Classroom Corner – Pre-wiring Pruning!

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 – Pre-wiring Pruning!
Most people know the basics of styling a tree. You thin out a few branches that are not required, wire everything that’s left…..a bit of repositioning and “Hey Presto”…..you have a new tree!
Sounds simple, appears simple when you watch an experienced artist, but it’s a lot more involved than you think. The crucial part is often right at the start…..making a good branch selection and having the courage to remove everything that is not required.
This often results in an immediate dramatic change to the appearance of the tree which usually becomes much lighter and frighteningly sparse! This allows you to see more clearly where the tree is going, it is easier to determine and create deadwood, easier to wire and ultimately easier to reposition the branches into the desired form.
The three trees below were recently brought to workshops for assessment and that very important initial pruning. They are all now ready for wiring. Some of the pruning was drastic, some was more subtle. It is important to try and master this initial pruning technique in order to achieve good results once the tree has been wired.
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Topical Times – Big John sheds his leaves!

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

Topical Times – Big John sheds his leaves!

We were finally able to clean all the leaves off this amazing Trident Maple and give him his autumn pruning before placing him in his winter quarters. The moss on the soil surface prepared for his recent appearance at Bonsai Europa was also removed….and a big thank you to the local Blackbird community for all their help…..just wish they would tidy up after themselves.

The tree is finally getting a twiggy appearance and I could almost exhibit him now in his winter image. You really appreciate the stark contrast between his earlier photograph from February 2002 and the current images……you appreciate just how far he has come.

The other pictures were taken just over a month ago during his appearance at Bonsai Europa in Bury. Hopefully now it should be onwards and upwards as we concentrate on trying to improve his winter image and take him to his next level.

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Memory Lane – Newstead Three, September 2008….not just trees on display!

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 – Newstead Three, September 2008…..not just trees on display!
Most bonsai exhibitions attract complimentary displays and Newstead was no exception. On this occasion we were lucky to have a really good selection of Suiseki and also some antique bonsai pots.
The pictures below were taken to show the separate display benches adjacent to the main exhibition of trees. The displays certainly generated some interest at the time and I hope these pictures will stimulate some interest with some of you today. For those of you fortunate enough to attend the event I hope a sense of nostalgia prevails!
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Studio Stories – Dave’s Scots Pine….New style,new front……new tree!!

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 – Dave’s Scots Pine….New style, new front……new tree!!

Dave brought this tree to a midweek workshop for an appraisal prior to wiring. The tree was healthy and strong but the foliage mass and shape had outgrown the trunk.

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The long tapering trunk was crying out for a taller landscape image style of design with a much narrower more compact foliage mass.

So…..we removed a few branches…..as you do……thinned out the remaining foliage…. with minimal tears and tantrums, and finally Dave could get stuck in to wiring the whole tree.

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The branches were then positioned with a new chosen front in mind….and what a transformation! This tree does look well with trunk and branches now back in harmony ……as one of my helpers constantly reminds me….It might be worth keeping!!!

 

Classroom Corner – Maples Three Class….October 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 – Maples Three Class…..October 2015
Pictured below are before and after shots of just some of the maples brought along to this class. The maples classes are always popular and as usual this one was well-attended.
There is only a very short window after the tree has lost its leaves when we can safely carry out winter pruning. This enables us to have a very neat looking tree over the winter months and it is then ready to leaf out in spring.
There are many different varieties of maple attending the classes and below you will find Sango-Kaku, Trident, Acer Campestre, Benichidorii, and a single shot of a Chisio Maple (this tree is beginning to look really good).
The dates for our Maples One and Two sessions in 2016 have just been released and can be found under the heading “Courses and Information”. These classes fill up fast so enrol now to avoid disappointment.
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Latest News – “They’re Out!!!”……Class Dates for 2016….ENROL NOW!

The dates for our Spring/Summer schedule for 2016 have just been released and you will find them under “Courses” in a drop down menu under the heading “Bonsai Classes and Information”.

Over 30 places were booked on this very first weekend they were released…..this is a busyIMG_5054 bonsai period so expect whole months to be sold out again.

As usual there are lots of open workshops and a midweek workshop every fortnight. There are academy and project bonsai sessions together with some courses for beginners.

All the species are covered with dedicated classes……Maples one and two, Pines one and two, Junipers, Taxus, Satsuki Azaleas, and larch.

There is also specialist class on Grafting/air layering.

Basically there is something for everyone! ENROL NOW!

Topical Times – Two Junipers starting out….

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

Topical Times – Two Junipers starting out…..

On a recent open workshop I was presented with two Junipers starting out on what hopefully will be a long and blossoming bonsai life.

Two somewhat innocuous simple pieces of raw material ready for that first styling, that initial transformation. Both trees finished up incorporating a cascading element in their design.

The larger Juniper which I believe was San Jose also incorporated some deadwood to disguise the pruning cuts and create taper/interest in the trunk line. The smaller tree, a Juniper Procumbens was only basically wired as this species does not like a detailed wiring.

Two simple but dramatic transformations…..a good start, a valuable learning curve, and eventually, potentially, two very good bonsai!

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Memory Lane – Academy Juniper Styling….January 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 – Academy Juniper Styling….January 2010
This substantial Juniper Chinensis was originally imported from Japan probably around 2000. It was in excellent condition and in January 2010 was brought into an Academy session for it’s first styling.
The first task was to identify a trunk line…..there were several possibilities. Once this was established then we had to make a branch selection. Trunks and branches which had been rejected were made into deadwood. Most of this deadwood could be linked with a shari.
The remaining branches were then wired and positioned. The result was a tall elegant tree. The lower branches were left on to help retain vigour in the tree and to give any subsequent purchaser the chance to decide on the tree’s ultimate final appearance.
The pictures below will take you through the process. The final picture was taken in March 2010.
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