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.

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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.

Auction Beech Trees

I know I’ve probably mentioned the auction being held by my local club  before, but for those who missed it be sure to check out the new trees just added, among them are a few very tasty Beech trees that have been developed over 25 years.

All the auction trees are now residing at my place and can be viewed here before the auction, just contact me first as climbing the fence results in dog bites and a lead injection 😀

Here’s the beech, and the auction page can be checked out HERE.

 

Connaught Bonsai Club?

Could it be that we could now bring bonsai into the last clubless Provence in Ireland?!

Nearly 3 years ago I, on behalf of the Northern Ireland Bonsai Society, helped start the Munster Bonsai Club and a year year the Leinster Bonsai Club. Both are still going strong. Cork and Dublin are the main anchor cities for these clubs and therefore offer a good population in which to recruit new members.

The hard part of bringing coverage to all of Ireland was always going to be the wild west! Connaught lacks the population density of the rest of Ireland but what a place to go hunting yamadori 🙂 I have contact with a few bonsai enthusiasts over that way in Galway and Sligo but never anyone willing to give setting up a club or study group a go…… until now 🙂

I’ve been contacted via my blog by Tim, who not only wants to try and start a club but also has 40 years experience in bonsai. A great starting point for any club.

So my question is, do you live in Connaught and want to join Tim in starting a Club? Perhaps a study group would be a more accurate description of it to begin with, but from small acorns and all that. Tim is based in Ballaghaderreen in County Roscommon.

As before, I’m more than happy to support Tim in setting up as are the NIBS. All joining the club will be entitled to attend NIBS events as a sister club member.

Interested: Please contact me by replying to this post below or via the CONTACT ME page. I’ll not add a direct contact for Tim here as I don’t want to make his email address visible on the net.

Come on people, this is your chance bonsai in the West of Ireland.

Busy Saturday

I had a busy but very enjoyable day yesterday here at my home as I hosted the first Club Bonsai School of 2015. We have been doing this for 4 years with Willowbog Bonsai but this year we are on our own. We are taking this as a challenge to shake things up and take a different approach. We will now be taking every opportunity to push on the learning of our keener members by setting them presentation tasks within each school. This combined with outside artists and our own in house talent will help us progress bonsai in Ireland.

Members have given us great support and we had a fantastic first Bonsai school of the year.

Here’s a few photos but for a full run down see the club blog HERE.

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End of an Era…….

… well 4 years at any rate.

As part of the NI Bonsai Society programme for the last four years we have had the pleasure of delivering the ‘Bonsai School’ 3 times a year for the last 4 years. This has been in partnership with Willowbog Bonsai and in particular, Peter Snart.

I’ve known Peter for over 15 years and in that time we have become firm friends. As I host the school sessions at my home, I have had Peter as a house guest 12 times since 2011 and this doesn’t count many other times in previous years. The favour has been returned when I have visited Willowbog Bonsai to attend shows and take part in workshops with people such as Ryan Neil, Peter Warren and Marco Invernizzi.

Peter has now called time on the school in it’s current format, I think mainly due to the fact that he’s fed up packing that bloody van!! 🙂

Bonsai for me is as much about friendship as wee trees and I’m delighted to have both Peter and Jean as friends. The school may be over but the friendship continues. I’m pretty sure he’ll be back at some point and I’m definitely sure I’ll be at Willowbog in the years to come, but in the meantime, thank you Peter.

There, gushing over lol

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Busy Day….

I played host to the Clubs Bonsai School Session today. All very enjoyable with good friends and bonsai learning at the top of the agenda. Just how many times can Ben photobomb!!

Youth to the right age to the left 🙂

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Ulster – Munster – Leinster

Not a pretty sight but here’s myself, Piotr and Owen, the three chairmen of the three clubs together at the NI Bonsai Society School over the weekend. Maybe early days to call Owen a Chairman to be honest but he’s the one who took the plunge and has the first meeting set up for 27th June in Balbriggan.

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We had three with us from the new Leinster Bonsai Club, Owen, Elisabeth and John. They got a little taste of the benefits of being a sister club to the NIBS.

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I know I harp on about it at times but friendship is a big part of bonsai for me and it’s great to get this new club link rolling.

If you Build it, They will Come!

Further developments for bonsai in Ireland, all good news 🙂

See here for details

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Video

Munster Trip Video

I always like to do one of these to look back on. Good times…