Studio Stories – Academy Nine Project Trees

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 – Academy Nine Project Trees

A recent meeting of this Academy group in November gave us the opportunity to run a check over the ongoing project trees.

There are four tanuki projects. Each dead stump has been fitted with a Juniper Ittogawa young tree. They are progressing well but now we need more vigour to help fix the junipers more naturally to the stumps.

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The severe 90 degree bend in the thick trunked Taxus has not affected the tree whatsoever. It continues to grow strongly and has already been pruned back twice. Some branch selection and wiring work has also been carried out.

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The two Cryptomeria had some light pruning work done and more work on the deadwood/shari.

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The two Trident Maples had been thread grafted and air layers had also been made. The air layers were checked but had not yet made sufficient roots.

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These ongoing projects are both interesting and educational but also promote eager anticipation looking forward to the next stage for each tree.

Classroom Corner – The Juniper and the Buxus

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 – The Juniper and the Buxus
These two trees turned up recently at an open workshop. The Juniper was imported from Japan 2 years ago. You can tell by the new growth extension just how vigorous this tree is and that he is ready for styling.
First of all the dense foliage was thinned out and branches were selected. There was also a lot of work involved in cleaning up and identifying the live vein so that the shari could be more clearly defined. The contrast between the live vein and shari on this tree is very important and is a dramatic feature.
The branches were then wired and positioned. There will be some more thinning out of branches to do as the tree develops further. It will be repotted in spring.
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The Buxus had been allowed to extend and grow strong so that it was very much like a bush again. It’s new shape for the future needed to be defined and set out.
A short stiff branch at the top of the tree was removed but most branches were retained and wired. Once styled the shape of the tree is now much more obvious and this will make it so much easier for the student to continue with it’s future development.
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Topical Times – A new year and some new stock!

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

Topical Times – A new year and some new stock!

With the Christmas break out of the way my team of dedicated helpers arrived back at work and raring to go……well they did arrive back at work!

The first job was to start overhauling a bonsai collection I had purchased in the late Autumn. The owner of these trees had done a great job with them…..most of them are well over 40 years old.

He had started them off from nothing at a time when there was relatively very little information available on how to care for and develop bonsai. When you look at the trees now you appreciate how far he has come.

Now in his eighties I think the trees had just become too much for him. There comes a point when you look out on your trees and instead of enjoying their beauty all you see is work….jobs that need doing. There is nothing worse than seeing your trees deteriorate because you are unable to give them the attention they deserve.

So the trees ended up with me and hopefully we can do their previous owner proud by progressing them further and helping them find new homes. All the trees were repotted, most of them into new pots. Each tree was then extensively and meticulously pruned by myself.

They are now all priced up and for sale on the nursery…..we have already received several enquiries which is really encouraging. We have a few conifers still left to do but the freezing weather has interrupted our progress.

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Memory Lane – Demo Day October 2010 (Part Two)

Looking back….we can tell a tree’s story…..admire an image…..capture a moment…..remember a special event… inspired – to create a memory for tomorrow. 

I hope you enjoy this regular peep into some of John’s bonsai history.

Memory Lane – Demo Day October 2010 (Part Two)
This was the third of our Demo Day lectures and on this occasion it featured three Junipers. This is the story of another one of them.
This tree had arrived in Europe some 3/4 years previously. It was part of a large batch of October 2010 006similar trees. They were all in ridiculously small ceramic pots so they were potted on into the larger black plastic pots to help them survive the quarantine period.
It certainly worked because in the intervening period they had continued to grow well and you can clearly see how strong and bushy this tree is at the start of the demo.
This tree almost didn’t make it into the demo day. Apparently there was a mix up over some labels and mysteriously the tree left the nursery. Fortunately, we were able to investigate the situation and retrieve the tree just in time for it’s appearance on the demo day stage.
With this tree it was a case of assessing the trunk line, it’s movement and the various options for it’s front and planting angle. With these considerations in mind I was then able to remove all the branches deemed surplus to requirements.
The remaining branches were then cleaned out and completely wired by Derek and Len. On completion of this work I was then able to reposition the branches and style the tree. Some bark was removed from a small section near the base of the tree to extend the shari and improve the visual flow of the shari and live vein.
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Recently we cleaned out and rewired this tree again so you can see how it looks today in the last picture below.


Latest News – Classes 2016…weekends first 3 months almost sold out!!! (Updated)

Classes 2016…weekends first 3 months almost sold out!!!

Thank You for your continued support!!…..your immediate response to the new class list has been overwhelming. 179 places sold in less than 2 months!

January to March – 200 workshop places……..179 SOLD only 21 remain!

The class dates were only released about 6 weeks ago. Many classes between April and July are also filling up fast so if you wish to attend any of these book your place NOW.

Check out the list below of available places January to March –


Sat  23rd    Project Bonsai                    3 places


Wed 3rd      Midweek workshop           2 places

Sun 7th       Beginners One                   4 places

Sun 14th      Beginners Two                  7 places


Wed 2nd     Midweek workshop            3 places

Sat 5th        Pines One                           1 place

Wed 30th    Midweek workshop             1 place


Studio Stories – Nursery Stylings…..December 2015

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 Stylings…..December 2015

Usually at this time of year the weather dictates that we work inside and we are normally on top of our routine work. So in between our repotting work we often have the chance to wire and style some of the trees for sale on the nursery.

On this occasion it was two Pinus Sylvestris and a Cedar. The trees had been dewired earlier in the season and were now somewhat unkempt. The rewiring would not only help take them towards their next level but it would make them look so much better and also more saleable.

I must admit I was really pleased with the outcome of the work on these three trees.

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