Studio Stories – Nursery Juniper Ittogawa (2)

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 – Nursery Juniper Ittogawa (2)

This was the second of the two trees left over from a Christmas Special class some 2 years ago. Despite being sad at not being selected by a participating student the trees had put this behind them and continued to grow well.

During the past 2 years some routine maintenance pruning and cleaning out had been undertaken but otherwise the trees had been generally allowed to grow unchecked. Great for health and vigour but shape wise the trees were not selling themselves to passing bonsai customers.

Something had to be done!…..so the trees arrived in my studio. First a thorough cleaning  of the trunk and branches, then the removal of all weak shoots and a branch selection.

Next was the investigation of potential deadwood. Branches now devoid of foliage were made into jins. The line of possible shari’s was marked ensuring that the main veins would not be weakened and aesthetically that the shari lines were both correct and plausible. Some of these lines will be widened and extended in due course when the tree is happy for us to continue safely.

The tree was now ready for wiring and styling. Any unnecessary branches were pruned away. This tree has a very large low branch with plenty of side shoots so rather than cut it off I decided to alter the planting angle and use this branch as a cascading trunk.

The tree also had two potential apexes so we had to make a decision and convert the rejected one into deadwood.

The transformation in this tree from the original raw material is really amazing.

The branches have been left long and a little unkempt for the health of the tree. The foliage mass will be gradually reduced in the next growing seasons. Hopefully now my customers will see the true potential this tree has to offer and just maybe…..just maybe….a few students may realise that 2 years ago perhaps they made the wrong choice……???

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Classroom Corner – Juniper Chinensis Blaauws 7 years on!

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 – Juniper Chinensis Blaauws 7 years on!
Chris has been working really hard wiring his Juniper. Every single small shoot or twig was wired. It was necessary to prepare this tree for his journey to the next level.
The tree has already come a long, long way. Started in 2008 from basic nursery material 2008the first two pictures show the result of the initial styling work. The next three pictures were taken in 2010, 2011, and 2012.
In addition to the routine maintenance work the tree has had periods of encouraged growth followed by branch selections and re-wiring.
The last two pictures were taken yesterday on an open workshop where I was able to finish the latest branch positioning. The tree looks a little scraggy because we wanted to leave adequate foliage at the branch tips to maintain his health and vigour.
The pot is deliberately not square as this angle is a possible new front to be changed at the next repotting. This tree is finally taking on the guise of a mature imported bonsai from Japan….quite a transformation…….the main big difference is obviously the price!…..but more importantly the last 7 years have been an invaluable learning and enjoyable experience, with the ultimate sense of achievement as the tree comes to fruition.
In bonsai they always say it’s not just about reaching the destination but also making sure you enjoy the journey…..I am sure Chris has found this journey truly amazing….and me??… I was just there for the ride!
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Topical Times – Lifting material from the bonsai garden

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

Topical Times – Lifting material from the bonsai garden

It’s that time of year when we look at lifting material from both the bonsai garden and our growing beds. At the moment we are just looking at the conifers.

These trees were really small when they were planted out but after a few years of growth and some regular pruning they have undergone a significant transformation. They now offered some substantial trunks and plenty of branches to choose from.

The rootballs were reduced slightly to fit a suitable container. The tops were reduced more considerably to take pressure off the roots and branches were selected to give the best bonsai options.

There is some excellent workshop material here for the future. You will notice that we did get help from an unexpected quarter although the word “hindrance” might perhaps be more appropriate!

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Latest News – October class availability (Updated)

October Classes

Sun 4th             Academy Six                    Sold out

Wed 7th            Midweek workshop          Sold out

Sat 10th           Open workshop                4 places

Sat 17th            One to one/two                Available

Sun 18th           Open workshop                2 places

Wed 21st          Midweek workshop           1 place

Sat 24th            Open workshop                1 place

Sun 25th            Pines three                       1 place

Sat 31st             Maples three                    2 places

Memory Lane – Field grown material 2002

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 – Field grown material 2002
These pictures were taken at Pear Tree Cottage our original bonsai nursery. This was in our early years of field grown material. A new delivery had just arrived, trees had been sorted, and most had been cleaned out/potted up.
This really was excellent starter material with good trunk movement and plenty of low branches to choose from. We even styled a few just to show people what could be obtained with a very basic first pruning/wiring.
I wonder where all these trees are today and just what do they look like now? We will have a few trees coming out of our own growing beds this autumn so keep an eye out for them next time you visit the nursery.
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Studio Stories – Nursery Juniper Ittogawa (1)

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 – Nursery Juniper Ittogawa (1)

This was one of two tree left over from a Christmas Special class some 2 years ago. Despite being sad at not being selected by a participating student the trees had put this behind them and continued to grow well.

During the past 2 years some routine maintenance pruning and cleaning out had been undertaken but otherwise the trees had been generally allowed to grow unchecked. Great for health and vigour but shape wise the trees were not selling themselves to passing bonsai customers.

Something had to be done!…..so the trees arrived in my studio. First a thorough cleaning  of the trunk and branches, then the removal of all weak shoots and a branch selection.

Next was the investigation of potential deadwood. Branches now devoid of foliage were made into jins. The line of possible shari’s was marked ensuring that the main veins would not be weakened and aesthetically that the shari lines were both correct and plausible. Some of these lines will be widened and extended in due course when the tree is happy for us to continue safely.

The tree was now ready for wiring and styling. Any unnecessary branches were pruned away. We now have the first suggestions of twisting shari’s and live veins which together with the deadwood on top of the live hanging branch help to create a more dramatic tree.

The branches have been left long and a little unkempt for the health of the tree. The foliage mass will be gradually reduced in the next growing seasons. Hopefully now my customers will see the true potential this tree has to offer and just maybe…..just maybe….a few students may realise that 2 years ago perhaps they made the wrong choice……???

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Classroom Corner – Open workshop August 16th 2015

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 – Open workshop August 16th 2015
Here are just a few of the trees attending one of our August workshops. Most of them had grown well this year but now required some branch selection or pruning.
The Taxus is really shaping up well and came from a large garden tree. The 5ft tall section was removed during our first session with the tree and all that remains is the large jin.
The Satsuki Azalea has an impressive base and good canopy. It needed to be pruned to prevent it reverting to a bush and before the flower buds for next year started forming.
The Field Maple was pruned in accordance with the years growing plan designed to specifically fatten certain branches whilst limiting the growth in other areas.
The hollow trunk oak tree has real character and the chance of becoming a very good small size bonsai. One of the two lower branches growing opposite each other was removed. We decided to cut off the top and create a new better apex.
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Topical Times – Juniper…”The Dancer”……Update

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

Topical Times – Juniper… “The Dancer”……Update

Previous posts telling the story of this tree and it’s transformation from “the Stag” to become “The Dancer” were first published on the 13th and 26th October 2013 under “Studio Stories.”

The tree has continued to grow well despite the interest and attendance of a family of pigeons who seem convinced that the deadwood on top of the tree is specifically their perching area. I can’t count the number of times I have re-designed a flattened crown!

The health, colour and general demeanour of the tree is very good. It was now a case of removing all the weak internal shoots to allow more light and air to circulate whilst extended growth tips were also pruned back.

The general shape of the foliage mass was also rearranged as necessary. The tips of the lower branch were left unpruned to allow this area to extend further. I am really pleased with the foliage clouds where shoots continue to reduce in length being now less than half the size they were when the tree was acquired. It is now beginning to look more like  Chinensis foliage as opposed to the long ragged shoots of a wild Juniper.

I continue to look forward to his further development and refinement.

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Memory Lane – Belgium October 2008

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 – Belgium October 2008
On one of my many trips to visit my good friend Danny Use at the Ginkgo Bonsai Centre I was fortunate that it coincided with an exhibition by some of his students.
The theme for the weekend was bonsai display in a tokonome setting. The trees and accompaniments used were very good in their own right so that when items were brought together to complete an individual display the result was really outstanding.
I hope you enjoy this glimpse into a bonsai group in Europe and that it may also provide you with some inspiration for creating bonsai displays with your own trees.
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Studio Stories – Even a good tree sometimes needs a hard pruning.

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 – Even a good tree sometimes needs a hard pruning.

The first two pictures show the tree in the process of being repotted in March 2010. He has come a long way since then with a new larger crown enhancing a more mature appearance.

The tree has grown well this last couple of years and now it is becoming too bushy. Some of the definition in the foliage clouds has been lost. There is some die back inside the tree and some of the inner branches are becoming leggy/weak due to a lack of adequate light.

There was nothing for it but to really get to grips with the tree by giving it a hard pruning back. Heavy outer branches were reduced, weak internal branches were removed and a large percentage of the foliage was also removed to rebalance the tree and allow more light to enter all areas.

The tree’s appearance following this work is now much more precise with a greater degree of uniformity throughout. Foliage clouds and spaces are much more clearly defined and in keeping with the overall image.

Once a tree has arrived and looks the part you can’t just sit back full of admiration…..you have to remain focused….. ready to intervene when required…..to keep the tree moving forwards…….otherwise you might just find he starts to slip backwards!

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