Yew Two

The second yew styled was also on the ‘to go’ bench. I can’t even remember where this one came from, possibly a club auction many years ago.

It had previous been styled by someone but not very well. It had also been very weak. It was now back to full health but the manufactured ‘s’  bend on the trunk was terrible to look at and the foliage was far removed from the best feature, the base of the tree. I wanted to bring the two together to make a more compact and interesting tree.

This the after image. I applied raffia to the upper trunk and bent it down making more convincing movement bringing all the areas of interest closer the the best part of the tree, the lower trunk. The jin to the left needs to be reduced but is currently acting as a wire anchor point. With some back budding and a little more refinement, this is going to be a rather nice tree with interesting trunk movement. The jin can be extended into a shari down into the lower trunk making a nice feature and perhaps even extended along the upper trunk to link up with the small jin there.

Yew One

I have had a couple of yews sitting on the raw material bench for a while. Again I had these for sale in case a beginner wanted to start with a piece of raw material. As I previously stated, I am clearing out and figured that these won’t go anywhere as they are now. I decided to do the initial styling  and look to move then on next year.

Here is the first one.

It’s an old tree and was void of branches down one side of the tree. I decided to add a shari and shape the image around this feature . This is it when I was completed. With another years growth this should make a nice image. Some further carving will be required once the wood dries out.

Happy Snapping

We had a bit of a photo session the other week. Hugh can down to my garage with a better camera and some lighting. The plan was to photograph some trees with a view to submitting them for selection in the Best of British Exhibition next year. You never know a few might be selected but we had good fun anyway taking the shots.

These are some of the trees we shot. Some mine, some Josh’s, some Phil’s and some Stephen’s. Bar the shohin, all show front and back.

Arse About Face #1

I was looking at a few of my bonsai with Robert last week and as is usual with Robert, he came up with a few other possible options with trees that I have had for many years.

I love it when I get the opportunity to discuss trees like this. It lets you know that you can become complacent with trees that you see every day and you should teach yourself always to look at your bonsai with fresh eyes whenever you can.

One of the ideas that Robert came up with was using the back of this Yew as the possible new front. [hence arse about face :-)] I bought this tree from Robert many years ago and I think he would like it back. Not happening !

Here is the original front as selected by Marco Invernizzi back in 2004 during a workshop.

The tree will be getting some work done sometime this year as a few of the branches are rising and some structural work is required. Sometimes I look at this front and feel there is too much white wood in your face. The base is also boring with a flat section of deadwood and a fat live vein.

Robert suggested that the back might be another option. The base is better and the image looks fuller  but still has interest and character. There would need to be some branch adjustments, but I rather like the idea. I now have it turned to this aspect so I can view it from my window and see it every day. The potting angle would need to be changed. As with most trees at this point, there are points for and against the new front. Just need to decide on balance which is the best option. What do you think?

Where’s Bertie??

Had a couple of friends around last night. One, who I finally managed to catch up with earlier in the week was Bertie, a past club committee member and now current member again. Hadn’t seen him for years and it was great to catch up and talk trees. I tried to capture a photo of him but he is an expert camera dodger 🙂

He spotted me coming and turned his back! Phil giving him a hand thinning out a yew.

Here he ducked behind the yew for cover.

Nearly managed a clean shot here but Phil points out how many failed attempts I’ve had 🙂

This is as good as I got, good to see you Bertie 🙂

This is his Yew that was worked on before we started.

It was first styled as a demo tree by Kevin Willson way back in 1997. Here’s a few other angles and a look at the deadwood.

And after some work. Thinned out and a little basic wiring.

Club Night January 2012

Had a good night at the club meeting last night. We had asked for members to bring Larch and we had a great turn out. As usual for January, numbers attending were up. Must be the post Christmas effect.

A few pics from proceedings.

Birch root over rock belonging to Hugh.

Roy’s Raulii

Phil pointing out how many more trees are needed in the forest planting.

First styling for Roy’s Larch.

Davy’s little shohin Yew

Can Yew Help?Can Yew Help?

Phil called asking if I could help him shift and repot a Yew yesterday.

The Yew came from a club members garden. It was originally 12 feet tall but Phil cut it back and put it in a fish crate back in March 2011. The owner decided a few weeks later that it was too big for him and said Phil could have it.

Now, this presented a problem as it was too big to transport as it sits in a large fish crate. He opted to remove it from the crate and wrap the root ball for transporting back to Belfast, where it would be potted again. As it was big and heavy, he asked me to give him a hand. The plan was to repot and place it in the poly tunnel on the heat bed. Here’s the afternoon in photos.

The tree sitting awaiting collection by Phil.

The tree in the back of the car.

and in the driveway.

When we pulled it out, I was amazed at the new roots produced last year. It had been potted into fine tesco cat litter, finer than we normally use but it had worked well.

On closer inspection we could see the remains of the original burlap sack in there and even the sandy soil that it had contained. It was obvious that the tree hadn’t issued any roots into this old compacted soil. It was important that this was removed now. The best way to do this was using the hose to avoid damaging the new roots. The best way to do it without making a mess of Frankies Drive was to do it into a street drain 🙂

Frankie makes sure all is in order!

Washing out the old soil.

Clear to see the hole left when this is removed. No fresh roots had even tried to fill this area.

A quick check that the mica training pot will work out.

A mix of grit and cat litter, heavier grade, was added and the tree was watered in.

The hose is kept on until the water runs clear. This required two watering sessions before it worked. You can see the murky colour here.

Here’s the tree potted up with Phil standing to attention 😀

The next step was to remove the branches that were never going to be part of the final design. No point in energy being wasted on growth that’s going to be removed. A few of the heavier branches were roughly jinned as the will be deadwood in the final design. This stops the tree from issuing new growth on them in the meantime.

These will be reduced greatly in the future.

After thinning out.

A second watering to get the clear running water.

Next space was created in the tunnel to allow it to be placed onto the heat bed. Not an easy task!

A mild day.

I took a few other snaps in the garden while the sun was out.


Korean Fir

Frankies Chinese Elm Hedge!! Full leaf out doors.

and that was me for the day, I buggered off before the clear up started lol.

Yew Work Schedule

I’m hoping to give this Yew it’s first styling this week. It has been grown from a cutting and spent 7 years in open ground and two in this pot. That’s ten years to get it to this point for first styling. I have done some basic carving on a few stumps and have thinned the foliage out last year so that the tree is prepared and ready for seeing wire for the first time. I only plan to do the basic structural work and hopefully someone will buy it next year and take it to the next stage.

Trees from Friday Night

Here are a few of the trees worked on on Friday night. Some were styled some were discussed.

Phils Scots Pine before old needle removal.

 and after…

Hugh’s Scots Pine after needle removal, shown from a few angles.

One of Ian B’s Mugo Pines grown from seed.

and after styling

and another one before.

and after

Michael’s Juniper

A little Yew I worked on.

and after, still work to do but ran out of time 😦

El Tim Blog speaking out

I thought I would mention this Spanish Bonsai Blog that I’ve been following for a while. I’ve just added it to My Favourite Blogs sidebar.

I understand that reading translated Spanish can be a bit of a chore, Google Translate is far from perfect! But sometimes its worth the effort.

If you click on the image link below you will be taken to a recent post about the collection of yamadori in Spain. It is an honest look at the devastation, dare I say rape, of collecting sites in Spain. I have collected yamadori myself, always in manageable numbers with permission. I understand the temptations to go mad and take risks with trees, I’m not blameless in this either. However, the wanton destruction of top quality yamadori as described here is totally unacceptable! Non-collectable trees should be left for everyone to enjoy in-situ.

This isn’t just a Spanish thing either, it’s happens everywhere when there’s money to be made. In my view, it’s bonsai’s dirty little secret. I have no doubt that some day, some news reporter on a slow news day will twig on to this and it will make National News. ‘Bonsai Butchers ruining the environment’, or words to that effect.  What a sad day for bonsai that will be! 😦