for all Saturday had to offer. Every year something seems to get in the way of a visit to Europe’s premier bonsai exhibition, this year I was not to be denied.

I spent my time mostly between the trade stands and the exhibition with an occasional look at the demos. At every point in between I bumped into old friends and new. Very much a social occasion as well as a bonsai event. Great to see you all, albeit only briefly in passing on my way around the venue.

I mostly honoured the no photographs rule within the exhibition, only stopping here and there to take a few general shots of crowds viewing the exhibits. I did manage to take a few random shots around the trade halls to capture the feel of the event, and a few in the demo area. There’s loads of photos of the show already doing the rounds of social media  that you can view, the best being the official shots on Bonsai Empire. See the winners there.

I will of course buy the gallery book of the event when it’s produced to remember the event. However, with the amount of people openly taking close up snaps of trees at the show and exhibitors doing the same and then posting these on social media on Friday and Saturday, I don’t really see why it’s been banned! Just ask for no tripods and request those taking snaps not to publish them until after the event is finished. I really can’t see this impacting on book sales. Just my opinion of course, we all have one 😉

Anyway, here are some random shots from the event.

A big thank you to the Belgium Bonsai Association for putting on this fantastic event. Well done.

A massive thank you to Harry and Anne for their amazing hospitality this weekend.

Saulieu 2016 – The Trees

My friend JP Reitz has a superb album of photos from Saulieu up on FlickR.

Click on the Image below to view. Enjoy 🙂

It’s Over!

Time to reflect and recover from what was a very successful weekend at the NIBS Bonsai 30 Exhibition.

The club has loads of photos to follow in a few days and these are being added to the Bonsai 30 Webpage as we go. Check in there to see some now but more to be added soon.

Here are a few of my own trees from the exhibition. It’s not until you get time to sit and look that you realise that tweaking was required after transportation to the event, a few branches knocked out of place. Not that I would have had time to sort them at any rate. I think that would be my main disappointment over the weekend, not getting enough time to really look at the trees on display and walk around with friends. I think we had roughly 18,000 through the event over the 2 days and every club member helping out gave their all to make sure both the trees and the public were happy.

Yew, Golden variety, collected from my Uncles garden 8 years ago.


Japanese Larch


Japanese Maple


Scots Pine






Yew grown from a cutting


Japanese Maple


Root over Rock Cotoneaster and a little Elm


Shohin Stand by Ringfort Design Studio –

Japanese White Pine, Pyracantha (not mine) Larch, Rose, Maple, Juniper.


Blue Cedar




Japanese White Pine




Rose 50% Ownership 🙂


Japanese Maple


A few missing, more to follow.