Topical Times – Matthews Juniper Ittogawa

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

Topical Times – Matthews Juniper Ittogawa

Matthew brought this Juniper to a recent open workshop. It was the first time I had seen this tree.

The tree had some good foliage clouds and a very interesting trunk with excellent movement, good taper and an established shari. The problem was with the branches!

The existing foliage canopy was too big and too wide for the trunk. The best feature of the tree was it’s trunk and this was hidden. Some of the branches were simply too heavy and so set/straight that they could not be realistically moved.

I explained to Matthew why drastic action was required in the removal of many branches to expose the trunk line and create an impressive literati style bonsai. He asked me if I could draw something on the whiteboard to give him some idea of how the tree would look.

He decided to go for it! The main feature of the tree…’s meandering trunk is now clear for all to see. The foliage clouds will be made more compact and it is likely that some further branches will be removed in due course.

Studio Stories – Some recent restyling!

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 – Some recent restyling!

It’s a time of year when we can catch up on some wiring and styling work on some of the trees on the sales benches.

Some of this work was carried out with the aid of my helpers and Some was carried out during an academy session.

It’s a chance to take some trees to another level but this work only provides a base from which we can build during the coming growing season.

The cascading branch on the root over rock white pine was too straight and was also weak. The stump will be made into a Jin and eventually will run into a shari.

The Black Pine has a new angle and front. The Yamadorii Spruce also has a new front.

Latest News – Class availability February/March(updated)


Sat 3rd.   Open workshop.      Sold out

Sun 4th.   Maples one.            Sold out

Wed 7th.  Midweek workshop. Sold out

Sat 10th   Maples one              2 places

Sun 18th  Open Workshop       Sold out

Wed 21st  Midweek workshop  1 place

Sat 24th    Open workshop       3 places


March is currently Sold Out!

You can always leave your name for a specific class as a reserve in case we get a cancellation.

April is also filling up fast so if you want to do Bonsai at the school you need to enrol quickly.


Memory Lane – Juniper Ittogawa January 2013

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 – Juniper Ittogawa January 2013

Chris’s Juniper Ittogawa had been exhibited at our last Newstead Exhibition and had been extremely well received by visitors. It just looked so natural in this landscape setting surrounded by rocks and moss.

The tree had been brought along to a workshop for wiring and placement of the branches. A heavy branch near the crown was removed. Notice how precise and detailed the wiring is even on a small tree like this one.

Once the branches are positioned the tree looks much more compact and refined.

Classroom Corner – Thinning out….Spruce and Juniper

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 – Thinning out …..Spruce and Juniper

These two trees were recently brought along to an open workshop for advice on the dense foliage canopies after a season of good growth. Kevin’s Spruce and Alan’s Juniper are two very good trees.

The Ezo Spruce originated in Japan and is very much in the old natural style of Bonsai. To try and restyle this tree with a more modern strict tree-like approach would destroy it’s character and diminish it’s quality.

It was a matter of selecting branches and twigs for removal to let more light/air into the canopy whilst at the same time refining the contours of the foliage clouds.

The Juniper Squamata Meyerii had been created from field grown stock and since it’s original styling the progress is simply remarkable. Alan had followed my instructions over the past few years really well which has resulted in a dense foliage canopy.

Once again extensive thinning out of branches,twigs and shoots was required to let more light and air into the tree. The branches can now be more clearly defined by another wiring which will then provide a more accurate guide for pinching during the next growing season.

The target now is for tighter more compact foliage clouds.

Two great trees to have in a workshop to discuss their progress, watch what happens and then see the plan for the next stage of development. But then this is what the classroom is all about…….together we learn!!

Topical Times – Andrews Juniper one to one…

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

Topical Times – Andrew’s Juniper one to one…

Just before Christmas Andrew visited the nursery for a one to one. Most of the day was to be spent on a substantial Juniper Parsonii.

The tree had been wired and styled before but the original work had now been out grown. Initial discussions again centred around the second smaller trunk…..should it stay or be removed?

When these discussions arise always remember it takes seconds to cut off that second trunk……but if we need to grow it again…….many years!! I also like the fact that this small second trunk gives the tree it’s character….it’s individuality! When this is removed the tree becomes just another informal upright Juniper.

The next thing to be checked was the deadwood. There were several areas where jins and shari could be extended or created. Some of these I marked with chalk.

I then cleaned out the foliage and removed all unwanted branches. The tree was then ready for rewiring. There was a lot of work to do so both of us worked quickly on the tree.

There was also a possible new front to consider…..this would be from the front right corner of the pot…..illustrated in the last two pictures. The view of the base of the tree is improved and the overall balance between the two trunks is better.

There is still some detailed wiring work to do but the basic restyling of the tree is complete. This is becoming a very impressive bonsai with a good canopy of foliage and tremendous character. That second trunk will always be an eye-catcher……now we must find the right pot to complement the design and enhance the image further.