It’s Time

The Trophy has arrived. Well, almost, I start travelling early tomorrow to spend Friday and Saturday at the Trophy. I’m normally only there for a few hours in and out on the same day. However this year seven of us are heading over together and meeting up with a few other travelling Irish when we get there. Looking forward to seeing old friends and quality trees. Hope to see some of you there.


The Bonsai Experience – Belfast 2015


Belvior Forest Walk

Took our regular Sunday walk in Belvoir Forest Park in Belfast this morning. It was one of those days when you see unusual things. When we reached the river a seal popped up and followed us for a while, I think it was fascinated by my dogs. The feeling was mutual 🙂 It must be a good few miles up river from Belfast Lough as you can see in the map below. We left the river and came back past it later on but on the other side and low and behold, there it was again.

While we where watching in a Kingfisher flew past, Stephen first even sighting which made it special. Add in some other local wildlife and it was a great walk.

Won’t be walking for a while now as I managed to wreck my ankle in the kitchen on the return home! It never ends lol

Stormont Estate

I took a short walk around part of the Stormont Estate this morning in Belfast. This is the home of the Northern Ireland Assembly. Some great views, a bit of history and lovely gardens.

Storm In a Teacup Bistro

Sight seeing in Belfast

Getting our bearings


Parliament Buildings

Front and centre

Allie reading up on her History



Signing of the Covenant

From the roof photo

Interesting point about tree planting

Who is Carson?

Statue on top of Parliament

Happy Stroll

Statue donated by Coventry, same statue also in places named on stones

Leafy paths everywhere

Smell the Roses, ‘Governors House’

‘Blue Moon’

Sunflower with radial bees






















Sunday Walk – Cavehill, Belfast

Sunday saw Stephen and my brother Phil join me for a hike up Cavehill overlooking Belfast. A lovely warm morning but a bit of a lung buster!

Snart on Tour Stop 2

Our second stop was Belfast, a few quick messages to be done and just enough time for Peter to get a look at the City Hall, Minus the flag, and the view from the top of Victoria Square.

Phil The Fingers Stag Night

If you follow this blog you’ll know that one of my closest friends, in bonsai or otherwise, is Phil, known for doing his best to get a two fingers salute into every photo I try and take.

Well, Phil has found someone that is willing to marry him, and I’ll be honest, he’s punching well above his weight 😉

Last night saw a few of us head out for an amazing meal at Macau on the Ormeau Road in Belfast and then on to a local bar for a few drinks. Some of us missed the real stag night and we decided to do a night out in Belfast instead.

Not many photos taken, but this one taken by ‘Eeyore’ also known as Mark, Phil’s brother and best man, pretty much sums up the night.

From left to right, Stephen the Bonsai Baker, me, tucked away at the back as I didn’t even bother to wear a proper shirt, Phil who you will notice is actually a lot smaller than Stephen, and lastly Sam, who yes Mark, is my brother 😉




Highlights of the night, good company, good food, Hugh’s Japanese toilet story, Phil kissing the bouncer and getting a kiss back, the Froch v Kessler fight, me not wearing a stripey shirt, and the best one, Eeyore not knowing that Sam was my brother. I can vaguely remember something about white shoes too!

Phil lining up the jagerbombs


The lone stag, a quiet moment of contemplation? Aye right  ❗ Strange to see his back without the Stonebridge Landscapes logo.


Photo’s From Cavehill, Belfast

Some photos from my walk this morning up Cavehill over looking Belfast and Belfast Lough. A bit misty at the top and some mist floating around the docks giving it a spooky look just in time for Halloween approaching.

Three photos in one using photomerge. Click it for a bigger image on FlickR.

Belfast docks

Holywood, County Down peeking out of the morning mist

Had to laugh at this 🙂 Bonsai Baker down on his knees to get a decent shot, then …

Enter Smudge stage left who whipped him round the face with a wet tail on the way past 🙂 …

and the look of, ‘WTF’ on Stephen’s face 😀

Inspiration in an old Scottie

Why they call it cavehill

These two cavemen heading home! Spoke to them briefly on the way up. Both obviously high as kites from last night and have gone for a wander up the hill. They tried to pet my dogs who managed to give them a wide berth! [Yes Stephen, I’m taking credit for the cavemen joke 🙂 ]

Haws catching the sun.

Hooded Crows catching the thermals

McArts Fort with a misty top.


About the only splash of colour

Maggie splashing in the puddles at the top

Looking over the flat top, I’m a shadow of my former self 😉

I said to Stephen, ‘Look a Chestnut Horse’. He said, ‘You mean a Horse Chestnut?’ Nope 🙂

Finishing on the down slope.

Flower Show Extras

I took a few more shots at the Autumn Flower Show on Sunday, as the last set seems to be of interest to many of you, here are some more.

A general shot of the main marquee


Not much point trying to photograph all the trees as the clutter backdrop ruins the tree.

Plenty of cacti at the show, sadly some kid ran her nail down a prize winning one ruining it forever as far as competitive showing goes. Sometimes I wonder why we bother going to all this hassle to display here.

Almost tree like

Sunlight was catching these blooms just right through the window.

Mega veg

Floral arrangements

Even wine, everything was at this show.

This will be my entry for the Belfast Parks Photographic Competition next year 🙂

And in the grounds, the Rose Garden

An old Yew. I was admiring the nebari and took a photo, I think the Mum in the background thought I was taking photos of her kids climbing the tree!! I thought she was going to call the police.

They were just around the corner 🙂

Scot’s Pine

Autumn Flower Show

I was putting a few trees into the Autumn Flower Show for the Club on Friday and I took a few photos while I was there.

The show is set in the grounds of Botanic Gardens in the Centre of Belfast. The grounds contain some interesting features. I haven’t a clue what the cows are about!

This old yes is long over due collecting 🙂

A park character

Watching this old hand prepare his dahlias for show was nice to see. This is a dying art as shows such as this start to disappear. What a pity.

Some of the Dahlias on display.

Cacti also on display.

Probably one of the worst ways to display bonsai in competitive classes, no back drop, low tables etc but it still allows the public a chance to see bonsai and perhaps lift one of the club cards available on the tables.

Perhaps I’ll get a few more photos today when I collect the trees.