Latest News – April Classes – 72 places…5 left!!! (Updated again)

 

April Classes Latest Availability

12th  Open workshop                   1 place

13th  Open workshop                   Sold out

16th  Midweek workshop              Sold out

19th  Open workshop                    1 place

26th  Taxus One                             3 places

27th  Junipers One                        Sold out

30th  Midweek workshop               Sold out

Memory Lane – Alan’s Yamadorii Larch

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 – Alan’s Yamadorii Larch
It was nice to see Alan recently turn up to a class with his yamadorii Larch. He had already decided that he would like to restyle the tree by cutting off the cascading branch……but what would we have left?………
IMG_2589 IMG_2593 IMG_2594
The solution was to try and bend the remaining branches upwards and arrange them around the heavy trunk to create a more powerful squat image. It’s not too long since the tree was repotted and in view of the heavy bending it was decided to leave the cascading branch at this point in time and remove it once the tree is growing well.
DSCN0032dec01 DSCN0035 DSCN0037
The tree has come a long way since it’s humble beginnings back in 2001 shortly after I had acquired it. Then it was a collected tree from the Alps in a large black pot.
DSCN0039 DSCN0040 DSCN0041
The strong base of the tree had to be uncovered and after an initial branch selection some deadwood had to be created.
DSCN0042 DSCN0043 DSCN0044
The deadwood was used to shape the trunk line into the cascading branch and create an illusion of taper.
DSCN0045 DSCN0047 DSCN0050
The selected branches then needed to be wired before the cascade style tree could finally be created.
DSCN1619Aug04 DSCN1620 DSCN1621
August 2004 and the tree is growing well but with the wire removed it has lost some of it’s shape.
April 2005 IMG_0625 Picture 683
The first picture above shows the tree going into winter in 2004 whilst the second picture shows the tree with some shape restored in April 2005. The tree was subsequently sold and the final picture above shows it returning on a class in January 2013 ready for some pruning.
The tree has come such a long way and now after 13 years he starts on a new journey, a new shape. This will ultimately mean a new pot on his next repotting to complement his new style……and so his story goes on…….can’t wait to see his new image when he leafs out.
Sometimes it’s a tree’s history that makes it special…….but it’s even nicer when he has a new future to look forward to……..will keep you posted!

Studio Stories – White Pine Transformation….a new angle!

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 – White Pine Transformation…..a new angle!

It all started with a telephone call several years ago….a lady, a little in distress. Sadly her husband had passed away some two years previously and she had been left having to look after two Japanese White Pines. Her husband had apparently nurtured these trees for more than 30 years.

She was worried about losing the trees and not having the expertise to look after them properly. She had found me on the internet, she lived locally and asked if I would be prepared to buy them from her. So I paid her a visit and was pleasantly surprised to find two substantial trees in really good condition. I congratulated her on an excellent job and told her that her husband would have been very proud of how she had managed.

We agreed on a price and I took the trees back to the nursery. They were put up for sale and eventually both trees were sold.

In the autumn of 2013 one of the trees made a welcome return to Newstead. The owner of the tree asked me if I would wire and restyle two pines. I had carried out similar work for this client in the past so I knew what was expected.

IMG_2310 IMG_2312 IMG_2311

The tree was bushy and generally in very good condition with excellent colour and signs of back budding. The problems centred around the middle of the tree.The trunk reduces in thickness by more than half at a single point. At the same point there is a strong first branch which is very thick and comes out somewhat unnaturally at a right angle to the trunk.

IMG_2313 IMG_2314 IMG_2315

When the tree is tilted slightly towards the right in the direction of the branch the picture changes quite dramatically. The branch almost takes on the appearance of a second trunk and the tree becomes more like a semi-cascade. The trunk and branch now flow and work well together. The trunk flows more naturally from thick to thin and even suggests movement and taper.

Old needles had already been cleaned out so there was just a little thinning out of shoots to do before wiring of all the branches could commence.

IMG_2427 IMG_2440

Once the branches have been wired and repositioned the change to this tree really is quite dramatic. I really like the new image, this is a Japanese tree which now looks like a classic Japanese White Pine.

 

The whole transformation is down to a simple change in planting angle. Look carefully at your own trees the next time you are considering a restyle because sometimes a little change can produce a big, big result.

I sincerely hope that the kind people who have guided this tree in the past can rest assured that his future is something to look forward to!

Topical Times – A bit of all sorts………

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

Topical Times – A bit of all sorts………

Spring is in the air, trees are moving, classes are busy, and the dogs are……. as usual up to no good!

IMG_2571 IMG_2572 IMG_2596

Over in the bonsai garden the bright long yellow catkins of the twisted hazel are starting to fade but the Osmanthus clump overhanging a dry stream is looking good. Jackie is missing some item of clothing from the bathroom floor???……..no it couldn’t be…..could it!!!

IMG_2573 IMG_2574 IMG_2576

Most classes have been sold out in March and students have been turning up with lots of interesting material. A long straight second trunk to the rear of this impressive Larch simply had to be removed……….did I say simply?……

IMG_2459 IMG_2564 IMG_2565

Pretty as the flowers may be the trunk seriously let’s this winter flowering Cherry down. So let’s get rid of the problem and plant the tree in our growing bed for a couple of seasons. Look out for this one in the future!

IMG_2568 IMG_2569 IMG_2563

This Larch was part of a batch of trees we have been asked to work on for a client. The amount of flowers on this tree is quite overwhelming and whilst dramatic in appearance it could be a “cry for help.” The compost is a bit heavy and wet but it’s too late for a major repot. We have pruned the tree and improved it’s drainage but further monitoring is required.

There is all this activity in and around the nursery but as you can see our dedicated head of security just takes every day as it comes, in his stride, undaunted and totally unphased!!!

Classroom Corner – Academy -Renovating old Deshojo Maple Forests

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 – Renovating old Deshojo Maple Forests
Some old maple forests had lost some of the smaller trees and they needed repotting/renovating.
IMG_2477 IMG_2479 IMG_2478
This would be a good experience for one of my academy classes. It followed on nicely from the creation of the Juniper Loderii forest detailed in an earlier post and also provided another topic in the series on repotting.
IMG_2480 IMG_2481 IMG_2482
Each group had to be studied in detail to determine the best options available both aesthetically and commercially.
IMG_2483 IMG_2484 IMG_2485
Once a decision had been made the roots had to be combed out and where necessary selected clumps had to be removed from the existing groups.
IMG_2486 IMG_2487 IMG_2488
Planting arrangements, new fronts and new pots all had to be given serious consideration and the heights of the respective trees taken into account.
IMG_2489 IMG_2490 IMG_2491
This is a really pleasing outcome. I have some good saleable groups which should look stunning as the red foliage opens in spring. There was just one tree left all alone but with the movement in the trunk and some fresh growth this will soon make a really interesting solo bonsai……a job well done……watch out for some in leaf pictures………
 

Memory Lane – When is a tree not a tree?….When it’s two trees!

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 – When is a tree not a tree?….When it’s two trees!
One of the pleasures of the bonsai workshop is that when students arrive at the beginning of the day you simply have no idea what they will be bringing with them. It could be a tree for advice on pruning, a health issue, repotting, maintenance work, or it could be a completely new project they want styling from scratch. Some students who will remain nameless translate bonsai workshop as meaning “challenge John”, the object of the exercise being to see him fail miserably…..
They have not succeeded yet and I don’t intend to give in without a fight. Whatever is placed before you has to be dealt with…..you simply have to rise to the challenge.
DSCN1063 DSCN1064 DSCN1065
 The Juniper Chinensis pictured above arrived at an open workshop in 2006. It certainly had character but it was hard to reconcile the twisting and curving multiple trunks.
DSCN1068 DSCN1069 DSCN1071
After some deliberation we decided to split the trunk down the middle and create two separate bonsai. The roots were exposed, spread out and examined to ensure that each tree would have enough to survive.
DSCN1072 DSCN1074 DSCN1075
The trunk was sawn through and the scars below soil level were treated with wound sealant. We now had two reasonable trees and each one was more plausible than the original. Both trees survived and were subsequently restyled. I wonder where they are today?
The variety of material and problems you come across is truly amazing and sometimes the outcome is even more astounding……..this is without doubt the best way to learn bonsai ……you see and experience so many problems, so much advice, you see the solutions ……and at the end of the day we are all more knowledgeable.

Studio Stories – Some Nursery Bonsai Stylings

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 – Some Nursery Bonsai Stylings

Styling our own material is something we do on a regular ongoing basis. Sometimes it’s raw material, sometimes it’s trees that have already had at least one wiring.

IMG_2074 IMG_2161 IMG_2162

The wire had been removed from this Scots Pine approximately 12 months ago and it had lost it’s shape. A re-wiring, a re-working of the foliage and the tree is much more compact and much more attractive.

We always put trees up for sale as we acquire them and give the bonsai hobbyist the chance to buy the tree in it’s “raw” state and carry out the styling work themselves. After a while the tree reaches a stage where the styling work has to be carried out to maintain health and momentum.

IMG_2127 IMG_2316 IMG_2317

The shoots on this Juniper Rigida had extended but were now dropping downwards. The wiring and styling was necessary for health as well as good looks.

IMG_2456 IMG_2457 IMG_1945

We carry out styling work all through the year but the winter period is a good time often when the weather stops us from doing other jobs.

IMG_2320 IMG_2309 IMG_2308

Each time you wire and style a tree you take it to another level. It is another step, another stage in the development and refinement of your bonsai. These two pines become much more saleable as a result of the styling work undertaken.

IMG_2535 IMG_2544 IMG_2536

This yamadorii Spruce appeared so sparse that you would expect the wiring to produce a very basic shape but where does the extra foliage come from to produce such a full finished image after the styling?…….answers on a postcard…..!!! Wiring is not the favourite pastime of many bonsai students (you know who you are….. Susan!) but the result it can bring you makes it really worth the effort.

Topical Times – Buxus cascade styling and repotting

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

Topical Times – Buxus cascade styling and repotting

This yamadorii Buxus originated from the south of France. We had a batch of these and this was the last one to be styled.

IMG_2500 IMG_2501 IMG_2509

The natural lean to one side and the position of the foliage made it somewhat obvious and appropriate to follow the cascade style. An initial selection of branches was made and the retained branches were all wired ready for positioning.

IMG_2510 IMG_2511 IMG_2513

When it came to repotting there were some heavy ugly roots that ideally needed to be removed. Once these were removed it would also make it possible to tilt the tree over to enhance the cascading movement from right to left. Further investigation revealed that there was very little fibrous root attached to the heavy surface roots and so they could be removed without any fear of affecting the health of the tree.

IMG_2514 IMG_2516 IMG_2518

You can see how much the tree was tilted from the position of the roots stub. I have left ample foliage on the tree to help it recover from this work but I suspect that in due course the two lower foliage clouds will be removed to leave a more compact semi-cascade tree.

The detail on the deadwood is quite stunning and is a clear indication of the tree’s age and somewhat exposed upbringing. Sometimes styling can be difficult and complex …..sometimes a bit of obvious pruning, a bit of wiring and a simple change of angle can bring about a dramatic change opening up the soul of the tree for all to see.

Classroom Corner – Junipers, Taxus and a Cedar enter the fray!

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 – Junipers, Taxus and a Cedar enter the fray!
This selection of trees recently attended classes held in December 2013 and February 2014. It is a typical mix to be found in most workshop classes and one of the things that makes them so interesting.
IMG_2442 IMG_2443 IMG_2444
The first Juniper was one from the Christmas Special batch but Steve had been unable to make the December date. Options were discussed and a number of significant branches had to be removed. Some deadwood was created and then the remaining branches were all wired and positioned.
IMG_2445 IMG_2446 IMG_2200
Once the tree has had time to settle down and recover the live veins will become more obvious and a shari can then be safely introduced to link up the dead jins and give this shohin bonsai some real character. Derek’s Cedar had originally been a full long cascade but over the years the lower section had become very weak.
IMG_2201 IMG_2202
IMG_2203Derek wanted to restyle the tree and make it smaller. The lower cascading branch was removed. A heavy branch to the rear was unnatural and was also removed.
IMG_2206
IMG_2209
IMG_2208The resulting small tree is impressive for the variety but obviously is now overpowered by the pot. It will be repotted in April into a more suitable shallow pot and then it should look really well. The leggy Juniper was another find by David……he generally manages to come up with a challenge on every class.
IMG_2447IMG_2448 IMG_2213
The tree was radically reduced and simplified.The foliage was arranged closer to the trunk to create a compact and much older looking tree. David had acquired the Taxus as a sick tree but had grown it on and restored it’s vigour. it was now ready for a wiring and styling.
IMG_2449 IMG_2205 IMG_2204
Only a relatively small amount of pruning was required but the finished shape is much better and the foliage lines of the tree are now clearly defined. Bob had pre-wired his Taxus Cuspidata so it was simply a case of positioning the branches….but wow what a difference. This is becoming a very impressive mature tree with a great future.
Five trees entered the fray and all escaped relatively unscathed and looking much better for the experience……..unfortunately the same cannot be said about the students and the teacher!!!

Memory Lane – Sydney Australia…Saturday Workshop October 2009

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 – Sydney Australia…Saturday Workshop October 2009
When I was booked to demonstrate at the National Bonsai Convention in New Zealand I was kindly invited to do some bonsai work in Sydney which I suppose to a layman like me on the other side of the world was presumably just around the corner……well a reasonable flight away. When you have recently spent 36 hours continuously in the air or in an airport building even America could be classed as my neighbourhood!
Unfortunately my trip to Sydney had to be a “flying” visit……arrive Thursday evening, recover on Friday, workshop Saturday, demo Sunday, leave Monday morning and fly to Perth.
Rick had everything extremely well organised and we packed so much into my brief visit.
He collected me early on Saturday morning to drive to the workshop venue on a campus the other side of Sydney. When you are used to the company of Yorkshire Sparrows seeing Cockatoos flying freely in passing gardens is a truly amazing sight. The large bats that had greeted me two nights earlier at the harbour bridge had commanded my undivided attention for totally different reasons!
I was given such a warm welcome by a truly great bunch of people. The pictures will give you a small insight into how varied the bonsai material was. Some species I was familiar with whilst some of the tropicals were new to me but similar to other varieties I have worked with. I was kept very busy for most of the day and had to grab the photo opportunities as time allowed…. usually when people were having a break….hence the scenario appearing to be totally laid back and chilled out. I can assure you some serious work was carried out during that day……and I wouldn’t want it any other way.
I was also educated on safe pot lifting! I was more than happy to tuck my fingers under the plant-pot lip and lift trees into position for further scrutiny…..this happiness evaporated quite rapidly once I learned that under the lip was a favourite haunt of spiders…… you know the ones…..one bite and you’re incapacitated/unwell for several hours…..and of course the other ones with a bite that has you rushed to hospital and hooked up to machines/drips….never touched another pot for the rest of the day! Never realised bonsai could be such a dangerous hobby!
I hope the pictures give you an insight into a bonsai workshop in warmer climates on the other side of the world. For me it brings back fond memories of a really special occasion.
Strange though how bonsai workshops are always the same….New Zealand, Sydney, Accrington, Barnsley…..a generous mix of bonsai and raw material, education, laughter, magical transformations, new friendships, and a bunch of people the same the world over………simply the nicest people you could ever wish to meet……”bonsai people”….
……….thank you for giving me more than 25 years of pure joy.
Sat WS Aus 006 Sat WS Aus 005 Noel Summerell and  John Hanby at Ryde Tech. College
Sat WS Aus 013 Sat WS Aus 001 Sat WS Aus 003
Sat WS Aus 008 Sat WS Aus 009 Sat WS Aus 007
Sat WS Aus 002 Sat WS Aus 010 Sat WS Aus 012
Sat WS Aus 018 Sat WS Aus 015 Sat WS Aus 011