Memory Lane – Cryptomeria December 2010

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 – Cryptomeria December 2010
In the winter months there is not the same pressure when it comes to watering, repotting, and routine maintenance work on the nursery. This often gives us an excellent opportunity for styling work and creating new trees for sale, especially when the weather is bad!
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Come December 2010 and it was the turn of some leggy but healthy Cryptomeria raw material. To say the trees were cut down to size is an understatement in every sense of the word.
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Some low branches were kept and used to create excellent shohin/chuhin material. What remained of the upper section of the trunk was made into deadwood.
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Cryptomeria is seldom seen as bonsai in this country despite being widely used in Japan. Needless to say we still have pieces of this raw material left on the nursery but it is now larger, bushier, stronger and healthy.

Latest News – Academy Success and June Classes availability…..(Updated)

Academy Level One

A new Academy group was launched on Sunday 24th May with a record 12 students attending. Our maximum for normal workshops is 8 participants but with a bit of reorganising everybody fitted in nicely.

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John lectured for part of the day with the help of two trees from his private collection but there was ample opportunity for the students to get involved with some practical work and discussion…….the students were working on nursery trees and were constantly reminded by a “worried “looking John that it was an “Academy” class and not “payback” day !!!

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The students voted on each others work and our first winner of “Star Student” was Brian Glover with Rob Grant and Michelle Crowther close behind in equal second place. Some of the students were attending a class at our bonsai school for the first time and we are pleased to say that everyone seemed to enjoy this new learning experience.

John is already looking forward to working with this group again later in the year.

June Classes Availability

Wed   3rd    Midweek workshop              Sold out

Sat     6th    Maples Two                          2 places

Sun    7th    Beginners One                      2 places

Sat     13th   Open workshop                   Sold out

Sun    14th   Beginners Two                     1 place

Wed    17th  Midweek workshop             Sold out

Sat      27th  Larch One                            2 places

Sun     28th   Open workshop                   3 places

Studio Stories – The Ilex, the Juniper and the Pseudolarix…..

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 Ilex, the Juniper and the Pseudolarix…..

This year has been one of our busiest in terms of clients leaving their bonsai with us to undertake whatever work was required. Recently one of our clients left with us the three trees mentioned above for repotting and associated pruning.

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The Ilex was relatively straightforward…..the pot had broken so we were to put this into the pot currently occupied by the Juniper and find a new pot for the Juniper. After the repotting the Ilex was pruned and the foliage clouds reshaped.

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After the Juniper had been repotted it required extensive thinning out and some branch pruning.

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The Pseudolarix forest was in it’s original imported pot and was really struggling. Drainage was poor so the compost was too wet and there was insufficient space for the roots to develop. Some of the roots were already affected by rot.

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The original arrangement of the forest was poor and typical of the standard of this type of import. The trees were repotted into a more appropriate pot and compost. The forest was totally rearranged to create depth and movement.

The trees were then extensively pruned in line with their position in the group and also in line with the overall silhouette of the whole forest.

I think our client was pleased with the outcome…….it’s almost like he has three new trees in his collection……..

Topical Times – It’s that Maples time of year…..

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

Topical Times  – It’s that Maples time of year…..

Most Maples are now growing very strongly so it’s not surprising to see them as frequent visitors to the classroom in recent weeks.

Most people can keep their maples under control to some degree just by pruning back growth extensions. Do the same thing for five years and maybe at the end of year five your tree looks pretty much the same as it did at the start of year one.

Students bring their trees to classes because they want something more……their trees deserve better!  Each tree has to be considered individually and treated accordingly.

What stage of development is the tree at?…..Are we developing the structure or refining the branches? Which branches do we prune back and which branches do we let grow?

How far do we prune each shoot back? The tree’s health/strength will have an impact on how we prune. Which leaves do we remove……or do we remove all of them? Will I ever be able to reduce the size of the leaves?

These are just a few of the things that need to be considered the next time you are pruning your Maples. If you are not sure of the answers then maybe you and your maples should be joining the trees below in one of our bonsai classes.

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Classroom Corner – Academy Six 2015 ….Two “Tanuki’s” ……Fixing…..

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 – Academy Six 2015 ….Two “Tanuki’s” ……Fixing…..
The first part of this blog dealing with the preparation work was published on the 29th January under the “Studio Stories” category.
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Having prepared the driftwood now came the task of fixing the young Ittogawa Junipers.
This fixing involved much deliberation for my Academy Six students and eventually adjustments were made using power tools.
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Once a snug fit had been achieved the bark was stripped off the inside of the Junipers and they were secured to the lime sulphured deadwood. Any interfering branches were removed.
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The trees were then potted into training pots using a very free draining mix.
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The finished images already offer much promise for the future and I will keep you posted.
The garden centre cat came around for a nosy…..decided it wasn’t for him…..went outside and basically did what cats do best……..

Memory Lane – A few trees from around 2000…..

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 – A few trees from around 2000…..
I was in my old place at Staincross when these pictures were taken. With trees like this around you times were good…..especially when they were there together. I wonder where they are now……..?
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Sadly I know that three of the trees have since died….my broom Chinese Elm did not make it through the bad winter of 2010.
Only one of the trees is still with me and is in the process of being grafted with small Ittogawa Junipers.
Three of the trees have since changed hands at least twice to my knowledge.
Two of the trees were exhibited at the EBA event at Stratford. One of the trees has been to the Gingko event twice whilst two others have also been to the Belgium show. One tree won best in show at a Don Valley event.
All this information with only nine trees but then it’s another fascinating side to bonsai…..that trees do have history…….every bonsai has a story to tell. Question is which tree is which???

Studio Stories – The story of Yorkshire Privet …..Part Three

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 Three

Part one of this series was published on the 20th March and part two on the 6th of April 2015 under the section Studio Stories.

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February 2011 and the tree is repotted going back into the same pot. The compost used is three parts akadama to one part bims(a river gravel).

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For the next four years the tree was encouraged to grow with selective pruning and occasional wiring helping to shape and refine the tree’s image. Sometimes the pruning could be quite drastic if branches were simply not right.

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February 2015 and it’s time to smarten the tree up ready for spring. All the old leaves are removed. The tree is given a meticulous pruning, refining twigs and removing unwanted branches. Some improvements are made to the deadwood accompanying the hollow trunk.

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Four years since the last repotting so it’s that time again! No wonder water is struggling to get through when you look at the density of the rootball.

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IMG_4398 IMG_4568I’ve been working on this tree a long time……15 years if you read the full story. But when you look at the original picture this tree has come a long, long way. For the first time I now feel that I could exhibit the tree in it’s winter image and he could hold is head high.

I just hope I’m here with him for the next 15 years to see how good he really can become………….this story will continue!!!

 

Topical Times – The Bonsai Garden comes to life….but….

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

Topical Times – The Bonsai Garden comes to life….but….

Colours are beginning to emerge……already flowers come and go…….the bonsai garden is indeed coming to life……but where are the bonsai trees?

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Everything was “hunky-dory”….the trees in the garden and everything celebrating the arrival of spring and warm temperatures with buds, greenery and growth. Then last week the temperatures drop and especially at night the cold returns.

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There was even a frost covering on a couple of mornings. My large Kiyohime Maple was not keen and finished up with a crown of brown leaves but thankfully new shoots and buds appear alright.

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After a great start most trees simply appeared to have stopped growing and didn’t look pleased at all. So they have all been back inside with the deciduous trees emerging during the day. You might just see them in the pictures looking out from the sanctuary of my studio.

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Almost instantly they are better for the move and looking good……I just need to get them “back outside for good” (sounds like Take That!)……when the trees are so big and heavy moving in and out becomes a major operation and is certainly one I don’t want to be repeating on a regular basis!…..come back spring or bring on the summer…..!!!