Studio Stories – Two Junipers on a One to One!

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 – Two Junipers on a One to One!

Andrew arrived for his one to one and on this occasion he had brought with him two sizeable Junipers. There was a lot of work required and it was a case of what  we could realistically get done.

The Juniper Chinensis had suffered after a repotting but was now recovering well. The foliage needed some thinning out and wiring to help with it’s health as well as it’s appearance. It was decided to retain and shape the long low branch as this gave the tree it’s individuality. A new planting angle will be introduced when the tree is next repotted. A shari was started to the front of the trunk in line with the live veins twisting movement.

After shaping the tree it still has a somewhat scraggy appearance but this is because we have not trimmed any shoots…..they have been left together with extensive new budding inside to keep the tree vigorous, aid recovery, and promote good health.

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The Juniper Parsonii was growing very strongly and now resembled a large bush. Some branches were removed completely but the foliage on every single branch and fine shoot needed thinning out……a time consuming task.

The shari to the front of the trunk was widened by removing a short central vein which was now dying back naturally. A large branch at the top of the tree was removed and made into a jin. This greatly improved the overall taper in the trunk.

We wired all the heavy branches but unfortunately time ran out before we could finish wiring the smaller branches and style the tree. However, the difference is already quite remarkable and you can see a powerful Juniper with old large branches beginning to emerge. I will post you an update when we eventually get round to finishing the tree.

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Classroom Corner – Academy Class….Impossible Pines!

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 Class….Impossible Pines!
Recently I held a class for my level six students….it was their last session of the year. I decided we would end with a bit of a bang and a touch of drama…..two impossible yamadorii pines!
These were the last of a batch of Pinus Sylvestris which had been collected on the Alps. When you look at the before pictures it’s plain to see why these trees are still with us and if nothing changes why they will be here for a long time to come.
The class was divided into two groups and each tree was discussed with a view to finding a styling solution to turn the trees round. The solutions called for some drastic work. I generally gave the students some basic instructions and maintained a watchful eye as they set about the preparation work.
There was general tidying up and the removal of dead/weak/unwanted branches. Old needles were removed and deadwood was created. The remaining branches were then wired. The trunk on one of the trees would require some drastic bending so longitudinal wires and raffia had to be applied.
The pictures below will take you through the transformation as the work was carried out. The finished product for half a days work is quite remarkable. The newly formed triangles of foliage are sparse but as these fill out in years to come there is the potential to form two excellent bonsai. Shari’s will be introduced to enhance the movement in the trunk, create interest and link the newly formed deadwood……potentially very dramatic final images.
The finished trees are much more compact, in scale with the trunk, and will be stronger/healthier. It is surprising when you do bonsai just how many times with a bit of imagination, technique, determination, and knowledge…..the impossible becomes the possible!
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Latest News – October/November Classes…96 places….only 4 left! ( Second Update)

October Classes

Sat 24th            Open workshop                Sold out

Sun 25th            Pines three                       Sold out

Sat 31st             Maples three                    2 places

November Classes

Sun 1st               Academy Eight                 Sold out

Wed 4th             Midweek workshop           1 place

Sun 8th               Open workshop               Sold out

Sat 14th               Open workshop              Sold out

Sun 15th              Beginners one                 Sold out

Wed 18th             Midweek workshop         Sold out

Sun 22nd             Open workshop                2 places

Sat 28th                Larch two                        1 place

Sun 29th               Beginners two                 Sold out

Topical Times – Changing seasons in the bonsai garden

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

Topical Times – Changing seasons in the bonsai garden

It really is that time of year…….for some this is the best time with the leaves showing that magnificent spectrum of colour before they eventually fall…….and then unfortunately it’s that long period of having to sweep and clear daily to keep the place tidy.

I suppose we should enjoy it while it lasts because soon the branches will be bare, days will be shorter, and winter will be upon us. But don’t despair because it won’t be long before we start looking forward to the joys of spring, repotting and emerging shoots.

That’s one of the problems of doing bonsai, always looking forward……it’s like you’re wishing your life away as if it wasn’t going fast enough anyway!

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Memory Lane – Elements of a Japanese Garden (Part Two)

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 – Elements of a Japanese Garden (Part Two)
As we told you before……..
In the past we have organised outings which have taken in gardens with a Japanese influence. These can be an excellent source of inspiration. It’s not that you have to go to the extreme and turn your whole patch into an authentic Japanese garden. You can introduce elements into your existing garden which can really be complimentary to both your bonsai and your existing layout.
Many people often finish up with a Japanese corner or section which would usually also incorporate the bonsai display. Many bonsai enthusiasts often finish up with a koi pond, whist many koi enthusiasts often finish up with bonsai displayed around the edges of the pond. Japanese garden elements, koi and bonsai will generally always work well together and create an atmospheric garden that will always be admired.
So I hope you enjoy this brief excursion into our connections with the Japanese garden. Some pictures are from organised visits whilst others are closer to home. In part two we will concentrate more on the structural and feature elements. I just hope this inspires you to have a look at your own garden and maybe contemplate some changes.
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Studio Stories – Yamadorii Juniper…..end of summer work.

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 – Yamadorri Juniper…..end of summer work.

This collected Juniper from Japan affectionately catalogued as “Cobra” continues to grow well and has excellent colour/vigour.

The tree is now too bushy….more light and air needs to be introduced into the canopy. The top has become a bit flat partly due to the trees growth and partly due to fat local wood pigeons who insist on perching right in the middle!

The foliage silhouette is also getting too big for a tree of this character and some branches will have to be removed. This will also open up a better view of the live vein/shari.

Weaker shoots were removed from inside and strong shoots on the outside were pruned back. Hopefully the pictures will tell their own story.

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Classroom Corner – Roy’s new Juniper Parsonii

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 – Roy’s new Juniper Parsonii
Roy had decided that he wanted to start a new project and finally decided on this large Juniper Parsonii. It was the last remaining tree of an immensely popular and really good batch of raw material Junipers.
We cleaned out any weak or dead foliage/branches so that with a more open tree we could discuss the styling possibilities. Decisions were made and branches were removed. Some redundant branches were also made into deadwood. This work took up most of the first day.
By the time Roy attended his next class most of the trees remaining branches had been carefully wired. It was now a case of organising these branches and giving the tree it’s first styling.
I must admit the result was more impressive and much more compact than I imagined it would be. Already the deadwood is looking very dramatic and flows with the tree’s design. Foliage clouds and spaces are well defined for a first styling.
The tree will be due for a repot next spring after which we can allow for a season of good unrestrained growth to help the tree recover and set it on it’s way to develop into a really fine bonsai.
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Topical Times – My trees at Bonsai Europa

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

Topical Times – My trees at Bonsai Europa

Just arrived back from Bonsai Europa at Bury. Excellent exhibition with a lot of very good trees and a good mix of traders selling everything you could possibly wish for.

I exhibited my Privet and my big Trident, the latter affectionately known as “Big John”. I started working on these trees 15 years ago…..they were both stumps with no branches whatsoever.

This was the first time both trees had been exhibited outside the nursery in this country and I was happy to say they both did me proud.

The picture of the Trident in the round pot was taken in spring 2000 whilst the other early pictures of both trees were taken in spring 2002.

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Memory Lane – Elements of a Japanese Garden (Part One)

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 – Elements of a Japanese Garden (Part One)
In the past we have organised outings which have taken in gardens with a Japanese influence. These can be an excellent source of inspiration. It’s not that you have to go to the extreme and turn your whole patch into an authentic Japanese garden. You can introduce elements into your existing garden which can really be complimentary to both your bonsai and your existing layout.
Many people often finish up with a Japanese corner or section which would usually also incorporate the bonsai display. Many bonsai enthusiasts often finish up with a koi pond, whist many koi enthusiasts often finish up with bonsai displayed around the edges of the pond. Japanese garden elements, koi and bonsai will generally always work well together and create an atmospheric garden that will always be admired.
So I hope you enjoy this brief excursion into our connections with the Japanese garden. Some pictures are from organised visits whilst others are closer to home. In part one we will concentrate primarily on the planting elements. I just hope this inspires you to have a look at your own garden and maybe contemplate some changes.
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