Topical Times – Conifer air layers – a result!

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

Topical Times – Conifer air layers – a result!

A Bonsai Academy class held on the 27th March 2012 involved placing air layers on different species of potential bonsai material.

Sometimes it was to create a better root system on an established tree and sometimes it was to create a completely new tree from existing stock.

Different techniques were used in taking the layers to see if one was more successful than the other with certain species.

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We generally find that conifers are much more difficult to air layer than deciduous varieties.   The three trees featured here had not taken at the end of 2012 so they were left in place over the winter. They have been checked regularly during 2013 and without success ….until last week.

After some 18 months we finally had some root systems and the layers could be removed before the winter. The layers were potted into Japanese training pots in a mixture of akadama and chopped sphagnum moss.

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The Cedar was taken using the ring bark method whilst the Hemlock and Taxus were taken using the tourniquet method. Three potential new small bonsai have been created but more importantly a useful technique has been mastered.

As with all things bonsai it just goes to show that patience is indeed a virtue!!!

Latest News – Bonsai Classes – Times are changing! October updated

From and including the open workshop on Sunday 3rd November all Sunday bonsai classes will now take place from 9.30am to 3.30pm.

Saturday and Wednesday bonsai classes will continue to run from 10.00am to 4.00pm.

October Classes Availability

Sat 5th Open workshop                         Sold Out

Sun 6th Beginners One                           8 places sold but could take 1/2 more

Sat 12th Junipers Two                            1 place left – Now sold out

Wed 16th Midweek workshop                Sold Out

Sat 19th Beginners One                           8 places sold but could take 1/2 more

Sun 20th Beginners Two                          8 places sold but could take 1/2 more

Sat 26th Open workshop                         3 places left – Now 2 places

Wed 30th Midweek workshop                 2 places left

Classroom Corner – Stan’s 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 – Stan’s Juniper Styling
On a recent midweek class Stan brought a Juniper he had acquired at the beginning of the year. The tree had grown well during the summer producing a bushy foliage mass with excellent colour.
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The tree had obviously been styled and worked in the past but Stan wanted some advice on how best to now take the tree forward and to another level.
The movement in this tree is from left to right and is driven by the substantial and somewhat classical low hanging branch. However, the lowest branch on the left is too strong and is pulling you in the wrong direction in conflict with the overall image of the tree.
They often say in bonsai when you have a problem cut it off……….so I did!!!
There was a strong branch growing away from the back of the tree which was also a distraction as you could see it from the front. The offending section was removed.
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Some smaller branches were removed to allow more light and air into the canopy. The tree’s total foliage was then cleaned out and all the branches were subjected to a detailed wiring.
Once this work had been completed the tree was brought back to another midweek class so that all the branches could be positioned. The overall shape of the tree now works very well and it is much more compact and refined. Some loose edges will be wired or pruned back when the tree starts growing again. The hanging branch is also too heavy and will need to be lightened in due course.
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This is a good mid-size bonsai with an excellent shari/live vein combination and a foliage canopy that can be refined even further during the next growing season.

Memory Lane – Demo Day Taxus Cuspidata Part One……..Then….

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

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

Memory Lane – Demo Day Taxus Cuspidata Part One………Then….
 This Taxus arrived into Europe from Japan in January 2005. With it’s roots wrapped in a New trees 2005 002hessian sack, devoid of any pot, it’s arrival was somewhat undignified for such a fine piece of raw material bonsai.
This somewhat unkempt appearance did not deter me and I was happy to acquire both this tree and one of his travelling companions……..these were serious prices for serious trees!
Despite being better presented in a large ceramic pot the tree did not attract a new buyer but continued to grow well and bushier, and bushier.
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The pictures above were taken in January 2010. Some long branches which I thought were unnecessary had already been pruned away.
This tree needed styling and in February 2010 the perfect opportunity arose. This was the first of our “Demo Day” presentations and so I selected this Taxus and a large Juniper Blaauws as the subjects for a complete transformation in front of an enthusiastic audience.
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The foliage was cleaned out a little beforehand to make explanations easier and more obviously apparent. There were just too many heavy branches in all directions. A plausible trunk line had to be identified and useable branches selected.
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Because of the large number of large branches that had to be removed (not for the feint-hearted) it meant that most of these would have to be made into deadwood……..potentially ugly scars become a really significant feature.
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Assistants Len and Derek did a really excellent job working the deadwood while I entertained the audience working on the Juniper.
I had carefully marked the live veins I needed to keep intact to feed the foliage and to work aesthetically with both the front of the tree and the surrounding deadwood. Once the work on the deadwood was completed Len and Derek wired all the remaining live branches.
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The tree was ready for me to style but first I had to tilt the whole tree over to focus on a Demo Day 1 - taxus and juniper 041new planting angle to coincide with the live trunk that remained. I was pleased with the outcome and how far the tree had progressed as a result of this day’s work.
The tree had been in this pot for 5 years so 1 month later I decided to carry out a repotting into a slightly smaller pot and tried to adjust the planting angle as much as possible.
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The tree has such a good fibrous rootball so this is generally a very safe repotting. The excess rootball still remaining above the proposed soil level will be reduced gradually during the growing season.
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The shari to the front has been extended downwards slightly to separate the veins and more of the long root to the left side has been exposed.
The tree was then fed and watered and allowed time to recover.
Look out for Part Two of this blog which will bring you right up to date with the latest work carried out on this remarkable tree in the last few weeks.

Studio Stories – One to One – Chris’s Junipers August 2013

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 – One to One – Chris’s Junipers August 2013

This session was arranged at short notice and I was really pleased we were able to fit it in.IMG_1629

Chris fetched several Junipers from his collection, generally for advice and discussion. The first Juniper under the spotlight was a Chinensis of the Aurea variety but on this occasion it looked really pale and sad.

We had to remove it from the pot to examine the roots but unfortunately with this pot having an inward curving design it could not be done without some disturbance. Because the tree was basically unhappy we had to keep this disturbance to a minimum.

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Dead/decaying roots were removed but the rootball was left largely intact. It was repotted into a slightly larger/deeper training pot with a larger size soil particle in a mixture of bims and akadama. It will now be mist sprayed regularly and watered only as required to promote a sound recovery.

This variegated Juniper has an amazing base and shari but the top has become far too leggy and overpowering.

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As much of the foliage as possible was removed to promote growth in the areas where it is required and to enable a more compact design to be achieved in sympathy with the trunk. It will soon be possible to remove more of the bark on the trunk and make the shari even more dramatic.

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This Juniper Parsonii just required a little thinning out and tweaking of the branches. It continues to make really good progress.

I go back a long way with the massive San Jose Juniper having followed it’s progress through several changes of ownership. In the past several possible trunk lines have been removed and converted to deadwood. One of the problems now is not just about designing a canopy of foliage but designing one that works with the tree but also relates to and incorporates the deadwood.

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After arranging the branches and much discussion a new front is finally selected that really suits the tree and works with the deadwood. In the spring it will be repotted into a slightly smaller pot in it’s new position.

I am delighted to at last see an excellent bonsai emerging from this impressive piece of material…..I always knew it was there!!!…….and I am also happy that after more than 15  years of trials and tribulations (and a near bonfire experience!) this fine old tree has found the caring enthusiastic owner (shame he is a Liverpool fan!) he so richly deserves…….

If you have a tree or trees that deserve a one to one or one to two contact John for further information.

Topical Times – It’s that Styling time of year

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

Topical Times – It’s that Styling time of year

As the nights draw in and autumn arrives often accompanied by damp colder weather it invariably means we have to take refuge in the studio. At least there is less time to be spent on watering and routine maintenance work.

In the bonsai studio most of our time over the winter months is spent doing wiring/styling work and repottings. We will start the repottings as soon as the trees are dormant and will continue while ever the weather is mild/reasonable.

As a working bonsai nursery this is an excellent opportunity for us to style raw material and create new trees or to wire and restyle trees that have already been wired in the past.

During the coming months I look forward to bringing you images of our work which I hope will inspire you to greater things with some of your own trees.

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This smaller Juniper was too bushy and the almost cascading lower branch needed greater emphasis. The tree was thinned out and then wired.

The literati Pfitzeriana Juniper has become too heavy and needed thinning out. The line of the shari is also improved.

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The Parsonii Juniper had been originally styled at one of our demo days but after the removal of wire had gradually lost it’s shape. What a difference after the re-wiring, a much tighter profile.

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The second Parsonii Juniper had also lost it’s shape after a good period of growth.

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The third Parsonii Juniper had already had a radical pruning to take it to it’s next level. It was now ready for some more work on the deadwood to extend the shari and for a total rewiring.

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A heavy branch extending from near the top of the tree was causing the profile of the tree to extend too far and so this had to be removed completely.

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For us this really is an exciting time of year!!!

 

Latest News – Excessive Beginners Demand results in Class Changes

Our next 2 day Beginners Course due to be held in October was vastly oversubscribed so we had no alternative but to try and find extra dates.IMG_1186

Unfortunately this means we have had to cancel two open workshops on the 19th October and the 2nd November.

We are now running Beginners One classes on the 6th and 19th October. Beginners Two classes will be held on the 20th October and the 2nd November.

For further information on each class please look under the heading “Bonsai Classes and Information”.

If you are interested in attending any of these Beginners Classes please contact the nursery as there is still some space available.

Latest News – Bonsai Academy, E-mail changes, Classes (updated)

The John Hanby Bonsai Academy

Information relating to the academy can now be found on the website homepage on the drop down menu under “Bonsai Classes and Information”.

Next year we hope to be running Levels One, Five and Seven. If you are interested in enrolling on the academy please contact the nursery as soon as possible to secure your place. The first session will take place in January.

E-mail Changes

We have used several e-mail addresses in recent years but from now on will only be using one. If you need to contact us please make sure that the address you reply to is john@johnhanbybonsai.co.uk

September Classes Availability (Correct at the time of writing)

Sunday 15th  Deadwood and Carving          Sold Out

Wednesday 18th  Midweek Workshop         3 Places

Sunday 22nd Open Workshop                     2 Places

Saturday 28th  Open Workshop                   Sold Out

Sunday 29th  Wiring Class                            3 Places

 

Classroom Corner – Taxus Class – September 2013

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 – Taxus Class – September 2013
This Taxus class provided us with the opportunity to discuss and work on some reallyIMG_1664 excellent bonsai. The really nice thing is that nearly all the trees featured here started on classes several years ago as very humble and basic pieces of raw material.
This class really is a testament to what can be achieved over a relatively short period of time if you apply the right techniques at the right time to a vigorous( “well-fed” ) piece of reasonable material.
Kevin’s huge windswept cascade needed a little tweaking which involved removing some downward/conflicting branches and a bit of serious wiring.
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Len’s cascade needed thinning out/some branch removal and detailed wiring of some of the finer branches.
A heavy lower branch was removed completely.
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Derek’s tanuki (wraparound) taxus had really grown well and needed a lot of thinning out.
From a small taxus seedling and a piece of aquatic driftwood this tree is truly amazing.
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Henry’s taxus had also grown very strongly and needed a branch selection so that the open spaces could be more clearly defined.
The original tree was almost 6 feet high and was reduced to the large jin whilst the tree you now see has grown from a single side branch that was retained.
Derek’s Taxus Cuspidata with it’s strong deadwood is really looking impressive.
You would not believe how much foliage was removed from this tree and it still looks full.
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Keith’s taxus has a very strong Japanese bonsai image and needs to be thinned out on a regular basis. It will soon be ready for it’s next wiring session!
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Another branch selection was made on this small Taxus Cuspidata.
It can now be allowed to grow strong again before it’s first wiring and styling.
Most of these trees will probably need some wiring next year but otherwise it will be more of the same…….good feeding/watering to promote strong healthy growth that can be pruned back at the right time to develop/refine the desired image………already looking forward to Taxus Class 2014!

Memory Lane – Bonsai Academy Yamadorii Buxus

 

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

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

Memory Lane – Bonsai Academy Yamadorii Buxus
One of our sessions on the bonsai academy classes involved a repotting demonstration of yamadorii (collected from the wild) material. On each of these occasions we used some old Buxus that had been originally collected in France.
This material is ideally suited to bonsai with it’s old twisted trunks, natural aged deadwood, and evergreen small-leaved foliage. The dense fibrous root system is also sympathetic to our cause.
Prior to each class the Buxus yamadorii raw material was pruned/cleaned out, totally wired and given it’s first styling. The work on the class basically involved repotting the styled tree out of it’s plastic training pot into an appropriate ceramic bonsai pot.
The photographs below show before and after pictures of some of the material used which was selected from our stock of raw material. This work was carried out during the period from 2008 to 2010.
If you are interested in our Bonsai Academy further information will soon be appearing on our website in the section “Bonsai Classes and Information”. You can then contact me by e-mail, telephone or at the nursery.
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