Repotting Theory & Practical

On Saturday I took a day out of one to one workshops to do a Theory and Practical Repotting Day with Munster Bonsai Club at Bruree in Limerick.

I had been asked to focus on this in a session to aid newer members in getting the fundamentals right and gain some new skills.

We had a run through of the why what when and how via PowerPoint and Q&A before a Practical session with club members repotting their own trees and helping others.

I think this was one of the best feel good club days I’ve ever experienced from the outside. A great club. A massive thank you to all those who yet again came out to support a club event. They have been coming thick and fast for a club pushing their learning hard.

Here’s some photos from the day some mine some stolen.

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Busy Week on the Road

It’s been a busy week down in the South of Ireland doing some one to one sessions with friends from Cobh, Cork, to Limerick then Dublin. Some good times had and great trees played with. A little styling and refinement and, as you’d expect, some repotting.

Here’s some photos from the trip. snow on the way home as usual in Dublin. Thank you to all who supported the road trip. Back again images weeks for another round.

Shore Pine Rock Planting 2

Saturday’s study group also got to play with rock. Another Shore Pine being placed on a rock from Lough Corrib County Galway.

The tree previously styled.

Playing with options. We ended up changing plans yet again and grinding away rock to allow better placement.

The rock had a large hole in the middle which had to seal with mesh from underneath to allow for more substrate to be added.

The photo doesn’t do the rock justice. It has lots of character and I look forward to seeing this composition mature.

Day With Derek

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.

Initial Working #3 Privet & Hawthorn

Two more getting their first direction. First is a hawthorn with great bark and second is an unusual variety of privet.

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Initial Working #2 Hawthorn

This is another Hawthorn I worded on on Saturday, collected from a hedge a few years ago using a digger and now well established in a pot. Some amazing deadwood that will now be protected. Branch selection and some basic placing done. Raffia on  a few of the heavy branches to get the right placement. Leader left to grow free to help with taper. This will be another great tree in a few years time.

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Video Update

I have updated the video of the big Scots Pine that Phil did the bending on with Ryan Neil back in January. After 6 months the wire had to be removed as it was starting to cut in. However Phil left the guy lines in place  to maintain the trunk position. There has been strong growth and there are many signs of back budding. The video is below, if you have already watched the workshop portion and want to skip to the update go to 37.30. I have also included the outtake video of Phil attempting to turn the tree for video. It wasn’t meant to be an out take but Phil in his usual style has managed to make it one. See what we have to put up with !! 🙂

I’m now sitting down to sort through the footage recorded at the Peter Warren weekend. I hope to have these up this week.

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Bending Phil’s Pine

The last big video out of the Ryan Neil weekend is this one featuring the Pinus ‘Put it back in the van’ Sylvestris that Phil brought. Most would now like to put it in the back of their van 🙂

Ben was busy with the camcorder when all the bending work was being done and we thought it was well worth a share to show the techniques that Ryan used to bend a heavy trunk on this pine.

I have a few ideas for some very short video clips picking out interesting points from the demo instead of having to watch all 3 hours 48 minutes of it. So keep watching the You Tube channel, which has about 100 new subscribers in a week ❗

Trim and Tuck

Yesterday I did a little trimming back of Summer extension growth on a few deciduous trees before tucking them away in the green house for Winter.

I’m trying to increase the overall outline of this Trident maple and have therefore allowed for more extension than normal to remain.

Escallonia Step by Step

I did a little more work on the Escallonia in November.

Peter Warren had suggested back in October that I remove a front branch. I did this and now this stump needed added to the deadwood on the tree.

When Mr Snart was here a few weeks back we had a look at it. Peter has excellent carving skills and I wanted his advice about opening up the trunk to allow me to reach the hollow centre. It had rotted at the base and was hollow inside, but I couldn’t reach this area to add wood hardener. Peter kindly offered to do a little carving on the tree to add the extra deadwood at the front and also open up the trunk to allow me to gain access.

This was the tree before removal of the front branch.

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and after branch removal

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Here is Peter doing a little carving.

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On Friday I spent a little time washing out the remains of the sawdust and rotted wood. I did a little more carving and cleaning of the original deadwood to remove some algae. As you can see below there are now 3 opening added by Peter into the centre of the trunk that I can now access and apply hardener. The opening are small visually but allow room for a toothbrush to enter. The remaining heartwood is all solid and rotting seemed to have been limited.

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I plan to treat the wood this week and apply a fresh coat of lime sulphur to the outside, perhaps darkened down a tad. I’ll keep you posted.