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.
Monday saw me with Derek sorting a few trees out. Repotting and a little wiring on the agenda.
First up was a maple that had been recovering for a ew years in a box. Now we’ll on the up again we transferred it into a pot. Derek had a few options but most were too small.
We opted to use a round Gordon Duffet pot he had lying around😂 I only wish it were mine. The other gives the tree a little space in which to continue its development
This was the tree back in the late 80s
Next up was a pine, species unknown. He collected the seed from the Botanical Gardens in Dublin many years ago. The tree got a reworking having had some initial work done by myself a few years ago at a club workshop.
The tree was repotted into a Magic Ceramic pot that Derek picked up last year. We even found a nice widening buttress buried in the box. It’s got a longer needle but back buds well and seems to reduce well.
Another repot was this larch which had been a taller tree last year before being reduced to the bottom branch. Pushing hard for a shohin image but it’s on the larger side. It went into another Magic Ceramics pot.
A Chinese Juniper landscape was next. I doubt this tree had been repotted properly in the last 20 years but now under Derek’s care it was time for a freshen up.
A busy day with Derek but productive and great craic as usual.
Once again I was delighted to be asked to review the latest Bonsai Empire Course. This time we have a new face in front of the camera. Morten Albek is well known in the European bonsai community and more specifically the shohin side of things.
The course was a pleasure to watch, and as we’ve come to expect from Bonsai Empire, of a high production quality and content.
For a non native English speaker, Morten’s English is probably easier to understand than my Northern Irish accent 🙂 He has laid out the content in small easy to follow lessons that you will be able to dip in and out of at your leisure. Content feels a little different to the preceding courses in that you are with Morten in his garden looking at the bonsai and displays with him. A refreshing change.
The course covers a lot of basics of bonsai that refer not only to shohin but bonsai in general. We see wiring, repotting, care, and pruning all covered. The highlights for me though were the sessions on display and pot selection.
Another plus point for many people out there will be his use of humble material for his creations showing what can be achieved with a little time and effort. Not all bonsai enthusiasts have the ability to afford top quality yamadori, indeed most people reading this blog with be on a tight budget.
If I was to be critical , only two things come to mind. I would have loved to have seen the display lecture being more extensive and perhaps with more content coming in 2019, this may well be part of the expansion. The other thing I noticed was a little bit of repetition in some areas. Morten even acknowledged this by stating that he was saying it again as it’s important. Either way his points were well made.
I look forward to seeing what’s added next year and at the $44.99 price, one off payment for life, I think the course is a great starting point for anyone wanting to delve into the world of shohin bonsai. Morten will be a good guide to get you going in the right direction.
Well done Morten and Oscar, another bit of quality content for online learning. Interested, HERE is a link.
I finally got around to doing a little work on my new Shohin Japanese Black Pine. I picked this one up whilst on holiday in Tenerife back in October. A visit to Bonsai Centro Tenerife and a chat with Jose Acuna did the job.
This is it as purchased.
and after a little work.
A slightly different angle.
As a large shohin I like the fact that it has possibilities for reversing it in a box stand to fit different displays. Here’s the back.
and the other sides just for giggles.
Jose gave me a few earlier photos of it which I’ll share here too to keeps my records all in one place.
This one is new to my collection this year. An old tree that originally was an import to the UK back in the late 80’s, it lost it’s apex when with the previous owner. I got the tree back in June as I saw some potential in making it into an even smaller shohin tree.
This was the tree as acquired. A bit weak with some dead branching. It hadn’t been fed much in recent years.
when I got it home.
I cut down the height by about 2 inches and cut the leggy branches back quite hard. After a few months free growth it had produced some new fine growth.
I was able to do a little wiring once it dropped leaves for Winter. This is it after work. Some branches left long and will be left for another year to thicken branches as required. New beginnings, we’ll see how it goes. Major repot required this Spring.
Yes, I know, I’ve been very slack with my posting on the blog of late. A very busy period in my life with business, personal and bonsai elements going full tilt. I am hoping to have a quiet few months coming up and look forward to having more time for my own bonsai and pushing forward with my own education in this wonderful art.
I have still been taking photos and I’ll try and get a few more out over the coming weeks.
I’ve been up to my eyes in the prep required for Bonsai 30, the biggest Bonsai event Ireland has seen so far and have been prepping a number of trees for the exhibit. I would rather leave most of them until the event before sharing here though.
However, here’s a little Pine that was gifted to me by my friend Mariusz. It will be getting a new pot in the Spring but has just had a rewiring in case we need it for the shohin display at the exhibition.
I got this little Chinese Juniper in 2010 from a great chap called Bob Snaith.He was clearing out his collection and I got this one at a great price. He supplied me with the first photo below. He’d bought the tree from a chap called Micky Paice who had bought it from Windybank Bonsai back in 1999. Always nice to know the provenance of a tree.
This was it in 2010 as I bought it.
I repotted it and let it sit for a year to gain strength. I then explored the idea of chopping it back to the first branch as I didn’t particularly like the contrived trunk line.
This was it repotted into a smaller pot the following Spring 2012 I think.
It’s been tweaked a few times since then but a few weeks ago I decided to fine wire it and transfer it into a new pot I picked up at Bonsai Europa. This is it prior to wiring.
The new pot and chop mark, Yamaaki.
and now after repotting and a new coat of jin seal applied.
I finished work today at 5 and am off now until 13th April. I have lots of bonsai things planned during this time and thought I’d get stuck in by clearing away the mess in the garage left over from the potting up of the collected pines on Sunday. As I was checking the bags before they went in the bin I spotted a missed shohin sized tree in a bag. After a further check I spotted 3 more!! Result 🙂
All were still in good nick as they had been collected with a full rootball still encased in field soil.
This is what we’ve been finding, even small trees with amazing bark and character.