Classroom Corner – Beginners Class June 2018

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 – Beginners Class June 2018

This was day two of our Beginners Course and a chance for the students to have a go at wiring and styling a piece of raw material……with our help of course. For most of them this was there very first attempt at this type of work.

I discussed the possibilities in each tree with the student…..decisions were made and branches removed. My helpers Derek, Len and Ian then supervised the students as deadwood was created and branches were wired.

After lunch each tree returned to the turntable for the positioning of branches and styling. The students did really well for their first attempt and when you look at the pictures I think the results speak for themselves.

They all thoroughly enjoyed the experience too…..so well done!

 

Classroom Corner – Richards Juniper Parsonii

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 – Richards Juniper Parsonii

This was Richard’s first attempt at a Bonsai styling …….in at the deep end springs rapidly to mind. This is a large Juniper!

Some branches were removed but the first workshops concentrated almost entirely on creating deadwood and initiating shari. Live veins were identified and the lines of potential shari were marked out. You can see one of the thin shari in one of the later pictures. These will gradually be widened in forthcoming years.

A more detailed selection of branches was made leaving Richard with the daunting task of practicing and mastering his wiring technique……and what an excellent job he has made of it.

The tree came back last week to complete its first styling…..what a transformation. This tree can really go places and has been an invaluable experience. A Juniper Bonsai of this stature arriving in Europe from Japan today would be seriously expensive.

Richard was able to purchase this tree as a piece of raw material at modest cost but the learning curve that came with it was priceless! It was a real challenge but with a bit of input from me when required he has been able to create a super Bonsai, and gain the necessary confidence to tackle and master so many Bonsai techniques.

What makes it more amazing is that the learning curve and the journey with this tree has only just begun …….more techniques will need to be mastered as we take this tree to his next level……and ultimately to his top level!!

Classroom Corner – Academy 9/11 Class May 2018

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 – Academy 9/11 Class May 2018

Yesterday was one of my Academy sessions. The weather was so good that at one point we took to working outside……having said that it’s not easy to get the huge Juniper forest into the studio anyway.

Yesterday was really about catching up with some ongoing and current projects. Checking progress, making adjustments, discussing options and carrying out any necessary work to take each tree to the next stage of its development.

Two large forest plantings were overhauled. Trident Maples with grafted branches were pruned back. Ties were checked and foliage pruned on tanuki Junipers.

Cryptomeria were pruned. Styling work on individual pines and Junipers continued. I think everyone enjoyed a varied and very productive day.

Classroom Corner – White Pine Styling…simple but effective!

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 – White Pine styling…..simple but effective!

This Japanese White Pine was brought along to a recent open workshop. The upper trunk was just so straight and did not relate to the cascading movement/direction of the lower more dominant trunk.

It was decided to remove the upper trunk and go with the half cascade style of the lower trunk. The wired branches were positioned and then the upper trunk was made into deadwood.

The original problem had not really been solved but then with a bit of work on the deadwood and some heat bending…….suddenly the whole image is much more cohesive. The two trunks now relate to each other and we have the added drama/character of the deadwood providing much greater interest.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Classroom Corner – One to one….deciduous day!

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 – One to one……deciduous day!

On a recent one to one at the nursery Roy brought along some deciduous trees for advice and pruning. He had grown most of his trees from seedlings and really has done the most amazing job.

The help and advice he needed now was about how to take these trees to the next level. Each tree was discussed in turn and then I pruned them as required.

A growing plan for the forthcoming season was then outlined for each tree. With some good controlled vigorous growth we should be able to notice quite a difference by the end of the year.

 

Classroom Corner – Academy Class January 2018

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 – Academy Class January 2018

This was the first meeting of my Academy 9/11 group and the first Academy session of the year. I presented the group with a number of trees for discussion.

The discussions would then lead to selective ( in some cases drastic ) pruning, extensive cleaning of trunks and deadwood, and some wiring/styling.

The material was varied and of good quality with excellent potential. I was looking for good work and a good result!

 

 

Classroom Corner – Johns Larch 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 – Johns Larch Forest

John arrived at a recent midweek class with literally a “load” of trees! He had been cultivating these young Larch trees and now wanted help in putting them together as a forest.

First we selected the ones that we thought we could use together and removed them from their pots. In selecting and arranging the trees consideration was given to trunk diameter, height and movement.

Positioning the trees on the slab also involved allowing scope for some negative open space. Keto was used to help hold the compost and planting in position.

The last job was the selection and pruning of branches. The soil areas will be covered with moss once John gets the tree home.

These Larch forests mature and develop very quickly into a convincing landscape Bonsai.

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.