Classroom Corner – Christmas Special 16th December 2012

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.

Christmas Special 16th December 2012 – Juniper Iitogawa

This year’s special class which included the material and full day styling session involved some compact bushy junipers ideal for creating shohin/chuhin bonsai.

Despite removing 50/75% of the foliage, once wired out the trees still managed to provide a detailed canopy after their first styling. More unnecessary branches will be removed as the remaining shoots develop further and the canopy becomes denser. Leaving ample greenery on at this stage will keep the trees strong and encourage a quicker recovery from the styling process.

More deadwood and shari work will be undertaken in due course as the tree recovers and the lines of the live veins and deadwood become more obvious. Basically we follow the natural lines of the tree itself.

Here are before and after pictures from the full day styling session.




































Memory Lane – Heathrow Bonsai Event November 2012 (Part One)

Nothing too taxing to launch a new feature on a new website……don’t have to dig too deep into the memory cells!!!

A big thanks to Mark and Ming Moreland for inviting me to demonstrate at their annual bonsai event. Credit to everyone involved that despite attrocious weather the many visitors who braved the rain were treated to some excellent displays of trees.

This account relates to my morning demonstration of a rather large somewhat overgrown   Juniper Pfitzeriana






The first task was to remove all unnecessary foliage and branches.






There was an obvious cascading branch option but it lacked movement and taper. A more compact upright image had much greater possibilities and potential.





I had tried to anticipate which branches I might use and pre-wired them to save time as this was to be a relatively short demo. Initially some of the unused branches were stripped of bark and retained as potential jins.






It was now time to start positioning the branches and hope that my earlier design theories would come good.






At last pleasing triangular canopies are beginning to emerge using the main trunk and the very substantial retained lower branch. The jinned branches were shortened and shari’s were created in the trunk to link the deadwood and provide an interesting flowing spiral movement.







I am pleased with the result. The tree is a good medium size bonsai, and has potential to be refined into a strong Japanese bonsai image.

I would like to thank Iqbal Khan who was taking pictures throughout the day and kindly agreed to send me some copies to support this article.




To say thank you for checking out our website we are holding a one day sale on Saturday 29th December 10.00 to 4.00pm. Just for the day there will be 20% off all bonsai trees , plants, and raw material. There will also be 25% off all Japanese carbon and stainless steel tools.

I hope you can make it.

Classroom Corner – Juniper Communis

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.

Stan brought in this yamadorii juniper for advice on it’s first styling. Pictures 1 and 2 show front and rear shots of the tree as it arrived in the studio.






Pictures 3 and 4 show the same two views after making an initial branch selection. Foliage has been removed from the unwanted branches but stubs have been left to give us the opportunity to create some deadwood jins.






Picture 5 shows the tree after it’s first wiring and styling. We decided on a semi-cascade approach utilising both the upper and lower trunk lines. There are still options to create a simple informal upright tree or a  semi cascade using only the lower branch if required in the future. The chosen style makes the best use of the material. Deadwood has been created and jins shortened. Once the tree has recovered it should be possible to link the jins with a spiralling shari of deadwood.The tree will not be repotted this coming season but the planting angle will be adjusted in the existing pot.

Studio Stories – Juniper Blaauws Variety


Sometimes I work on nursery trees, sometimes I work on client’s trees……and sometimes if I’ve been really good I get to work on my own trees. Hopefully these regular visits will give you an insight into what goes on behind closed doors……….

Chris recently left this tree with me for re-styling. Basically and perhaps dangerously he gave me a free hand! The tree was in good health and had grown very strongly in recent years but as a result of this had now lost it’s shape.

An initial branch selection was made. This tree has a relatively thin trunk but one with good movement and excellent taper. It is also a tall tree and the foliage canopy needs to be in sympathy with these attributes. Weak inner shoots and hanging down foliage beneath the branches was removed.

The existing shari was widened and extended much higher up the trunk. Existing jins would be shortened or re-aligned. The tree was then ready for total rewiring.

The tree after wiring and styling. The tree has a new front to take greater advantage of the movement in the trunk. The foliage canopy is now much more in keeping with the trunk line and the general nature of this tree. It will be repotted into a more appropriate pot in late spring.

My client has a new tree on his bench.



Topical Times – In house security!

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


Given time off for a trip to the vets our tough Rottweiler security guards are unfazed by the experience and remain totally chilled out!


Rest assured your trees are in safe hands protected by our ever alert security unit.

Christmas closing times – NEW DATE ADDED

Please note the nursery will close at 4.00pm Friday 21st December and will re-open at 10.00am on Thursday 3rd January except for Saturday 29th December when we will be open 10.00 to 4.00pm…SEE SALE DAY!!!

We would like to take this opportunity to wish all our customers and students a very happy Christmas and a peaceful New Year. Thank you for your continued support and we look forward to welcoming you to the nursery in 2013.