Topical Times – When two become one……again!

A regular update on the life and times of John Hanby’s Newstead Bonsai Centre……..

Topical Times – When two become one ……..again!

These two Junipers had been collected together from the wild in Europe. They had been separated for a few years, there had been a change of ownership, but now they were back in the same hands.

These two trees really were made for each other……so with a bit of wiring, a change of angle, a nice new pot and “hey presto” we have a new bonsai!

Quite a transformation. They work so well together and this new tree is so much better than the two individual ones alone.

Question is…..have you any trees in your collection that might just look better together?

Topical Times – When two become one……

A regular update on the life and times of John Hanby’s Newstead Bonsai Centre……..

Topical Times – When two become one……..

This work was recently carried out at a clients home. He had two red Deshojo  Maple groups. One consisted of three trees in a round pot whilst the other was a forest planting in a long shallow rectangular pot.

He was concerned with the lack of depth in the main forest. The question was ….could we put the two groups together in one pot? Certainly not in the pots the groups were already in…..these are large trees!

He had a couple of pots under one of his benches…….unbelievable……one of them a large oval appeared perfect. We have hundreds of pots on the nursery and often still struggle to find the right one!

I had to break up the long forest in to two halves. This gave me three elements to bring together in one pot. In creating this new larger forest the usual rules had to apply. The group had to have depth and direction. The trees had to relate to one another in terms of height, trunk thickness, direction and position.

I was really pleased with the end product. Given the limitations of basically having three clumps to arrange in a relatively compact pot the finished forest works really well. It should look super when it comes into leaf with that rich red foliage.

…….and the client?…….he was pleased too……he has a new tree!!

 

Topical Times – Larch forest repotted

A regular update on the life and times of John Hanby’s Newstead Bonsai Centre……..

Topical Times – Larch forest repotted

This substantial Larch forest from our sales benches was originally put together in the 1980’s. It had not been repotted for over 6 years so it was brought in to the studio on a recent academy class.

The rocks were removed and the tree was lifted from the pot. I examined and trimmed back the rootball explaining to the students what I was doing as the work progressed.

The tree was then placed back in the pot and the students helped with backfilling the compost. The rocks were then repositioned in a similar setting to where they were.

The pot really suits the group having been specially commissioned from Bryan Albright. The trees were also trimmed back so now the forest is back on the bench and ready to go when spring finally arrives.

Topical Times – Matthews Juniper Ittogawa

A regular update on the life and times of John Hanby’s Newstead Bonsai Centre……..

Topical Times – Matthews Juniper Ittogawa

Matthew brought this Juniper to a recent open workshop. It was the first time I had seen this tree.

The tree had some good foliage clouds and a very interesting trunk with excellent movement, good taper and an established shari. The problem was with the branches!

The existing foliage canopy was too big and too wide for the trunk. The best feature of the tree was it’s trunk and this was hidden. Some of the branches were simply too heavy and so set/straight that they could not be realistically moved.

I explained to Matthew why drastic action was required in the removal of many branches to expose the trunk line and create an impressive literati style bonsai. He asked me if I could draw something on the whiteboard to give him some idea of how the tree would look.

He decided to go for it! The main feature of the tree…..it’s meandering trunk is now clear for all to see. The foliage clouds will be made more compact and it is likely that some further branches will be removed in due course.

Topical Times – Andrews Juniper one to one…

A regular update on the life and times of John Hanby’s Newstead Bonsai Centre……..

Topical Times – Andrew’s Juniper one to one…

Just before Christmas Andrew visited the nursery for a one to one. Most of the day was to be spent on a substantial Juniper Parsonii.

The tree had been wired and styled before but the original work had now been out grown. Initial discussions again centred around the second smaller trunk…..should it stay or be removed?

When these discussions arise always remember it takes seconds to cut off that second trunk……but if we need to grow it again…….many years!! I also like the fact that this small second trunk gives the tree it’s character….it’s individuality! When this is removed the tree becomes just another informal upright Juniper.

The next thing to be checked was the deadwood. There were several areas where jins and shari could be extended or created. Some of these I marked with chalk.

I then cleaned out the foliage and removed all unwanted branches. The tree was then ready for rewiring. There was a lot of work to do so both of us worked quickly on the tree.

There was also a possible new front to consider…..this would be from the front right corner of the pot…..illustrated in the last two pictures. The view of the base of the tree is improved and the overall balance between the two trunks is better.

There is still some detailed wiring work to do but the basic restyling of the tree is complete. This is becoming a very impressive bonsai with a good canopy of foliage and tremendous character. That second trunk will always be an eye-catcher……now we must find the right pot to complement the design and enhance the image further.

 

Topical Times – Heathrow Bonsai Show Demo 2017

A regular update on the life and times of John Hanby’s Newstead Bonsai Centre……..

Topical Times – Heathrow Bonsai Show Demo 2017

The Heathrow Show took place this year on Sunday 22nd October and with over 30 clubs exhibiting and over 30 traders this was quite an event. Mark and Ming Moreland must take great credit for how this show has grown from year to year.

Mark had kindly invited me to demonstrate at the show. In the morning session I created a raft planting on a rock using a Juniper Communis. In the afternoon I gave a lecture using Juniper Bonsai at various stages of development.

You will find some before and after pictures of the morning demo below. If you want to see a video of the creation and also some videos from the afternoon session you will find links on my Facebook page.

 

Topical Times – My Sagaretia visits the academy!

A regular update on the life and times of John Hanby’s Newstead Bonsai Centre……..

Topical Times – My Sagaretia visits the academy!

During a recent session of one of my academy groups I introduced my own Sagaretia for discussion and pruning.

The tree was repotted in the spring and has grown really well during the summer having already been extensively pruned. In addition to the routine pruning required now a substantial branch hanging low at the front of the tree was also removed.

Topical Times – Styling an old Juniper

A regular update on the life and times of John Hanby’s Newstead Bonsai Centre……..

Topical Times – Styling an old Juniper 

This tree probably arrived from Japan back in the very early days when the first imported Bonsai were just beginning to arrive in England. At that time it would have been very highly regarded as a superior Bonsai, the likes of which we had not seen before.

It appeared in many of the larger national Bonsai exhibitions up and down the country. Times change, there are “new Bonsai on the block” and the tree was sold. Sadly the tree struggled and when my student finally acquired it the tree was in very poor condition.

Over the past few years it has simply been a case of nurturing the tree back into good health. With new growth, vigour and good colour the tree was at last ready for a styling. It arrived recently on a class totally wired and ready for branch positioning.

The tree is now well on its way to regaining some of its former glory and really does look well. Foliage areas will be refined and reduced to improve the tree’s appearance but this work will be carried out in sympathy with maintaining the tree in good health.

Topical Times – Ian’s Juniper is finally styled

A regular update on the life and times of John Hanby’s Newstead Bonsai Centre……..

Topical Times – Ian’s Juniper is finally styled

On a workshop last weekend I finally got round to styling Ian’s Juniper. It came out of the ground 12 months ago and basically had been allowed to grow freely this year.

Some initial pruning had been carried out to remove unwanted branches and encourage the tree to grow in the areas we wanted to use. Another thinning out had been made prior to wiring.

The tree had returned to the studio this week fully wired and with some refined deadwood. The initial styling was then carried out.

This tree has come a long way in twelve months and with those heavy low branches giving an imposing sense of maturity/age this is a tree to watch out for!

Topical Times – Pruning to control growth.

A regular update on the life and times of John Hanby’s Newstead Bonsai Centre……..

Topical Times – Pruning to control growth.

These three trees were all brought to classes recently……two Privets and a Trident Maple. They had all put on good growth since the last time I saw them a few months ago.

Like most trees they are apical dominant but we are trying to thicken the lower branches. I now had another opportunity to prune the trees and control the growth directing it to areas where it was required.

Branches at the top were pruned back the hardest whilst lower branches which we needed to be thicker were generally left unchecked. Any new growth we get towards the end of the season will be in the right areas and the trees are virtually pruned ready to start next year.

If you don’t control growth throughout the season you finish up having to prune away a lot of unnecessary foliage……energy and time is wasted!