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.

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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.

Walks Gallery

I’ve been doing a fair bit of walking this last month and of course the camera comes along. I have a few snaps I’m pleased with and thought to share them here.

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.

 

The leftovers

Last week I did a bit of a tour of Ireland working with some of the chaps from the Munster Bonsai Club and even the odd Leinster man thrown in. I had a great week and was delighted to spend quality time with these guys. As I always say, Bonsai is as much about friendship to me as it is about the trees.

I did post each day last week but that was only a few quick snaps from my phone using the wordpress app. I’ve had time to wade through my camera and have added the leftover photos here for viewing. No order really, all a bit random, but I feel they capture the mood of the week. Thanks again folks for all your hospitality and for the kindness and understanding shown by your better halves. They all deserve a medal putting up with us lot for husbands 🙂

It was an awkward time to deliver work on many of the trees but we still managed some good work nudging trees in the right direction. Much planning was done for the future and hopefully some of the reasons why, when and how we do the work are a little clearer. Here’s the photos.

A Middle of The Road Tree

Came across this Beech tree on my travels near Cahir Ireland. It may be a ‘Middle of the Road’ Tree, but it’s a beauty. Sadly probably not long left alive in this world. Some nice block work is helping though.

The other side of the road was this graveyard.

Tree Inspiration

I’ve been about a bit over the last few weeks and as usual I found some tree inspiration. Here are some of my snaps.

My Month Viewing Mirai Live

I’ve had the pleasure of watching the first four Tuesday Live Stream events on Mirai Live.com and thought it was time to deliver my thoughts on what I found.

Ryan, and the Mirai Team (I now feel I know you all from my online lurking 🙂 ) gave me access to the Tier 3 level of the stream back on the 14th March allowing me to view, chat, watch and learn from one of the best bonsai teachers in the Western world.

Folks, this is without doubt the biggest shift in recent times in bonsai learning. No longer are you tied to your geographical location when seeking advice and knowledge. No longer do you need to attend a workshop to learn specific techniques. This is the best single location option for learning there is, and it’s delivered in a well thought out, well structured, high quality production available onto your computer, phone or whatever device you chose to use.

Let me give you a better breakdown of my live stream experience:

Launch Party

I watched the launch party live back on the 14th March. A brave choice to do this live stream from a bar I thought. I had initially thought that it would be all studio work being streamed but the Mirai Team have created a set up that is mobile giving lots more options for content. The opening stream did have a few hiccups with sound which were quickly solved. This was first, and so far, my last experience of the live chat function on the streams. It was nice to chat with others viewing at the same time. I did notice that I was nearly the only European on there, but not surprising considering it was the small hours of the morning. Content was back to back demos with Ryan giving us his usual flowing supply of information.

Kusamono Mastery 

The live stream the following week came from the studio at Mirai with Young Choe delivering a master class on Kusamono. As a big kusamono lover I really enjoyed this session and it was nice to see Ryan taking a back seat and doing a little learning himself. Young created some truly beautiful kusamono and although she was obviously nervous at the start and was limited with the available plant material to hand, she soon got into the way of things. A great stream that I chose to watch on the Thursday from the archive rather than stay up late. I did find myself wanting to ask questions though. Perhaps a good opportunity for a follow up Q&A at an earlier time Ryan?

Spring Fundamentals

The Next stream was live from The Bonsai Society of Portland  meeting. A two hours look at the Bonsai Fundamentals that should be practiced at this time of year. This was delivered both practically in the shape of demonstrating and with the use of a white board. This should not be missed by anyone reading this. Go watch it! It’s even up there in the archive for free – Spring Fundamentals – The content takes an in-depth look at many different aspects such as repotting, feeding, top dressing, pests etc. Ryan will be back at the club once a month delivering on a different fundamental of Bonsai each time. This is worth a subscription alone.

Pine Innovation 

The last steam for my months subscription was all about design, specifically a stunning Ponderosa Pine collected from the Rocky Mountains. Ryan works the tree over a two hour archive video covering his thought process in selecting which bending technique to use. As a studio produced video, this one hits all the right marks. We get to see close up of detailed work in one camera view and then it pans back to allow us to see the full tree tree image as the design comes together. We are not subjected to long periods of watching Ryan wire either. As a well thought out production we get to cut away at several points to see previously recorded work being carried out on the tree. At points, x2 recording is used to speed up the action even further. After viewing the recorded content we return to the live action having skipped some of the more lengthy wiring work. A perfect way to view a demo.

and that’s not all…….

As a Tier 2 or 3 subscriber you get access to the archive videos which actually predate the launch party. Ryan has obviously put the system through a testing period and sitting in the archive are eleven videos awaiting your viewing. These included further studio work on some stunning creations as well as detail species specific information. There’s also a very interesting interview there with David Benavente. There’s another free one there for you to enjoy as well Beech Forest Creation. Give it a watch.

In Conclusion

Simply put, this is Bonsai TV, yes, it’s a pay channel, but the work that has went into the creation of the content is high quality and created by a team of, and I’m guessing here, 6+ (Ryan, Chelsea, Arthur, Kendall, Troy and others) and worth every penny.

The tag line of  “Design |Grow| Understand: Build your skills with Mirai” , says it all. Learn sound horticulture and impeccable technique. This is a visible, honest education in bonsai.

I tried to think of negatives, but there wasn’t much to latch onto. I think sometimes the content for me, being based in Europe, can be a little too much orientated toward native American species, but the crossover in many cases still makes this content relevant and educational. Also, as the streaming takes place in the evenings PST I’m in bed and therefore miss out on the chance to take part in the live chat. That’s it, I can’t think of anything else that niggles.

So am I in?

Yes 🙂 I just signed up for Tier 3 paying monthly. Although I could have gotten discount by paying annually, I have opted for monthly for now until I see if the benefits off Tier 3 over the Tier 2 option pay off. As I don’t get much use out of live stream chat I was on the verge of opting for Tier 2, however, the extended archive videos and extra followup content have got me opting for Tier 3 for now and I’ll see how much is made available. I would recommend Tiers 2 or 3 to anyone falling too far outside the PST timeline. As Tier 1 doesn’t have access to the archive content, this is a non-starter for me unless you live in the States.

I hope this review of Mirai live has helped those thinking of jumping on the Mirai wagon. I have chatted to a few friends who have been quick to sign up on my recommendation and their feedback has been as positive as my own. I feel that the content is suitable for all levels, no matter how advanced, we all have something to learn.

Finally, thanks to Ryan for giving me the access last month, and to his team who I will hopefully meet in June when my travels finally take me to Mirai. See you all then. I can’t feckin wait 🙂

Overwhelmed With Gratitude!

I blogged last night looking for ideas for my road trip to the USA and just want to say a big thank you to everyone who responded. I have all sorts of offers from simple advice to offers from people wanting to give up their time to show me around even offering me a place to stay! I will reply to you all, there is a lot of you 😀 , once I get my timings sorted out and see what my long suffering wife will put up with along the road. She’s being a star about it all so far.

What a great thing the bonsai community is. It never ceases to amaze me what kindness is out there. It’s one of the main reasons I keep blogging. Thank you all.