I got out collecting again a few weeks ago with Phil. We managed to get back on to our old Hawthorn site. As my shoulder and neck are not really up to the task any more, I had Jeff my spade buddy along to help. It was Jeff’s first time collecting and after wind hail and even snow, it might be his last 🙂

Part of the site

Jeff perched on the edge

Dayglo Phil


Up in the heights

I see him

That one can stay where it is!

Jeff playing hide and seek, he’s very good at it.

The weather moved in. Grim 😦

Hard to light up 🙂

Some of the booty

Just before I dropped my phone in the muck!

Too big but beautiful, and the trees not bad either.

I got some smaller Blackthorn as well as Hawthorn. At the end of the day I had some potted up and black bagged. Giving this a go to see what the results are like.

That was 2 weeks ago, I opened a bag today and the budding is going well.

A big thank you to Jeff for doing the heavy lifting for me. I haven’t heard from him since! Only joking.


Some Day’s Are Made For Collecting

Managed to get out with Phil collecting yesterday and amazingly the sun came out!

To be honest the day was more about getting permissions to collect in place and preparing some trees for collection in a few years time, but it was a successful day all the same with a few new additions to the garden. We have a rather special Hawthorn site that we haven’t used for a few years. The owner has since passed away and we were seeking permission from the new owner. After calling and speaking to his wife we were hopeful of getting back on the site. I was then left a voice mail saying we couldn’t collect. We were gutted! 😦 Then today out of the blue, he rang back to say yes, collect away!!! 😀 I think in all my years collecting I’ve only been turned down once and that was a tree from a garden. I was really gutted to think we’d never get back on this special site. Being able to take your time collecting, being selective and legal is the only way to go.

In case you are wondering, these snaps are not the site 😉

And The Rest…

… of the pines, now tucked away in the tunnels. Mixture of Scots and Lodgepole.










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.

Blogging From the Bog

I did a live post yesterday from the bog while we were collecting Scot’s Pine. It was a rare sunny day and as usual turned out to be one of the highlights of the bonsai year. Good company good craic, and good results.

Funny story, guess who forgot to put the memory card in the camera? Yep me! Luckily Stephen had his camera with him and I copied his card Phew! This means that I was actually in a few photos and there is evidence that I do actually do a little work.

Highlight of the day for me was watching Phil Fingers stepping into a hole and sinking into freezing water up to the knee. The usual abuse was given only for me to find a different hole a few minutes later. 😀

We cut back a few larger trees to collect at some point in the future. The land owner says that they’ll still be there for a while and we are the only people who he trusts to collect on the site. Therefore we can go longer term with a few of them.

We collected a few smaller ones and finished early enough to get everything potted up in the one day.

Here’s some photos courtesy of Stephen.

Sorry Spruce

After our collecting trip back in February we came back with some rather nice Spruce. Most came with good rootballs and are still thriving well into there second flush of growth this year.

This one was always going to be touch and go as it had very little root. It went to Phil’s poly tunnel were it spent some time on his heat bed in an attempt to stimulate enough growth to survive. Sadly it didn’t make it. What a pity, it would have made a tasty tree.

Hardening Off

I decided yesterday to do a little shuffling of trees that had been collected in the Spring. Well, when I say me, I mean my two sons working under my direction.

Most where still in poly tunnels and I wanted to get them out to harden off a bit. The foliage as you can see here shows that most have responded well after collecting. There was a mixture of Scots Pine, Spruce and Larch.

I’m running rather low on space!! Had to add a few temporary benches to facilitate them.

All squeezed in! With trees visiting on holiday care it’s a tight fit!

Mouldy Old Spruce

Stephen and I took a closer look at the Spruce we collected back in February. They have been in a poly tunnel all this time and have been way in the back were it was hard to check. With me being rather indisposed of late, it’s been hard to keep a close eye on what was happening. All looked good from the front, but when we got a closer look, we found that one of the Spruce had a patch of bad mildew due to poor air circulation and high humidity.

Stephen hoses out some old needles that had gathered in the dense foliage, this hadn’t helped with the mildew either.

The other side of the tree is still covered with lush growth.

It had been in the back corner.

Stephen slipped along the side and opened up all the air vents to allow for better circulation. That keg is really starting to get in the way!!

What was good to see was new roots emerging on all the Spruce. They are in pure Sphagnum moss.

We’ve just got the second budding and also signs of good back budding as well.

Potting Up

Yesterday saw us potting up the remaining Scots Pine and getting them into the poly tunnels. As usual I had the camera in hand. Some would say that this is a cunning ploy for me to avoid the heavy lifting, that is not the case but is a rather handy bonus 🙂

Phil considering binning this one!!

Phew, he’s only removing some of the grass from the root ball.

We managed to find a few interesting heathers as well.

and some rather nice lichen with red flowering trumpets.

The watering area before placing into the tunnels

Smudge doesn’t care about the Pines’ ‘Just throw the Ball Phil!!’

More watering

Important to keep watering until the water runs clear. The grit is dusty and all the fine particles need to be washed out of the bottom.

The Old Tunnel

and the new tunnel

the rest went to Phil’s place to go on his heat bed for a month or so. These were the trees with poorer root systems.

This was our last collecting trip this Spring. If all goes well we are looking at further collecting in the Autumn.