Classroom Corner – Richards 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 – Richards Juniper Parsonii

This was Richard’s first attempt at a Bonsai styling …….in at the deep end springs rapidly to mind. This is a large Juniper!

Some branches were removed but the first workshops concentrated almost entirely on creating deadwood and initiating shari. Live veins were identified and the lines of potential shari were marked out. You can see one of the thin shari in one of the later pictures. These will gradually be widened in forthcoming years.

A more detailed selection of branches was made leaving Richard with the daunting task of practicing and mastering his wiring technique……and what an excellent job he has made of it.

The tree came back last week to complete its first styling…..what a transformation. This tree can really go places and has been an invaluable experience. A Juniper Bonsai of this stature arriving in Europe from Japan today would be seriously expensive.

Richard was able to purchase this tree as a piece of raw material at modest cost but the learning curve that came with it was priceless! It was a real challenge but with a bit of input from me when required he has been able to create a super Bonsai, and gain the necessary confidence to tackle and master so many Bonsai techniques.

What makes it more amazing is that the learning curve and the journey with this tree has only just begun …….more techniques will need to be mastered as we take this tree to his next level……and ultimately to his top level!!

Latest News – May/June Class availability


Sat 26th    Workshop         2 places

Sun 27th    Maples 2          2 places

Wed 30th   Workshop         Sold out


Sat 2nd      Larch 1              4 places        You can now use this as an open                 workshop if you wish and bring along any trees.

Sun 3rd       Beginners 1      Places available

Sun 10th      Beginners 2      Places available

Wed 13th      Workshop        Sold out

Sat 16th        Workshop        Sold out

Sun 17th        Workshop       Sold out

Wed 27th       Workshop       Sold out

Sat 30th          Workshop       3 places


Studio Stories – Demo day Taxus Cuspidata update

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 – Demo day Taxus Cuspidata update

The first pictures were taken in January this year. The tree is now ready for another wiring and styling.

March…..and the next set of pictures show the tree wired and with branches positioned. The crown is wider and much better defined.

April and the tree is just about to be moved outside from his winter quarters. New buds are just starting to emerge.

May…..the tree was budding really well and ready for his first pinching session.

Look back through older blogs to see how this tree started out as raw material on one of our demo days……you will be amazed at the transformation!

Memory Lane – Do not be lazy…cut back on the mesh!

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 – Do not be lazy…..cut back on the mesh!

You may recall this Pine when we first reported it in March 2013….but it’s worth repeating.

This old excellent Scots Pine almost died. Some people when they are repotting their trees can’t be bothered to cut up small pieces of mesh that just cover the draianage holes. They simply stick a full sheet of mesh in the bottom of the pot.

Easier but extravagant…..and potentially life threatening!

It becomes easy for the roots to engage with the mesh and create a solid mass that then blocks the drainage holes and leads to wet soil which then causes root rot. The problem is even worse when mycorrhizae is present.

If the roots and tree manage to survive problems then occur with the next repotting. There is a high risk of serious damage to the trees roots just from trying to separate the mesh from the rootball as the two are often completely entwined by this time.

This tree was lucky….we got to him in time…. your favoured tree might not be so lucky……..just think what you are doing next time you repot!!



Classroom Corner – Academy 9/11 Class May 2018

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 9/11 Class May 2018

Yesterday was one of my Academy sessions. The weather was so good that at one point we took to working outside……having said that it’s not easy to get the huge Juniper forest into the studio anyway.

Yesterday was really about catching up with some ongoing and current projects. Checking progress, making adjustments, discussing options and carrying out any necessary work to take each tree to the next stage of its development.

Two large forest plantings were overhauled. Trident Maples with grafted branches were pruned back. Ties were checked and foliage pruned on tanuki Junipers.

Cryptomeria were pruned. Styling work on individual pines and Junipers continued. I think everyone enjoyed a varied and very productive day.