Classroom Corner – It’s that trimming time of year again……

An open window into the comings and goings of students and their trees attending our regular weekend and midweek bonsai classes under the ever watchful eyes of John Hanby.
Classroom Corner – It’s that trimming time of year again….

These pictures were all taken on a recent midweek class. All the trees had shown good growth this year so now it was time to carry out some pruning work to push the tree into it’s next stage of development.

This involved structural, maintenance and refinement pruning work.

 

 

Classroom Corner – Hard summer pruning!

An open window into the comings and goings of students and their trees attending our regular weekend and midweek bonsai classes under the ever watchful eyes of John Hanby.
Classroom Corner – Hard summer pruning!

Sometimes trees really need a drastic pruning. Often they are too dense but in some cases the branches have simply grown too long and the foliage is now too far away from the trunk.

Eventually the leaves can tend to be on the outer edge of the tree with no buds, shoots and leaves inside. To try and resolve this by encouraging back budding the timing of the pruning is critical and importantly the tree must be strong enough.

The Forsythia, Trident Maple, and Hornbeam featured here were given this drastic treatment recently.

 

 

Classroom Corner – A simple Beech forest…..

An open window into the comings and goings of students and their trees attending our regular weekend and midweek bonsai classes under the ever watchful eyes of John Hanby.
Classroom Corner – A simple Beech forest…..

John brought in some Beech he had been nurturing for a while with the intention of bringing some of them together to create a forest…..he even came with the pot ready for action.

Soil was removed and the trees were separated. We then brought them back together in a group arrangement. We even managed to use all the trees and fit them into the pot whilst also leaving ample space to enhance the landscape aura.

This was a relatively simple creation using simple young material and yet already the result is just so effective. This little creation can now develop into a very good mature looking forest planting in such a short time and was well worth the effort!

Classroom Corner – A forest and a raft…..testing times!

An open window into the comings and goings of students and their trees attending our regular weekend and midweek bonsai classes under the ever watchful eyes of John Hanby.
Classroom Corner – A forest and a raft…..testing times.

These two trees turned up on a recent one to three afternoon session.

The Hawthorns had been together for a long time but were now in need of repotting and some rearranging. They were very tall and not the easiest of trees to combine but it was a case of looking at the trunk characteristics, arranging them accordingly and then finally some pruning.

The Cotoneaster stump had sprouted well but was never going to make an individual specimen tree. The student had already made up his mind about the possibility of a raft…..so …….anything to oblige so off we went.

Branches were selected, wired and then positioned as individual trunks. Pleasantly surprised to see that suddenly this old rotting stump shows really good potential.

Two testing trees but well pleased with the result!

Classroom Corner – Deciduous and Conifers….pruning for the next level.

An open window into the comings and goings of students and their trees attending our regular weekend and midweek bonsai classes under the ever watchful eyes of John Hanby.
Classroom Corner – Deciduous and Conifers….pruning for the next level.

The pictures below were all taken during the same open workshop held in September 2016. These were just some of the trees that turned up on the class and as you can see it really was a varied mix.

All these trees needed some pruning to guide them to the next level. In some cases the pruning was more drastic whilst in others the pruning required was more subtle.

Sometimes the pruning was carried out for correction and in anticipation of new growth which could be controlled and better placed. In other cases the pruning was carried out prior to branches being wired for styling.

Lighter pruning could also be carried out as part of the refinement process of trees with an established good shape.

Pruning is where most students require help and guidance……it’s a confidence thing….there is always that worry of cutting off the wrong branch….once it’s gone…..it’s gone!!……it’s never a worry for me……they are not my trees!…….only joking!!!!?

Classroom Corner – Two Larch Groups

An open window into the comings and goings of students and their trees attending our regular weekend and midweek bonsai classes under the ever watchful eyes of John Hanby.
Classroom Corner – Two Larch Groups

Just before Christmas Larch material was turning up regularly on classes. Some of this material involved group plantings.

The first student had been growing this young material on in preparation for creating a forest planting. We had a good choice in terms of different heights and trunk thicknesses. All the trees had ample side branches.

A selection was made, the trees were arranged, planted on a slab and then pruned to shape.

The second group was a little more complicated and required a bit more thought. A trio of old Larch had struggled and were not really working well together.

The student had some younger material to add depth and enlarge the composition. The original material was dismantled and a totally new arrangement made.

The new group was then replanted and pruned. Two very simple groups that should look well when they leaf out and offer excellent potential for further development in the future.

Classroom Corner – Some recent visitors

An open window into the comings and goings of students and their trees attending our regular weekend and midweek bonsai classes under the ever watchful eyes of John Hanby.
Classroom Corner – Some recent visitors 

One of the benefits of attending an open workshop is that you learn from your fellow students trees as well as your own. You see such a huge variety of trees …..almost every species and variety you could imagine…..large trees, small trees……trees just starting out as bonsai to mature specimen trees.

Here are some pictures of a few recent visitors………

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Classroom Corner – Derek’s Tanuki Juniper

An open window into the comings and goings of students and their trees attending our regular weekend and midweek bonsai classes under the ever watchful eyes of John Hanby.
Classroom Corner – Derek’s Tanuki Juniper

Derek recently brought his Tanuki Juniper Blue Alps to a class for advice on it’s progress. This tree really has come on immensely.

I couldn’t resist taking pictures of some of Derek’s old photographs showing how this tree started out. A piece of driftwood from an aquarium shop and a Blue Alps Juniper from a local garden centre.

I believe he started working on this project some 6/7 years ago….and what an amazing job he has done. I have helped him in the past with some pruning and branch selection but the transformation he has achieved really is first class.

The tree had reached the stage where it could now be pinched on a regular basis and you can see the result with the density of the foliage clouds. The problem now is that some of the branches /clouds are simply too big. As you can see in the pictures I was soon able to take care of that!

The tree has now become lighter and much taller. It will be rewired over the winter so that the branches can be opened out and the foliage clouds clearly identified. We will then discuss a programme of growth, pinching and pruning for the next growing season.

Excellent job Derek!……..

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Classroom Corner – Just a bit of pruning…….

An open window into the comings and goings of students and their trees attending our regular weekend and midweek bonsai classes under the ever watchful eyes of John Hanby.
Classroom Corner – Just a bit of pruning……

……can make all the difference! Often we prune for that initial styling, removing a large amount of foliage to find the tree within……which can then be wired and styled.

Sometimes trees have grown really well during the season and have to be thinned out to regain the shape but also to let in light and air to promote good health.

Sometimes its just long extension growth that needs pruning back. A previously styled tree may need pruning before it can be wired and restyled.

The trees pictured below appeared at recent bonsai classes and as you can see they have all benefited and changed as a result of just a little bit of pruning!

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Classroom Corner – Andrew’s Juniper one to one

An open window into the comings and goings of students and their trees attending our regular weekend and midweek bonsai classes under the ever watchful eyes of John Hanby.
Classroom Corner – Andrew’s Juniper one to one

Included in the trees Andrew brought for his one to one session were these three Junipers. The main thing that they all had in common was that they were strong and healthy after a period of good vigorous growth.

The large Juniper Parsonii was now somewhat overgrown and ready for a restyling. I went through the whole tree cleaning out weaker inner shoots and made a new branch selection as I progressed. Andrew then started wiring all the branches while I turned my attention to his other trees.

In the afternoon I helped him complete the wiring and then all the branches were positioned. The tree is now ready to be allowed another period of good growth with the correct watering and feeding.

I like the small Juniper Chinensis……this is pure literati style and one we created together from a larger tree a while ago. This tree is so bushy now that the foliage mass is too big for the literati style and the tree’s trunk size/line.

It is amazing just how much foliage I had to remove to bring the tree back into scale……I suppose my regular “mangey” students would say that this is normal! The tree looks so much better and the canopy sits well without wire.

The third Juniper was from the Squamata Meyerii family. Once again the foliage mass was much too large and dense for the trunk and style of the tree.

I went through the tree selecting branches and shoots, removing everything I considered to be surplus to requirements. Andrew’s homework was to wire the tree and have a go at repositioning all the branches. Can’t wait to see how he gets on!

We discussed other trees also, making this a very pleasant and productive day. I look forward to the next one!

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