Peter Warren Weekend @ Munster Bonsai Club

Last weekend I was invited as a guest of Munster Bonsai Club to attend the Peter Warren two day workshop hosted by the Cuan Mhuire Garden Centre in Bruree. I wasn’t going to miss the opportunity to watch and listen to Peter at work so popped down to road to Limerick to see the action. Peter flies under the radar in the bonsai world, a self confessed self deprecating personality with a unique but practical approach to bonsai cultivation and design, always putting the tree first over the owner. A true tree lover, you could almost call it Budan love 😉

We had two glorious days in the Limerick sunshine and even had to move outside to stop melting at one point. With 6-7 participants each day and a few added observers we had a pretty full house. It was great to meet up with a few people who to date I’d only texted with prior. More bonsai friendship in action, what it’s all about and makes for a fun weekend.

Congratulations to Munster Bonsai, especially Mark and Michael for organising and hosting the weekend. Your club continues to push bonsai learning and September marks 5 years from the point where we started this journey together in a Hurling Club in Cork. A long way in a short time.

Below is a gallery of some of the photos taken included before and after pics for the overly curious and many shots capturing the days activity. Some are a little out of order but you’ll figure it out.

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Kusamono Workshop @ Bud

When I was in County Clare on my travels I did a Kusamono workshop in partnership with Ray at Bud Garden Centre. Being a bit of a passion for me and also catching on fast with the folk down there we thought we’d give it a whirl with limited numbers due to space available. We even had sign ups from people outside of bonsai which was great. Here are a few photos of the planting created on the day.

This was A first Bud/Eejit collaboration and watch this space for future events in the Bunratty area.

Munster Roadtrip

Back in the Heatwave, remember those days lol, I was on my travels in Munster province of Ireland working with some of the bonsai folk in that area. I did a school day with the Munster Bonsai Club one of the days and then toured around a few gardens working on trees. Here’s a gallery of a few of the trees and gardens visited. Agreat 9 days on the road but I was glad to get home and see my dogs and unwind. A big thank you to all the guys Munster group for continuing to support my road trips. See you again in November.

Leinster Bonsai Club Autumn/Winter Group Sessions

I’m delighted to have been invited back to the Leinster Bonsai Club to run another 6 group sessions starting in October and running through the Winter to March 2019. These sessions are being tailored to the requests for the club members and will include hands on workshops as well as an in depth  look at repotting, wiring, design etc.

Session are being held once a month on a Sunday starting at 10am in Mounttown Community Centre, Mounttown. Dates below:

21st October /18th November/16th December/20th January/17th February/10th March.

This fast growing club is open to new members and welcomes new faces at meetings. If you are interested in signing up for these 6 sessions,  CONTACT THEM HERE.

Here’s a few snaps from last Winters sessions.

Best Made Plans….

I had hoped to be more prolific in my posts this year but there’s been a bunch of eejits keeping me busy.  It’s not slacking off either so I thought I throw up some random photos taken over the last week or so by way of catch up and avoid actually doing any real thinking about what I’m posting. 🙂

This is meant to be a kind of online diary after all so adding some pics helps me look back at what I’ve been up to and with who. A big thank you for those who have been keeping me busy. Long may it continue.

Bonsai Eejit in 2018

Happy New Year to all those who follow this blog.

2017 was a big year for me with bonsai taking a bigger role. Ireland is a small place and we are isolated in many ways from the rest of the bonsai community and 2017 saw me covering a lot of ground teaching bonsai.

I’d just like to say a massive thank you to all the other ‘bonsai eejits’ that made this year so successful. To the 30 who took part in one to one sessions, to the 11 who took part in monthly study group sessions. To the 2 Irish clubs in Leinster and Munster who’s support and faith in my abilities has been massive. To the folks over in the Ayr Bonsai for inviting me over to talk back in March.

2018 will see a continuation of the groundwork laid in 2017. I have 10 days in January with the guys down in Munster Bonsai doing one to ones and starting a new Bonsai School set up following the years of success my own club had with this format with Willowbog Bonsai.

I’m continuing the Study Group series with Leinster Bonsai through until May 2018. If you are Dublin based and interested in taking part, contact the guys here.

I will also be expanding the study groups set up here at my home. These have been running for a year now and feedback has been fantastic. If you live local and want to know more, then click here.

I look forward to catching up with bonsai friends worldwide again in 2018. A happy new year to you all.

Cheers Leinster

A big thank you to the guys at Leinster Bonsai Club for having me down to do a group workshop on Sunday. A great day’s craic. Great to see new faces as well. See you all soon.

Thanks for the photos Max.

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.

Ayr Bonsai

I had the great pleasure to be invited to talk at the Ayr Bonsai Group last weekend.

Popping over on the boat from Belfast on Saturday morning, Jeff Banning, club convener and SBA President, collected me and we spent the day looking at trees in gardens.

A great Scottie in a poor pic on a dull day.

English Elm with great character.

A Blue Cedar, one of my favourite trees from the visit.

Jeff and Ian chewing the fat.

A Scottish National Collection tree brought back into great health by Ian’s hard work and care.

 

Another Scottish National Collection tree above. Not a great photo in the rain, but a stunning tree.

One of my favourite trees of the visit above. A stunning wee Scottie in an Ian Baillie pot.

A little wet but this didn’t spoil my fun looking at some really nice bonsai. A great meal out with some of the members on the Saturday night at Ayr India Restaurant.

Sunday was the meeting day and Jeff and I undertook the long arduous walk to the hall, must have been at least 200 metres. On the way we past the birth place of Robert Burns some real wabi sabi going on there with the moss on the thatched roof.

The meeting hall hall was also a stunning location to give a talk. This is it before the members arrived.

I was kept busy with my talk on Bonsai design in the morning moving onto a tree critique in the afternoon. I failed to photograph some of the beautiful bonsai brought along for the sesssion. Some trees more than 30 years in the making and showing great age. I did manage to snap a quick selfie as we were packing up sorry to all those I missed in the pic.

A busy day and feedback was great. Hard task to deliver a talk to a group with such a wide range of ability and keep everyone entertained.

A few notes of personal thanks…

Thanks to all those members who attended and brought so many trees for me to see.

A big thank you to Peter and Ian for letting me visit your homes and view your collections. Trees to be proud of.

and best for last, to Jeff and Helen for putting me up for the night and making me feel so welcome.

 

Sabina Juniper

Peter told me to pick something out to work on and I fancied a Juniper. With lots of great material to pick from both large and small, I opted for this Kifu sized one. I was left to figure out what options we had for the tree and if possible make it good from both sides. Most of Peter’s smaller (shohin) trees are good for either side, a great option for shohin display stands. Be nice to do the same with this one even at Kifu size. I gave the tree a preliminary clean up allowing me to study the trunk movement and branch structure a little more. Steve and I had a play around with it looking at a few possible angle changes both up and down. However what drew me to the tree in the first place was the angle it was at now. I gave my ideas to Peter just adding a possible tilt forward. I wanted to try and get two apexes on the tree but more separation was needed between the two main branches. As the lower one had shari, we opted to split the deadwood from the live vein a little to allow us to lower the branch further. A slightly risky procedure but fun. First Peter explained that before we carried out the split and bend that we should first look and see what other options we have if it goes wrong as a back up plan. There was a nice tree even if we lost the branch that was to be split.

The back..

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and front…

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Vein to be split from deadwood.

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Making a start

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Raffia applied

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Wired up.

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Initial bend put in place with an option to drop further if required.

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Showing the amazing movement and twisting live vein.

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During the wiring process

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After wiring and lime sulphur was applied. Again the tree was not styled to look refined now. This is a Sabina with flower buds. As the foliage that is flowering now will die back when finished, we leave more of the fresher growth in behind to allow the foliage mass to be rebuilt later this year. There’s no point in fine wiring flowering areas when it will be removed within a year. What is important is the placement of the primary and secondary branches that will form the structure of the tree in years to come. A lesson learned from Peter all week – no point wiring what is being removed soon. An enthusiast may like to create the best image possible right now but is it good for the tree and a speedier development? No it’s not. Do what is required and move on to the next challenge. I still probably wired branches in this one that didn’t need it. A hard habit to break.

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A check to see that it still falls within Kifu size.

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It looks good from the other side too, but I forgot to take a photo 😦  A great tree to play with and I learnt a few things about Sabina along the way. Win Win.