Gathering About Bonsai – Western Australia

I’m delighted to be working with the Bonsai Society of Western Australia this September. I’m returning to the area after my visit last year were I was truly inspired by the Aussie native species and I’m honoured to be able to help promote bonsai in Bunbury and the surrounding area.

All the details of the weekend are shown below. If you are in WA and are interested, please jump onboard and book your spot and come and enjoy the craic 🙂

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New Addition

I recently added a tree to my own collection. The Acer Palmatum below is a welcome sight in my garden.

Inspiration Walks

Always looking for inspiration from nature both for bonsai and for accents. Here’s a few pics from recent walks near my home.

Catch Up

As I haven’t posted much over the last few months I’m playing catch up with some of my photos. Here’s a few trees that have passed my way or are in my garden.

Oh To Be Young

A bit of a play on my surname there, ‘Young’, for those of you who only occasionally pop in for a look. This is my dad, the real Mr Young. 92 years old next month.  The photo shows him on a step ladder dismantling a green house back in February. I stood chatting to him for a few minutes, telling him he was mad, he told me I’d be getting cold standing there and to get inside! He built that greenhouse roughly 70 years ago.

About a month later he asked me about getting a polytunnel to replace the green house. I thought he was joking. Apparently not. I had to order one up for him. I asked him what plastic he wanted for it. He said to get the long life one 🙂 25′ x 10′ just so he can grow tomatoes.

 

 

Display Changes

This last month I’ve been making a few changes in the garden with the areas where I display my trees. It started off with getting next doors tree cut down as it was blocking all my light and it sort of got out of hand from there. Here’s it step by step in photos.

This was the tree causing the issues.

Then we carried on and cut back an over grown hawthorn hedge and removed a flower bed.

This left the hedge insecure, so a fence went up and a new display bed area created.

It was a bit of a nightmare getting rid of the hedge and tree.

I then took the head staggers and took away an old polytunnel. This left room for an extension to the display.

more changes to come but they’ll be dripped in as I have time.

 

Advancing with Bonsai Empire

I always feel privileged to be asked to review something on my blog, as long as the person asking expects to get an honest and fair review. When Oscar asked me to review Bonsai Empire’s latest course I was delighted to accept and as usual he stipulated, ” It goes without saying that we expect you to be completely honest in your review. ”

 

With that in mind I sat down to watch as much of the new Advanced Bonsai Course as I could to give a fair reflection of what’s on offer. I knew what to expect having been a big fan of the previous courses, especially the Bonsai Fundamentals Course with Michael Hagedorn.

I was interested to see if the approach had changed, we all know that in the last year there is plenty on offer for bonsai learning via live streaming. I had talked to Oscar about this at Noelanders back in February and we both agreed that there is room for both live streamed and archived content paying per month via Mirai and a concise online course such as those offered by Bonsai Empire for a one off payment. It’s a bit like trying to compare conifers and deciduous bonsai, both are great to have in your collection.

As usual, The Bonsai Empire website layout for the course is easy to use and allows to to start at the top and work your way through the content as intended, or skip to the bits you want to see.

Course highlights
– Advanced techniques – including grafting, heavy bending, detail wiring, nebari development, applying moss for display
– Wide selection of tree-species, in different stages of development
– Background information on philosophy and aesthetics
I started at the top and watched most of the content on philosophy and aesthetics and design. It’s obvious that Bjorn has put a lot of time into this section and as a lifetime resource, it will be a nice option to dip back into, especially the history and aesthetics portions. I did find it a little heavy going at times but a course should cater for all.
I then moved on to the techniques sections looking at Junipers, Pines and broadleaf trees. I was interested to see at what level this had been pitched. To call a course advanced, is a big decision, after all, what is advanced in bonsai terms? We all know the ladder of bonsai learning has more rungs than we can count and what’s advanced for one practitioner is perhaps common knowledge for another. I think the best way to state how this course is pitched is that it’s a perfect follow up for the Intermediate course. I’d be surprised if those who purchased the intermediate course weren’t the first to pre-order the advanced knowing the quality of content. I know a few friends who certainly did.
The techniques sections were well laid out, had top quality video content and were easy to follow with all the main points recapped at the end, but then we’ve come to expect this from all the Bonsai Empire content. Highlights for me were the design elements and Bjorn taking you step by step through his thought process. All the actual techniques were concisely explained and would be a good reference to revisit if you were trying these out for the first time.
It’s now clear after watching 90% of the content that there will be a Part 2 coming later in the year and as much as it would have been nice to see an instant follow up to the techniques used on the subject trees, we will have to be patient.
Have you watched all the content already? Here’s a challenge for you, who’s the first to comment below that’s spotted the amazing appearing then disappearing Ladybird/ Ladybug 🙂 Yes, I need to get a life 🙄
I’d normally at this point take the time to point out what I didn’t like, but Oscar has stuck with the tried and tested Bonsai Empire standard of quality and content which we have come to expect. We know what Bjorn delivers and it was nice this time to see species outside of Japan get covered in the content.
Bonsai Empire brings us Exhibition and demo content from all over the world via Youtube and is fast becoming our Bonsai News Channel and keeps us all informed of what is happening across the world. I’d love to see this network of contacts getting the opportunity for further bonsai Artists to deliver course content. It was great to see Michael Hagedorn’s different slant on bonsai and I’d love to see other artists step up and take the challenge, however, that’s Oscar’s call and to be honest, they have a hard act to follow.
Thanks for the opportunity to review this Oscar and Bjorn. I look forward to the next instalment.

Weekend at Saruyama Bonsai

It’s taken me a full week to thaw out but I’m able at last to feel my fingers and type out a blog post about my trip to Peter Warren’s Saruyama Bonsai aka Monkey Mountain.

Myself and a friend Mark from Cork flew over to Peter’s on the Friday and got stuck in to a full schedule of repotting over the next three days. Peter had lined up some great projects for the both of us with a heavy emphasis on learning and gaining experience with tricky techniques. Big trees featured a lot along with a wide range of species and a few rock planting creations. Friday was T Shirt weather but the snow greeted us on the Saturday morning but hard work kept us warm, mostly! Ireland beating England in the Six Nations Rugby in England on St Patrick’s Day also warmed the heart 🙂

Instead of adding a gallery of a gazillion photos I’ve put together a short video of the weekend. Many of the photos used were from a phone using a shivering hand, so apologies if some aren’t as clear as they should be.

Massive thank you to Peter and Satomi for a great weekend. Never stop learning folks.

 

New Pot for Chamaecyparis

I managed to pick up a nice Klika pot for this Chamaecyparis at Noelanders last month. I love Klika pots, I ended up with 3 that day. This is the tree in it’s new home.

Olive Repot

I picked up this Olive last year and wanted to transfer it into a new pot and examine more closely what was going on at the base and also inside the pot.

Roots looked good and I found a little more deadwood at the base.

Now into it’s new Klika pot.