Sitka Spruce

My Sitka Spruce got another wiring, the second time this year. I’ll not be wiring it in Spring again that’s for sure.

2017

2018

2019 before wiring

and after

and back in 2012 as a reference.

and before collection.

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Adam One to One

some recent tweaking and tidying up with Adam’s trees.

Japanese White Pine before and after.

Chinese Juniper before and after

A few others.

 

 

Bjorn Workshop and the 9/11 Scots Pine

A week yesterday, where does the time go! I was taking part in a group Workshop in Belfast with Bjorn Bjorholm. I missed him the last time he visited due to a holiday but this time I grabbed a slot with Belfast Bonsai’s event.

My tree for the day was only a recent addition to my collection but a tree that I have a special connection to. It belonged to my best friend Stephen who was letting a few of his bigger trees go due to the fact that they were bigger than him. Sorry Stephen, I can’t resist 🙂 The tree was originally purchased as raw material from Willowbog Bonsai back in the late 90’s.

I helped Stephen with it’s first styling on 11th September 2001, a date that will forever stay in my memory and why I call the tree the 9/11 Scottie. I can remember standing wiring this tree with Stephen when my wife knocked the window and told us to come inside. We watched the horror unfold.

When Stephen told me he was selling it all these years later I didn’t hesitate to buy it. I have a few trees that have sentimental value to me because of who used to own them but this tree resonates for a different reason. I’ve dealt with a fair bit of stress in my life including Post Traumatic Stress and, for whatever reason, this tree seems to echo back to a time where those involved and survived no doubt have many of the same issues I have. This probably sounds stupid unless you’ve experienced something similar. Anyway, it’s my tree for my reasons and I suppose that’s all that really matters. It seemed fitting for an American Bonsai artist to carry out the work some 18 years later nearly to the day.

This is the tree back in 2001\2.

and a few other pics of it over the years.

and how it was prior to the workshop.

And this is a gallery of the workshop day with my tree.

The finished tree.

A massive thank you to Bjorn. It was pleasing to see that he was as enthusiastic about the tree and result as I was.

A new pot in the Spring more suited to the style and the tree will live on as a memory for me.

 

Developing Deciduous Bonsai Course

Im always happy to review the latest Bonsai Empire course when it hits the internet. This time its Developing Deciduous Bonsai with Mauro Stemberger, Harry Harrington and Walter Pall.

Deciduous work I feel is often under promoted in bonsai circles and I can see this resource being a great addition to what’s available and can be valuable to many bonsai enthusiasts out there.

This course differs in a few ways from the usual Bonsai Empire offerings. Firstly, with three different teachers with three different approaches, we can see that there is more than one way to achieve results. Secondly, the volume of content is higher. Perhaps it’s not as concise as the fundamentals course from Michael Hagedorn or Bjorn’s Bjorholm’s Beginner through to Advanced courses, but this course has its own feel. It’s like getting a front row seat to a lecture or demonstration and being able to sit for 30-40 minutes at a time being entertained. Boil the kettle and get a coffee in hand and sit back.

I haven’t had the time to watch all the content, there’s a lot, but I did get a look at a considerable amount. I take this reviewing seriously you know 🙂

There is a lot of knowledge being shared and I think most enthusiasts will pick up something new by listening to the artists.

Harry has some great info regarding carving and collecting yamadori. As a fellow collector it’s good to hear the approach of others and compare.

Mauro’s content was excellent and enjoyable to watch with good knowledge being imparted.  For those who want to get to grips with wiring, his how to wire section was well planned out and executed. Not an easy task teaching wiring and this is as good a example as I’ve seen in a while.

Walter delivers in his own unique style and has a lot of his knowledge to share. His hedge pruning technique, much discussed in bonsai circles, is explained in depth. I think many people, myself included, perhaps judged without the full story. Now, I’m not saying I’m a covert but depending on your personal circumstances and your material you might get some use out of this technique. If nothing else, he’s entertaining and he knows it.

Perhaps one of the surprises of this course was the bonus material from Jan Culek, an artist who’s work I admire. He goes deep on rock planting, another subject close to my heart and I found this content very watchable.

For 10 hours of content, made to the usual high standard we now expect from Bonsai Empire, I feel that most enthusiasts, especially those without access to a good club, will be very happy with the lifetime access that Bonsai Empire gives you.

Here’s some further information about the course and a link to sign up.

About the course
Title: Developing Deciduous Bonsai
Three free lessons are available for preview there.
Published: Sept 7
Lectures: 26
Duration: 10 hours
Price: $64.99 for lifetime access
Description:
The Developing Deciduous Bonsai course is centered exclusively on Deciduous and Broadleaf evergreen tree species. The teachers (Mauro Stemberger, Walter Pall and Harry Harrington) explain how goals, as well as techniques, should be approached differently in the main developmental stages of Deciduous Bonsai. Learn about setting the main branch structure of a tree, creating ramification, carving, deciduous apex design, yamadori collection, wiring, creating rock plantings and much more.

Change of Date Bonsai & Beer

Due to a change of Taproom opening dates we are now holding Bonsai and Beer a week earlier on 20th October.

Hope to see some of you at Boundary Brewing for a a tasty beer and talk bonsai.

Workshop @ Bud

Last weekend I had the pleasure of delivering a workshop in partnership with Bud Garden Centre in Bunratty. A great day in good company. A massive thank you to Ray Egan at Bud for hosting us and his assistance during the day. Bud is fast becoming the gathering place for bonsai enthusiasts in the west of Ireland. Great to work with a mix of old faces and new and see such enthusiasm. Here’s some random pics taken today. I hardly got any myself. These are mostly stolen.

 

One to One with John

Another day with trees in Dublin, this time with John is his beautiful garden.

Some pics.

One to One with Derek

A few snaps from today’s one to one with Derek in Dublin.

Garden Changes

Two weeks ago I started the process of removing the grass from my back garden. More space for display and additional drainage due to seasonal flooding were my aims.

This was the starting point.

First step was getting a micro digger in.

Next up was 16 tonne of stone, some decorative some for drainage.

Then it was time to start adding trees. I opted to use temporary bench legs while I figure out the layout that suits me best. I’ll replace them when I’m 100% on the spacing etc. I’ve also a few monkey poles to add and some underplanting. I’m also looking for a nice piece of bog oak to use as a sculpture/feature. I’m still looking.

That’s the front part of the garden nearly complete. Next up is the back with a new Polytunnel.

Hosta Parade

I think I have another addiction 🙈

rock is