Classroom Corner – Thinning out….Spruce and 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 – Thinning out …..Spruce and Juniper

These two trees were recently brought along to an open workshop for advice on the dense foliage canopies after a season of good growth. Kevin’s Spruce and Alan’s Juniper are two very good trees.

The Ezo Spruce originated in Japan and is very much in the old natural style of Bonsai. To try and restyle this tree with a more modern strict tree-like approach would destroy it’s character and diminish it’s quality.

It was a matter of selecting branches and twigs for removal to let more light/air into the canopy whilst at the same time refining the contours of the foliage clouds.

The Juniper Squamata Meyerii had been created from field grown stock and since it’s original styling the progress is simply remarkable. Alan had followed my instructions over the past few years really well which has resulted in a dense foliage canopy.

Once again extensive thinning out of branches,twigs and shoots was required to let more light and air into the tree. The branches can now be more clearly defined by another wiring which will then provide a more accurate guide for pinching during the next growing season.

The target now is for tighter more compact foliage clouds.

Two great trees to have in a workshop to discuss their progress, watch what happens and then see the plan for the next stage of development. But then this is what the classroom is all about…….together we learn!!

Classroom Corner – Case Study….Ians Juniper Squamata (1)

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 – Case Study….Ians Juniper Squamata (1)

Case Study is a new feature you will find cropping up in several of my blogs. This is a pictorial record of a students tree over a period of time.

It gives you the opportunity to see how we go about developing our trees. The pictures were taken when the tree was brought to a class at my bonsai school.

Sometimes we work on the tree during a class session sometimes I just give the student advice on what to do next. The student does his work and then brings the tree back to another class when he is ready for further advice.

This Juniper has come such a long way in less than 12 months. The first pictures were taken on December 18th 2016 when we started work on the tree on our Christmas Special class.

The trunks have since been extensively carved whilst the branches have been wired prior to styling. The last pictures were taken recently on 4th November when the shari area was widened to take account of the tree narrowing it’s live veins. The bark to be removed was first marked with chalk.

Classroom Corner – All in a days work!

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 – All in a days work!

A few before and afters from a recent Sunday workshop. For some deciduous trees it was a chance to carry out some autumn pruning to correct this year’s growth. This includes a Maple, pear tree, and a Potentilla.

The small Privet had become very dense and needed a really thorough cleaning out. The Cedrus Atlantica was wired and styled.

The pines were pruned ready to be wired over the winter……and in one case we decided to cut the top off to get a better line and a more compact tree.

Classroom Corner – Case Study…..Andrews Privet (1)

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 – Case Study…..Andrew’s Privet (1)

Case Study is a new feature you will find cropping up in several of my blogs. This is a pictorial record of a students tree over a period of time.

It gives you the opportunity to see how we go about developing our trees. The pictures were taken when the tree was brought to a class at my bonsai  school.

Sometimes we work on the tree during a class session sometimes I just give the student advice on what to do next. The student does his work and then brings the tree back to another class when he is ready for further advice.

The pictures below start on the 26th March 2016 and end on the 26th August 2017……a little over 18 months. Andrew bought this Privet stump from our stock just before the first class session.

He is relatively new to bonsai and all the carving is his own work…..he really has done an amazing job. The branches, the basis for the foliage mass are also developing well as we concentrate on fattening up the lower ones.

Hope you enjoy and get some inspiration from this new feature.

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Classroom Corner – Amazing shari…….

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 – Amazing shari……..

………on this small Juniper……….now we need to sort out the foliage! The hollow trunk and shari work is really impressive on this yamadorii Juniper.

After being wired and styled the height of the tree has been reduced and the smaller foliage canopy is more in keeping with the trunk. We now have to concentrate on shaping the foliage clouds and making the foliage itself more compact.

Classroom Corner – Stan’s Juniper Ittogawa

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 – Stan’s Juniper Ittogawa

Stan fetched this tree to a recent Wednesday workshop. It had grown so well it was now like a bush again. It had lost its shape.

I set about removing branches I didn’t think we would need and Stan cleaned out the foliage ready for wiring.

Two weeks later the tree returned and was now completely wired. It was a case of repositioning all the branches……this was quite a detailed wiring.

Next year the foliage can be pruned and compacted more during the growing season whilst retaining the trees health and vigour.

What a difference a couple of weeks can make in the life of a tree. It has regained its shape and once again looks really well….this is undoubtedly a fine Juniper bonsai.

Classroom Corner – Dave’s root-on-rock 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 – Dave’s root-on-rock Juniper!

This planting was originally created by Nobutaka Sakuma at one of our Newstead Extravaganza events in 2008. The tree had arrived from Japan a few years before and the rock originated from Austria.

Considering how long the tree has been on the rock it is in excellent condition…….strong and healthy. In fact, aesthetically there is too much greenery for the trunk and the planting itself.

Discussing the tree with Dave as we proceeded several somewhat large branches had to be removed. The end result is a canopy more in proportion with both the trunk and the rock.

The superb movement in the trunk and the interesting shari are now exposed. Large stubs have been left for the creation of deadwood which may or may not be incorporated into the design.

The existing wire will now be removed. The tree can then be rewired and styled over the coming winter. Some more branches may yet have to be removed…….I look forward to it………the styling that is!!!

Classroom Corner – A tale of two Hornbeams

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 tale of two Hornbeams

These two Korean Hornbeams were part of a batch of nine similar trees I had acquired when they arrived from Korea some 3 years ago.

Both trees had undergone some routine training and repotting into ceramic bonsai pots. Recently they both returned to Newstead on one of my open workshops.

Part of the discussion on Paul’s tree related to it’s height. By reducing the height slightly the crown becomes more rounded and less pointed. This enhances the tree’s appearance making it appear older and more mature.

Part of the discussion on Brian’s tree related to the selection of the front or viewing angle.The tree had merits from both sides. In the end a decision was made and some branches had to be removed to open up what would now become the front of the tree.

Branches to the rear would be left to grow for further fattening. Once the decision has been made the rest of the tree can be developed further to enhance the chosen front and improve the tree as a whole.

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.