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.

 

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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.

 

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.

Munster Manoeuvres

A big thank you to all those in Munster stretching from Middleton to Ennis who allowed me to work on their trees last week. Some great craic and I was well looked after at every stop on the way.

Here’s a few photos snapped along the way some general some before and some after.

Iwasaki Japanese White Pine

I’ve been looking for a Japanese White Pine for a while, but something a little different than the usual shaped pines we see everywhere. Back at the start of the Winter I was offered one that fitted the criteria.

Peter Warren of Saruyama Bonsai had imported some JWP that had been part of the Daizo Iwasaki collection. I had the pleasure of wiring one of them back in January 2017 whilst studying at Saruyama Towers. I think this was the catalyst to my desire for one. Peter had sold one in the Autumn of 2016 but it just come back into his hands as part of a swap deal and I jumped at the chance of buying it.

This is it back in Japan where Peter first spotted it.

The tree arrived with me just before Christmas, along with Mr Warren 🙂 This is a few angles before we started work.

Getting down to work with the professional.

and afterwards……

I love this tree, a spreading multi apex image and out of the normal cookie cutter Pine image. A few branches are a little behind development wise, especially around the back were we brought up a back branch to make the highest part of the tree. A few branches will be removed within a year or two. The last video clip is probably the best way to view it. It helps give a view of it’d funky quirky style and shows the real age and character in the trunk and branches. I look forward to developing this tree further, it should be a fun journey.

Thanks as always to Peter Warren, the most genuine bonsai professional out there, and, as the music playing in the last video says, ‘Go your Own Way’. 🙂 Let’s not run with the herd.

 

Wellington Dam

Our last night of camping was at Wellington Dam, the shore of which was littered with the skeletal remains of trees long dead. The deadwood here was truly ancient and worthy of a few photos. The next morning we went to the Preston River, the outflow from the Dam, to a place called the Honeymoon Pool. My brother-in-law Keith and I were the only two game enough to go in for a swim. The water was super cold having come out from the very base of the deep dam. After a few minutes it was quite pleasant though and a refreshing experience after a long walk around the Dam itself.

Itook some video with my phone as well as the usual barrage of photos.

Goblin Swamp

One of the most unusual places we visited on our camping trip was the Goblin Swamp at Snottygobble Loop. Yeah, that’s what it’s called 🙂

Tucked away in a pretty hard to find spot, long kept secret by the locals, this swamp was small but packed with a low lying area full of old tangled, tortured looking melaleuca trees, better known as paperbarks. I was spellbound. The age of these trees is unknown but of all the Melaleuca I saw in Australia these topped the chart. Trunk movement to keep your head spinning for days. The swamp water was a red colour with the tannin leeching out of the trees. You can see why the swamp got it’s name. It could easily be used as a location in a Lord of the Ring movie. Aussie Orcs! I’d loved to have been there as the light faded for more photos but sadly we had to move on.

Here’s the gallery which also included a few snaps from along the 500m path from the campsite to the swamp.

Climbing to New Heights

As part of my tour south of Perth last November we did some camping in areas known for large Karri Trees aka Eucalyptus Diversicolour. These are beautiful trees with peeling bark and soaring apexes . They are also survivors as they cope with bush fires frequently over their life span.

I have added some photos in a Gallery showing our trip through the area over the first couple of days camping. First night was a free camp at a stunning pool called Greenbushes. I think this was my favourite spot of all 10 days camping.

We then moved onto Pemberton (via Beedelup Falls), a logging town and home of one of the two Bush Fire lookout trees I climbed. The first one was called the Gloucester Tree 53 metres tall. These are trees that have rebar spikes hammered into them in a spiral to the top were a platform gives you a commanding view of the surrounding bush. They used to have Rangers at the top of these watching for fires. Helicopters have now taken over this role. I visited the museum in Pemberton and took a few snaps of the old photos of the tree being prepped for climbing and a few of the bigger ones being logged. It’s a scary climb and one my knees will never forget! But worth it to see out over the bush. I thought one was enough but my Aussie family thought other wise. The took me to the Dave Evans Bicentennial Tree 75 m (246 ft) and I climbed that as well. Even taller and a scarier climb to boot. It’s a real pity that the biggest of them have been logged. Australia as a whole have logged the biggest and the best and we have lost some stunning trees. They say that Mountain Ash on the Eastern coast were taller even than the Coastal Redwoods in California, but the tallest ones up to 143 metres were felled. you can read more info about the Karri on the photos themselves.

Tingle Trees

Western Australia has a 6000 hectare area which has the only Tingle trees in the world. Also know as Eucalyptus Jacksonii, this species is one of the tallest species in the world and in many ways reminded me of the Coastal Redwoods in California. These shallow rooted, buttressing trees have also managed to survive the bush fires and in many cases have hollow trunks so common in Redwoods.

I had the pleasure of visiting the Valley of the Giants near Walpole and taking the tree top walk there. I also visited the ancient Tingle tree and other surrounding Red Tingles with amazing character. 2017 really was a year of tree inspiration for me.

Here’s a few video clips that help capture the size of these trees and a gallery of photos for the Red Tingles.