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!


Topical Times – Pruning garden trees….a change is as good as….

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

Topical Times – Pruning garden trees……a change is as good as…..

I recently managed to arrange to prune two garden trees on the same day. My clients did not live too far apart so it was good to be able to do the two jobs together.

For one client this was my first visit. She had a large overgrown Cedar Atlantica which she wanted shaping more like a bonsai.

It was a case of considering the options, especially in relation to where she wanted to view the tree from. A design was initiated and the first pruning carried out. Instructions were left on how to continue with the trees development.

For the second client this was my third visit, an annual job to prune back into shape a large cloud tree that forms the centrepiece of a turning circle behind a very substantial and impressive detached property.

Made a change to be away from the small trees but the same principles were applied!

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Topical Times -One to one away from home!

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

Topical Times – One to one away from home!

Yesterday I visited one of my clients for a one to one at his home specifically to deal with his Satsuki Azaleas and his Black Pines.

We had selected a slightly larger pot for the small powerful azalea and as you can see the tree was ready. The fine roots had made a solid mass in danger of causing drainage problems.

Existing wire was removed and pruning carried out to reflect a new more extensive rewiring in the very near future.

After pruning the largest azalea I suggested a possible new front viewing the tree from the existing corner of the pot. We both liked the idea so we made the alteration and carefully pruned the rootball to fit.

The third azalea was growing strong and had become somewhat bushy. Pruning and thinning out was undertaken to redefine the foliage clouds.

Both these black pines were growing strongly and responding well to work we had carried out on previous visits. It was now a case of carrying out some shoot pruning and thinning out needles to prepare the trees for rewiring and styling over the coming winter.

This was a rewarding day working on and improving some very good trees!