100 Days in Lockdown

For those who follow me on Instagram you’ll know that back on day 1 of lockdown in Northern Ireland I decided that it might be fun to do a daily post there and, thanks to Facebook global domination, share it their as well.

Here we are 100 days later and I’ve decided it’s a nice round number to stop at. I’ve enjoyed doing the posts but time to resume my more chaotic posting system. As you can plainly see I’m also trying to breath life into this blog. As usual I’ll get carried away and no doubt I’ll slow it down to a drip 💧

As I posted precious little here during lockdown I thought I’d add a gallery as well of some of the trees etc that I posted over the last 100 days.

European Bonsai San 2019

I’ve put most of this up on social media during the exhibition but I wanted to record the event here on my blog with a few words about the event.

This was my first time attending EBSS and I was blown away with the standard of the exhibition but more so the relaxed atmosphere in which it is run. Others exhibitions could learn from this. You could walk the display area and take photos and not once did I feel others doing this was an inconvenience to me. In fact I think photos being shared on social media probably attracts more of a buzz around the event and gains more visitors year on year. I know I was one of them this year.

Here is a rather large gallery of photos from the event all taken off my phone. Apologies if the odd shot was taken from someone else on social media as I saved a few to my phone. I’ll do a few separate posts covering the demos and accents etc just to split it up a little. Enjoy.

One to One with John

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

Some pics.

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.

Belated July Break photos

Since retirement I have a new tradition of my own. I make sure I’m not in Northern Ireland on the 12th July. Some will know what I’m talking about, for those who don’t, please google, I’m not wasting my time typing it out. I’m glad I got away on the 11th THIS is what happened in my home town on the 11th night

Anyway, I escaped to the far end on Ireland, to my friend Mark’s place. Mark has a great bonsai collection but the main purpose of our trip was to relax and both Mark and Val know how to do that well 🙂 Here’s a gallery of the photos I took, all with my phone. They show my continuing fascination with graveyards (sorry) and where taken in Cobh (pronounced Cove for the uninitiated) Ballycotton, West Cork and Lismore Castle in Tipperary. Some nice inspirational trees in there as well of course.

Peter Warren Weekend @ Munster Bonsai Club

Last weekend I was invited as a guest of Munster Bonsai Club to attend the Peter Warren two day workshop hosted by the Cuan Mhuire Garden Centre in Bruree. I wasn’t going to miss the opportunity to watch and listen to Peter at work so popped down to road to Limerick to see the action. Peter flies under the radar in the bonsai world, a self confessed self deprecating personality with a unique but practical approach to bonsai cultivation and design, always putting the tree first over the owner. A true tree lover, you could almost call it Budan love 😉

We had two glorious days in the Limerick sunshine and even had to move outside to stop melting at one point. With 6-7 participants each day and a few added observers we had a pretty full house. It was great to meet up with a few people who to date I’d only texted with prior. More bonsai friendship in action, what it’s all about and makes for a fun weekend.

Congratulations to Munster Bonsai, especially Mark and Michael for organising and hosting the weekend. Your club continues to push bonsai learning and September marks 5 years from the point where we started this journey together in a Hurling Club in Cork. A long way in a short time.

Below is a gallery of some of the photos taken included before and after pics for the overly curious and many shots capturing the days activity. Some are a little out of order but you’ll figure it out.

Crater Lake – A Magical Place

Of all the places I have EVER been, Crater Lake is the most magical I have ever seen. There. That’s a bold statement. I’ve seen some nice spots in my time on this planet but there was something about this place that was magical, spiritual, call it what you will, but it left both of us in true awe at the sight of the place. It helped than there wasn’t to many other people about. It wasn’t hard to wander off along the rim and find a quiet spot were not a single sound of humans could be heard.

It’s the deepest lake in the United Sates and was formed 7700 years ago. The local Indian tribe treated it as a religious site and only people of wisdom were allowed to view it. That’s obviously stopped if I was there, but I take their point. It’s special.

The views as you see are truly stunning and even though I was only able to visit a small portion of the rim due to snow, it was spectacular to see it in this rugged condition. I will be back in the future to ride that rim, all 33 miles of it.

The trees, Mountain Hemlock and Limber Pine were showing every bit of the tough conditions they have to survive in. I stood for a long time studying the deadwood and taking inspiration from natures shaping of these old characters. Surely Mountain Hemlock should be utilised more for bonsai?

I have probably overdone the gallery yet again, but what could I leave out!