Classroom Corner – Driving a Taxus round the bend…..(Part Two)

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 – Driving a Taxus round the bend….(Part Two)
The first part of this blog was posted in April 2015. This detailed how in an Academy class in November 2014 the Taxus had been severely bent despite the trunk being considerably thick.
This post relates to a subsequent Academy session held at the end of May 2015 where as part of the days work the tree was repotted into a suitable bonsai training pot.
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  Once the tree was removed from it’s large black container it became obvious looking at the soil that the tree would not have survived this growing season without the repotting work.
The tree was placed in a smaller more appropriate container in a mix of 50/50 akadama and pumice. A larger size grade of akadama was used in the lower section of the pot.
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The tree was discussed and a light pruning of superfluous branches was carried out. The tree can now be left to continue it’s recovery in peace. No doubt we will check on it’s condition in future Academy sessions eagerly awaiting the day of it’s first styling……. patience is such a virtue!

Memory Lane – New Academy Level One starting brings back memories!

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 – New Academy Level One starting brings back memories!
A new level one Academy group will start on the 24th May 2015 and you can obtain further information in our latest news blog section.
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The John Hanby Bonsai Academy was first launched in 2008 and one group is now undertaking it’s eighth year of study whilst another group is in the middle of it’s sixth year.
The Academy groups actually meet four times each year..
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Most of the workshops which we run every weekend and on alternate Wednesdays are based on participants working on their own material. Advice given generally covers initial styling, ongoing refinement, branch pruning, routine maintenance, help with repotting, overcoming problems, technique tuition…..in fact almost anything bonsai!
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The Academy and the Beginners courses offer students an alternative source of learning. They are not restricted by the trees in their collection……we supply all material to be worked on. The classes are structured…..specific topics are covered and discussed….. there is practical and theory work.
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The fact that the Academy is still going strong after all this time is really rewarding and I look forward to the challenge of a new group setting out on their own bonsai learning experience.
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Are you interested in joining the Academy?….if so please contact the nursery.

Latest News – New Academy Level One group starting 24th May 2015

Following a surge of interest in joining our Bonsai Academy I am pleased to announce that a new Level One Group will start on Sunday 24th May. The class will run from 9.30 to 3.30pm.

A detailed description of the academy can be found on our website under the headingIMG_2916 “Bonsai Classes and Information”.

The cost is the same as other classes….£22.50 for the day. Tea/coffee is available all day but students will need to bring a packed lunch.
Students do not bring any trees to academy sessions but should bring any tools they may have with them. It would also be worthwhile bringing a notebook/pen and a camera.
At the present time I have one year eight group and one year six group attending academy sessions in 2015.
If you have any queries or are interested in joining this new group please do not hesitate to contact me. Places are limited and it may be a while before we start up another group.

Studio Stories – Repotting inside/out!

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 – Repotting inside/out!

Sometimes you can’t do a normal repot combing out the roots and pruning back. In the centre you might have dead roots, garden soil or original rock hard compost from Japan. Sometimes you simply have to take the middle out and repot inside-out!

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Topical Times – A busy Monday…..

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

Topical Times – A busy Monday…..

Normally Monday is one of my days off but today one of my regular one-to-one clients asked me to help with some repotting at his home.

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We worked together mixing compost, preparing the trees and pots before finally and carefully repotting the selected trees……and there was quite a selection…..

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One Juniper was in need of some attention…..a potential raft project waiting for the right moment…..the right moment had just arrived! I did a quick pruning of branches and trunks then wired the remaining trunks with no wire below the rafted section.

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Slots to encourage roots were made in the bark but there are already roots in the area where we need them.

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The trunks were bent into position but this will be refined as branches develop and a more detailed wiring is carried out.

A busy day but a good day and my client is up to date with his repotting so that he can now concentrate on his maintenance work.

Classroom Corner – Driving a Taxus round the bend!…..(Part One)

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 – Driving a Taxus round the bend!….(Part One)
One of my students kindly donated this Taxus to the nursery. He had no place for the tree in his collection. Towards the end of November 2014 I had an academy class so maybe we could put this tree to good use.
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The tree had an impressive base and some strong upper branches which could be encouraged to bud back. Unfortunately in between the two was a heavy straight trunk with no taper. Basically it spoilt everything.
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We needed to bend this trunk and compress the tree nearer to it’s base. Using power tools we hollowed out the section of trunk to be bent. Longitudinal wires were inserted into the hollowed section and raffia was applied externally.
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The trunk was then wired in the normal way. With some serious effort the trunk was bent in line with a large existing dead stump nearer the tree’s base. There was only a very slight crack to the top of the hollowed/carved section. This would not affect the compressed live vein below.
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The tree now looks totally different and new styling possibilities are immediately obvious. A tree heading for the bonsai scrapheap is suddenly a desirable proposition……to be continued.

Memory Lane – October 2008 Autumn Forests

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 – October 2008 Autumn Forests
Forests going into Autumn can look stunning with the natural blend of seasonal colours. Unfortunately there are times when they drift into disarray as colours fade and leaves die/drop.
Most of the forests in this class were given a helping hand by students to retain their dignity and enjoy one last fling before the onset of winter and the dark dismal days of winter dormancy.
You should be able to spot the Korean Hornbeams, the Japanese Hornbeam and the Japanese White Beech.
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Studio Stories – The story of Yorkshire Privet…..Part Two

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 – The story of Yorkshire Privet…..Part Two

Part one of this series was published on the 20th March 2015 under the section Studio Stories.

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The Privet continues to flourish. The first two pictures were taken in early summer 2006. The tree is now in a new pot of similar size but slightly different design. The third picture above was taken at our Newstead Two Bonsai show held in September of the same year where the tree was selected to be exhibited at the final Ginkgo Award exhibition to be held in September 2007.

April 07 Mar 07 003 Mar 07 004 March 2007 and the tree was transferred to a new pot commissioned especially for the tree and made by John Pitt…..and I must say I feel John did an excellent job with this…..the pot looks older than the tree! The third picture shows the tree recovering and growing well in April after the transfer.

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The first picture above is May 2007 after the tree was pruned back. He held his head high at Ginkgo…so much so that he was selected to appear at an international bonsai show being held in Arco, Italy the following year. Unfortunately I was unable to attend as it clashed with our own Newstead show. There was no way I was sending him on his own ….. Yorkshire Privet in warm sunny Italy…..there was no way he would want to come back!

The middle picture above is May 2008 and he simply loves to grow. At least he got to appear in Newstead Three September 2008 (picture three) as compensation for missing out on the Italian job.

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Above are some before and after pictures taken in April/May 2010.

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The pictures above were all taken in 2010, the last two being at our Newstead Four bonsai event. Another 5 years have passed for this humble but rapidly developing Yorkshire Privet. The tree did good…..8 years from overgrown hedge to one of the finest bonsai shows held outside Japan. I use this tree with my beginners to show them what can be achieved using the right techniques at the right time to the right piece of material….for me this tree is an inspiration to us all……….to be continued……