Memory Lane – Gingko Selected Trees 2006

Looking back….we can tell a tree’s story…..admire an image…..capture a moment…..remember a special event… inspired – to create a memory for tomorrow. 

I hope you enjoy this regular peep into some of John’s bonsai history.

Memory Lane – Gingko Selected Trees 2006
In September 2006 we held our second Newstead Bonsai Extravaganza with guestIMG_1830 demonstrator Japanese bonsai master Nobutaka Sakuma. My good friend Danny Use from Belgium was also on hand to assist Mr Sakuma and help with translation.
Danny also used this opportunity to select trees for his Gingko Bonsai Exhibition to be held in September 2007. When you consider that the Gingko exhibition was highly regarded as the best bonsai exhibition outside of Japan, for us to have so many of our exhibited trees selected was a great honour for all our participants. It also highlighted not only the quality of our exhibition but also the progress being made in raising the standard of bonsai generally in the UK.
So for those of you who exhibited or visited the event please enjoy this nostalgic trip down memory lane. For those of you who missed it I hope you enjoy this sample of top quality trees which 1 year later were appreciated by bonsai enthusiasts from all over Europe and beyond……
IMG_1800p IMG_1802 IMG_1803 IMG_1804 IMG_1805 IMG_1806 IMG_1807 IMG_1808 IMG_1809 IMG_1810 IMG_1811 IMG_1812 IMG_1816 IMG_1817 IMG_1818 IMG_1819 IMG_1821 IMG_1822 IMG_1823 IMG_1824 IMG_1825 IMG_1826 IMG_1827 IMG_1828
IMG_1813 IMG_1814 IMG_1815

Studio Stories – Bonsai Maples from the garden

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

Studio Stories – Bonsai Maples from the garden

In a corner of my bonsai garden adjacent to the gate are two maples. One is a green maple whilst the other is of the Atropurpureum variety. Both tree suffered from severe dieback over the years but continue to regrow and fill up the space.

However as you can see this corner is looking a bit sad after a long wet winter and the unwanted attentions of two mischievous ever-digging Rottweiler dogs!

IMG_1071 IMG_1072 IMG_1073






IMG_1059 IMG_0315







So on the 19th April 2013 I decided to lift the maples and introduce them to a better way of life…….One safely away from marauding dogs where their every whim is taken care of in a sheltered protected environment…….welcome to the bonsai training pot!

IMG_1075 IMG_1076 IMG_1077

The trees were dug out with as much root as possible. As much of the heavy roots were pruned away as possible and then the tops were also pruned back. Any potential useable branches were retained and future possible trunk lines were also considered in making the selection.

IMG_1078 IMG_1079

Both trunks will have good potential for future hollowing/carving especially the purple maple as the central trunk has already died back and could be safely hollowed out.


The pictures below were taken today 23rd May, just over a month later. The trees have been protected in a polytunnel and you can see that despite the cold weather they are sprouting/growing well.

Both trees have far greater potential as bonsai than as garden material and therefore this exercise was justified and really worthwhile………..and the garden???…… well I have had to replant with suitable material from our nursery…….seems to me everyone’s a winner ……. unfortunately the dogs are already rubbing their claws together!!!……. I will let you know what happens!!!

IMG_1223 IMG_1224


Topical Times – Big tree cut down in size

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

Topical Times – Big tree cut down in size

As we continued to clear and tidy the garden following our nursery move we uncovered the base of a large weeping willow tree. A large side branch had been cut off at some stage and although the wound had calloused over, rot had entered the centre of the tree.

The resulting weakness had caused a severe crack to appear made even more dangerous by the fact that most of the tree extended over an access lane to the side.

IMG_1131 IMG_1145 IMG_1134




Strange as it may sound I don’t like felling trees but in this case we had no other option.

So I contacted Wayne Salter Tree Services and what a fantastic professional job they did. I would recommend them to anyone with a tree problem.

IMG_1132 IMG_1133

IMG_1135 IMG_1136 IMG_1137 IMG_1138 IMG_1139 IMG_1140 IMG_1141 IMG_1142 IMG_1143 IMG_1144












Large branches overhanging the nursery were roped and removed without any threat to the property below. In about an hour this huge tree was cut down to size, branches were removed and apart from the stump everything else just disappeared……and now we wait for it to sprout again but smaller and under control…..

…………..It’s a bit like bonsai only bigger!!!




Classroom Corner – Roy’s Place – Juniper Styling

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 – Roy’s Place – Juniper Styling
The first post detailing our last visit to Roy’s place was published on the 16th January 2013 under the Classroom Corner section.
IMG_1015Roy has several larger trees that he can’t transport to classesIMG_1016 so sometimes I have to go to the trees! On this occasion it was to work on a Juniper Parsonii. The tree had been initially styled at the nursery in the autumn of 2011. Branches had been selected and some deadwood created. The tree had then been allowed a season to recover and to grow.
Too many branches had been left at the top as possibilities for a new apex whilst the lower IMG_1017branch is too large and hidesIMG_1018 the trunk/shari. They are all removed. Roy is sitting down at this point!
Any remaining branches without wire are now totally wired including some of the finer shoots. The shari on the trunk can now be safely widened.
After the branches have been positioned the tree is transplanted and repotted out of the plant pot into a suitable mica pot. It is now much more manageable and transportable from Roy’s point of view.
The lower branch to the right will be reduced in size and may even be removed completely in due course. The large jin adjoining the apex will also be gradually reduced as the line of the shari develops further.
IMG_1020 IMG_1021 IMG_1022
This tree has come a long way from the original piece of field-grown material. You can now clearly see the lines of the finished image and just how impressive a tree this Juniper will become.
Visits to Roy’s place are a welcome distraction and rewarding for both of us as well as the tree. I am sure there will be more to come so watch this space…….

Memory Lane – Indonesian Lava Rock 2008

Looking back….we can tell a tree’s story…..admire an image…..capture a moment…..remember a special event… inspired – to create a memory for tomorrow. 

I hope you enjoy this regular peep into some of John’s bonsai history.

Memory Lane – Indonesian Lava Rock 2008
Visitors to our Newstead Bonsai extravaganza were really impressed with the rock plantings created by Japanese bonsai master Nobutaka Sakuma two of which are pictured below.
May 09 001 April 09
I am sure many people were inspired to have a go at creating their own planting none more so than my own students.
So when I acquired some Indonesian lava rocks and announced a class in February 2008 there was plenty of interest. The cost of the class included a rock and compost. Students were invited to bring their own material for planting on the rock or alternatively they could purchase material form the nursery on the day.
Oct  2009 Special rock class Jan 08 001
Special rock class Jan 08 008
Some days you know you are going to get your hands dirty and some days you just know they will get very dirty!!!…..( a Chelsea fan and a Man U fan smiling together….Impossible!!!)
Some students opted to plant a single larger tree on the rock whilst others looked to create a miniature landscape. Each student was able to show initiative and make their own interpretation.
Special rock class Jan 08 003 Special rock class Jan 08 004 Special rock class Jan 08 005 Special rock class Jan 08 006 Special rock class Jan 08 007 Special rock class Jan 08 009 Special rock class Jan 08 010 Special rock class Jan 08 013 Special rock class Jan 08 014