Crataegus Bonsai

After Crater Lake it would be hard to find anything in nature as inspiring on the rest of the trip. Therefore I switched to Bonsai for inspiration for the rest of the short time we had left :-). Leaving Klamath Falls we moved North West over the high desert and down into Portland. A chunk of this was done in the rain so we missed some mountain views along the way. It can’t always be perfect 🙂

My next stop was Michael Hagedorn’s place, Crataegus Bonsai. You should know who I’m talking about if you follow this blog. I reblog a lot of Michaels posts as they are always so informative and well timed for seasonal work. Michael also posts kusamono which as you know is also a major passion of mine. This was one spot I was really looking forward too. I had been emailing with Michael to plan my visit and although he had a class on, he was still keen for me to come.

The weather improved the closer we got and on arrival the sun was shining. We were met by Andrew Robson, Michael’s apprentice and shortly there after by Michael who was just finishing lunch with his students. One thing that stands out at every bonsai establishment I visited was the warm welcome, and here was no different. A very relaxed atmosphere and happy faces. This looks like a great environment to study. The Pacific Northwest is truly blessed with bonsai opportunities. Michael got the students to work and between times spent some time walking the garden with me. Andrew was also very helpful but I was pleased to be left to my own devices for a while and just study the trees.

And then a truly magical thing happened! My long suffering wife, who has had to deal with my addiction for 24 years, having hordes of people visit my house, catering for these visitors, etc etc. made a statement. ‘I get it’. Just three words, but I was floored. She explained that after Crater Lake and the amazing trees there, showing all the age and character that you could imagine, and then coming into a garden were the bonsai looked just like that, she got why I do this mad thing called bonsai. She swore me to secrecy and straight after I told Michael all about 🙂 I’ll get a stern look for posting this here too, but hey, live dangerously. So, if you have a spouse who doesn’t get it, take them to Crater Lake and then a tour of the bonsai spots in the Pacific Northwest. Real bucket list stuff.

I loved the variation in species at Crataegus and am fast falling in love with many of the American ones. Nice also to see Japanese Black Pines being developed from humble beginnings. I had a ball looking at the accents as well and Michael and I had a good chat about what plant types are used both there and back home. You’ll see from the photos that I didn’t miss many.

A massive thank you to Michael and Andrew for adding us to an already busy day.

The galleries just keep getting bigger! Apologies if there are any doubles but some are with the camera and some with the phone which causes me grief now I’m home. From here I moved on to Mirai, a little place in St Helens, you may have heard of it! I will be breaking it down into a few different post as the amount of photos I took was total greed!

 

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Nice Impostors

I planted up a dwarf Horsetail in this pot about 4 years ago and promptly neglected it among the others on my bench. Over the four years I had a few neighbouring plants move in of there own accord and have now made this their home. It’s also made my feeble efforts at kusamono look average.

New additions include, Rowan, Cotoneaster, Viola, and whatever the hell the big tall thing is. No clue, obviously brought in by the birds.

Accent: Natives

Rustyback Fern with Sedum gifted to me from County Cork and now in a Magic Ceramic Tray/tile.

Sea Thrift planted onto rock from the West of Ireland.

Accent: Edelweiss

A dwarf form of Edelweiss. Potter unknown.

Accent: Vitaliana

 

Loving this little native of Sierra Nevada. Maybe I’ll get to see some in the wild this month.

Pot Wallsall Ceramics.

Accent: Sisyrinchium Devon Skies

It’s had to beat a Sisyrinchium at it’s peak. This ‘Devon Skies’ is a new variety to me this year and seems to flower a little earlier than my other varieties.

 

Scilla siberica

This one keeps on giving, continuous flowering for over a month now and the seed pods now add to the look. Pot by Magic Ceramics

Bonsai 30

As most of you who follow my blog will know, I’m part of the Northern Ireland Bonsai Society. We have a special event coming up in September when we officially celebrate the 30th anniversary of our club. We are calling the event BONSAI 30. We have lined up an exhibition of bonsai from across Northern Ireland and from Republic of Ireland to showcase during this weekend event. We have worked with Belfast Parks to enable us to deliver this event at the Belfast Autumn Flower Festival at Botanic Gardens in Belfast on 17th & 18th September. We even have some guest exhibits coming from across the water in Scotland.

We aim to make this a fun event with free kids workshops and stands from Ikebana international among others, even a few trade stands. Plenty more to see both at the Fair and also around Belfast.

This is right in the heart of Belfast with plenty of hotels nearby along with shopping, restaurants and the odd bar 😉 The flyer for the event is below please share freely and if you feel the urge to pop over into Belfast for the weekend, the City Airport and a short train journey will bring you to us.

Kusamono Workshop

Better late than never, I’m posting a few photos from the kusamono workshop back at the start of June. June has been a hectic month for me and I’m only catching up on things now.

I must say that these workshops are probably the best days craic you’ll have here in my garage and that’s saying something. There’s been countless sessions here over the years, mostly bonsai orientated, but for sheer enjoyment these have been a treat to host. I only wish I could post a few of the other photos I have from the day but sadly I don’t want to offend anyone :-O

As you can see most photos have people smiling or laughing, just look at the delight on Ben’s face below.

Even from behind you can tell Kris is smiling. Just look at that high cheek dimple 🙂

However I did keep them busy…

We kept Bob outside… Only joking, despite his American origins he’s been in Northern Ireland longer than the Scottish and English contingent at the workshop put together.

Some of the efforts from the day, they’ve still to fill and mature but are all great starting points. First the kusamono.

Shitakusa

Even some Kokedama, mostly from the mossball king on the day, Kris 🙂

I’ll finish with Ben having a zen moment between his usual bouts of hyperactive verbal Englishness!

Next kusamono workshop will be Saturday 20th August.

Esprit Bonsai – Soldanella

Another great article from my plant swapping buddy Xavier in Esprit Bonsai issue 82. And even better, my Soldanella in a Magic Ceramics pot made an appearance.

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A nice article on the Pacific Bonsai Museum too, hoping to visit myself next year at some point.

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