Hosta Parade

I think I have another addiction 🙈

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Fencepost Cedar

Well that’s what I call it. I’ve played with this tree for years watching it progress slowly. It adds a bit of colour in the display and despite all its faults I still like to stop and look it it, even though it’s usually to figure out what I’d like to change 😂

some older shots of it over the years. Back when I made a Horlivka of the carving 😀This was it in 2016

Bud-Ten Bunratty

From small acorns mighty oaks grow….

It was an absolute pleasure to be be involved with Ray Egan at Bud Garden Centre in Bunratty and watch the first (and not the last) Bud-ten exhibition come together.

Bud Garden Centre in the Shadow of Bunratty Castle

Ray is one of guys who works hard in the background to push bonsai forward in Ireland and do it in the right way. From a chat last year over a few beers when he talked about hosting a Japanese Gardening Weekend at Bud including bonsai, to what just transpired last weekend, it’s been a rollercoaster.

Ray hard at work

Bud is nestled away in a corner opposite the historic Bunratty Castle and although small, offers plants missing from most garden centres. Ray hosts monthly meetings for the Munster Bonsai Club of which he’s a founding member.

Ray asked if I’d help pull the bonsai side of things together and as things progressed I ended up down the rabbit hole 🙂

Ray invited me to judge the exhibition so he could award deserving trees and help encourage exhibitors to push the standard of their display. The exhibits are from various people at a wide range of levels but Ray encouraged many of his fellow club mates to exhibit for the first time for the experience. Here’s the exhibition and the winning trees.

Japanese White Pine Best in Show -Michael Guerin

 

 

 

Higa Siama Japanese Maple Best Broadleaf in Show – Michael Guerin 

Shohin Rack Best Display in Show -Stephen and Vanessa Dodds, Ben Follis, Ray Egan

Best Shohin -Itiogawa Juniper Stephen Dodds

Best Accent – Dodecatheon Paul Lynam 

Best Native Elm -Steven Short

Best Conifer Japanese White Pine- Mark Cashman

Best Tree Pot Combo K. Hornbeam on left in Beko pot – Dermot Woods

Best Mame Musk Maple on left – Kris Stoker

And a few other photos of exhibits

 

 

The accents from the show.

 

WE had some fun social evenings with bonsai enthusiasts from all three clubs in Ireland getting together with our partners for food and drink.

Dangerous putting these girls together!

On the bank holiday Monday, after the exhibition had ended, I delivered a Kusamono workshop for 11 people and afterwards gave a talk on beginning bonsai for the public.

Friends old and new being brought together all weekend.

A massive that you to all those who made the weekend such a success, Visitors, exhibitors, helpers but most importantly to the man below, without Ray’s drive and commitment this simply wouldn’t have happened.

Building an Empire – Advanced Course 2

Oscar Jonker has been working his magic again on Bonsai Empire. He’s been teaming up with Bjorn Bjornholm again to bring us the second part of the Advanced course.

I’d been wondering where Empires quality content could take us next and I wasn’t disappointed. Having early access and little time of my own to watch so much content, I sat down one evening to speed review the sections. Well, that didn’t work of course! I ended up binge watching it like a season of Game of Thrones 🙂 Addictive stuff this bonsai thing.

If you have watched any of the previous courses on Bonsai Empire you’ll know that you will always get high quality content filmed to a very high standard and edited well cutting to the chase every single time. Advanced Course 2 Didn’t deviate from this in any way.

Highlights for me were the section on display and I hope this will be taken further in the future. Some great case studies in there too looking back on previous work and bringing us up to date with were these trees are now in their development. This covers both conifers and broadleaf species.

Here’s a preview

What’s next Oscar? 🙂 Keep them coming my friend.

Sign up for Advanced Course 2

 

 

LAB Project Part 2

As an avid follower/listener of the Mirai Asymmetry podcast I was already acquainted with the ambitious LAB Project being delivered by the Pacific Bonsai Museum I had been driving and listening to the guys discussing the first session and found myself wanting to pull over just to see what the tree, stand and pot combo actually looked like having missed part one live. When I did manage to get a look on the PBM website I wasn’t disappointed.

I can only say that all these guys are truly nuts!! I couldn’t think of anything harder to achieve in bonsai, three separate elements being created simultaneously by three different artists and expecting it to mesh. A seriously ambitious project from Aaron Packard.

Pacific Bonsai Museum’s LAB (Living Art of Bonsai) is a four-part, multi year-long experiment investigating
1) the influence of inspired architectural settings and

2) the effect of collaboration re sequencing on the art of bonsai. The overall goal of the project is to advance innovation and artistic expression in bonsai.

Here’s the highlights reel from the first session.

I have a soft spot for PBM having visited the museum back in 2017 and viewed the natives exhibition. Having missed part one of the LAB project I fully intended to live stream the second part. At 2pm PDT this translated to a very view-able 10pm GMT for me. Then to my delight Aaron dropped me an email offering me the opportunity to review the content live in Part two. I just love the bonsai community 🙂

 

On April 6, 2019, Pacific Bonsai Museum presents The LAB Session 2 // The Site of Bonsai: Focus on the Vessel & Tree-potting //.
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Watch the live action as Ron Lang, Austin Heitzman, Ryan Neil, and Aarin Packard take bonsai where it’s never gone before. Take part in the discussion via chat.
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LIVE STREAM Tickets ON SALE NOW at @pacificbonsaimuseum (link in bio) / http://pacificbonsaimuseum.cleeng.com

 

Looking forward to being a part of this live experience.

Deshojo Maple Airlayer

This maple was brought to me last April for work. It was weak and in examination of the base a full half of the trunk base was dead and rotting away.

I explained to the owner that things would get worse fast with the rotted wood coming away and creating an ugly base. It was obviously also having an impact on the general health of the tree. We opted to layer the tree just above the rotted base at the first point were a full 360 of live tissue could be cut into. We potted it into fine akadama topped off with a thin layer of moss to aid water retention.

Last week the tree came back to me for work and removal of the layer if successful.

Above you can see extension on the tree, even on the lower branches. A good sign.

We removed the pot and found a full 360 of radial roots in great shape. It looked like a hula dancers grass skirt. It had even rooted well above the rotted area where sap full would have been weak.

We worked the roots out to soften the edge and even removed some that had rooted above the callous line into the moss and that would have created an uneven nebari. The stump underneath was whittled away with knob cutters.

You can see on the stump of the old base that a full 180 degrees of the trunk was dead at the base.

We took some time to spread out the roots and potted the tree in a spare pot of mine that allowed more room front to back and a little more depth. I’m fairly confident that this tree will fill this pot in a single year.

The top got a light pruning. The low branches may annoy some but I actually like the image. Better this than a dead tree in a few years. We repotted the original stump out of interest to see the rootmass. The rotted portion just fell away and what roots were there were very poor indeed.

Blackthorn

I collected this little Prunus spinosa or Blackthorn back in Spring 2017. It look a while to get roots established with very little taking place in the first year. Last year it did well in the sphagnum miss it was potted in and I transferred it over into a proper mix this spring. It’s new pot is a little grand for it but was all I had on the shelf that would accommodate the roots safely. Stone Monkey pot by Andy Pearson. The tree is unsettled. No wiring or scissor work done. It’s just as nature made it.

Last Session in Leinster….

…..For now.

Sunday was my last of 6 booked sessions with the Leinster Bonsai Club in Dublin.

It’s been fun working with a group with a varied level of knowledge and ability and trying to pitch each session with just the right balance of theory vs Practical. In the last two years I’ve completed 12 sessions with them and enjoyed every one. I just hope they have too 😂

Plans seem to be afoot for continuing the relationship but spread out more evenly over the calendar year.

A massive thank you to Tom and Paul for all the organisational work and of course to those taking part during the last six months. Also thanks to Max who always grabs some photos during the sessions which I never remember. Here are the ones I stole from yesterday’s session. A tree critique that turned into a practical session 😀

Repotting Theory & Practical

On Saturday I took a day out of one to one workshops to do a Theory and Practical Repotting Day with Munster Bonsai Club at Bruree in Limerick.

I had been asked to focus on this in a session to aid newer members in getting the fundamentals right and gain some new skills.

We had a run through of the why what when and how via PowerPoint and Q&A before a Practical session with club members repotting their own trees and helping others.

I think this was one of the best feel good club days I’ve ever experienced from the outside. A great club. A massive thank you to all those who yet again came out to support a club event. They have been coming thick and fast for a club pushing their learning hard.

Here’s some photos from the day some mine some stolen.

Busy Week on the Road

It’s been a busy week down in the South of Ireland doing some one to one sessions with friends from Cobh, Cork, to Limerick then Dublin. Some good times had and great trees played with. A little styling and refinement and, as you’d expect, some repotting.

Here’s some photos from the trip. snow on the way home as usual in Dublin. Thank you to all who supported the road trip. Back again images weeks for another round.