Thursday, 29 December 2011

Busy, Busy

I have recently been informed that the Garden Centre where I rent some space for my business will not re-open in the New Year (another small, local business falls victim to the recession).
So I spent the last couple of days before Christmas moving my Bonsai, pots and other stock to my house for the interim.  Not an easy task, as I had to dismantle the Greenhouse and move somewhere in the region of 250 Bonsai plus raw material and starter plants, as well as 2 van loads of pots, tools and sundries.
Mail order will run as normal, but anyone wanting to see a tree will have to make an appointment for the time being.
So now I am on the lookout for a new place to work from, and then it all in reverse.
At least I won't be bored in January and February ;)

Saturday, 24 December 2011

Merry Christmas

Have a great Christmas and a happy and prosperous New Year

Stolen Bonsai-Bristol UK

Yesterday this Blackthorn bonsai was stolen from a collection near Bristol, south west.
A full description of the tree can be found at then scroll down to Blackthorn 5.
Please be on the look out for this bonsai.
There is a healthy reward for anyone who can give any information which leads to the return of the tree.
Contact Nathan at SNS Yamadori via their web site or Paul at

Thursday, 17 November 2011

Yamadori Hawthorn

This one ( and two others) were a bit of a lucky find.  Earlier this year I was on my way to work and saw some workmen ripping out part of an old hedge to create a new filed entrance.  They basically drove a bulldozer through the hedge, pushing the spoil ahead of them to fill the ditch.
I screeched to a halt and asked if I could pull out some of the bits of hedge out of the pile.  I am sure they thought I was mad, but had no objections.  So while they had a cup of tea I had a rummage through the devastation and managed to pull out six trunks with reasonable amounts of root.
I potted them up in a very gritty soil mix and gave them some tlc over the summer.  Unfortunately only three of them survived, but those have good potential.  Two are still a bit weak and so will stay in "intensive care for a few more years, but one has made good growth.  This is also the one with the biggest potential.
The trunk is nearly 6 inches wide, with a root flare of just under 8 inches.  This one will stay in the pot for another year to see if the growth continues to improve.  I am hoping that this one will not do the old Hawthorn trick of growing for a couple of years after collection and then just keeling over.

Anyway, here are some pictures.

Future projects

Like most bonsai enthusiast, I accumulate all sorts of raw material.  These trees and shrubs usually get put into any old bucket or bowl for further development some time later.
I had a bit of time this week to sort through my potential stock, and to pick out some that can be worked on in the near future.

First one to come out of the pile was this collected Hawthorn.  It had been sitting around for a few ears now and had an airlayer (applied earlier this year) removed in late July.
This is the trunk left after removal of the air layer. The top branch will be left to grow out and thicken to produce a bit more taper, while the bottom branches will be wired and styles over the next two years.

The layer that was removed is destined to become a shohin size tree.  It will be given space in the frost free greenhouse over the winter and I will start work on this in the spring.

The second tree to be taken out is this stocky European Hornbeam.  This had a bit of a hard time last winter and was slow to leaf out in spring.  It was planted into a pond basket to help with root development, and that seems to have done the trick.  It will stay in the basket for another couple of years, but training on the branches can begin next year,

The third one was this little English Oak.  This was a self set seedling the had grown in the flower border and was potted up a about two years ago.  It had grown quite well and put on a lot of growth.  The roots present nicely and I think that it would make a nice small bonsai.  The top will be layered next year so that I can work on the bottom part.


Monday, 14 November 2011

Winter Silhouettes

Not a lot to do today, so I thought I get the camera out and take some pictures.  Most of the deciduous trees have shed their leaves now, although my large Korean Hornbeam is stubbornly holding on to it's foliage.  My apologies for the quality of the last two pictures, the light had faded and the flash kicked in, producing the ghosting shadows on the backdrop.

Silver Birch- weeping style

European Hornbeam

European Hornbeam - hollow trunk

Japanese Larch - 9 Tree Group Planting

Korean Hornbeam - 5 Tree Group Planting

Korean Hornbeam

Silver Birch

Saturday, 12 November 2011

Akadama 2

As promised, I have taken a few photos and looked a bit closer at the new brand of Akadama that has just become available.
The old " double red line" brand is no longer available for import, but the new Ibaraki brand has been chosen as a replacement by the importer.

On closer inspection, colour, and grain size are identical and when dry, both break up at roughly the same pressure if rubbed between the fingers.

Below is a photo with water added to both samples.  Again, both breaking up roughly at the same pressure when rubbed.

I sifted a bag of each to see the yield of usable particles, using a standard 3 mesh soil sieve and found the distribution of particle sizes more or less equal in both bags, although the new brand seemed to have more of the fine dust.

I have planted up some young hawthorn saplings in both brands and will see how it stands up to our winter weather.


With the demise of  "Double red band" brand, Akadama supplies have been sparse for the last few months, relying on suppliers stored stock.
There is now a new brand available and I have bought a small supply to test over the winter months.  It looks and feels identical to the old double red band akadama, although the individual grains feel slightly softer when pinches between your fingers.  I'll take some pics today and will keep updating over the next few months.

Friday, 11 November 2011

Lest we forget!

This was posted today by Ian Young on his bonsai eejit blog.

I am sure he won't mind me reposting this here. You can see the original post by clicking on the link below the title.

Remember Them….

It’s the 11th Hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of the 11th year.
A special moment in time and history. Lets all remember those on all sides who have lost loved ones in War and conflict.
The following photographs were taken during my Tour of the First World War Battlefields in September 2010. One of the most sobering weeks of my life seeing loss of life on such an incomprehensible scale.
Photographs show memorials to British, Irish, German, Canadian, American, Austrian, French soldiers. And as the headstone says, Sacrificed to the fallacy that War can end War.
Flanders Poppy
True words on a grave of an Irish soldier bearing my family name and he even shared my birthday. He is however no relation. It was a special moment finding and reading this.
The Ulster Tower
German Memorial
Irish Peace Tower
The Somme where the 36th Ulster Division suffered heavy losses Let us remember them.

Sunday, 6 November 2011

Tony Remington Pot

I don't very often bid for stuff on E-bay, but this shohin pot really caught my eye.  I saw a similar one at Tony Remington's stand at the BTA Show in Sheffield, but it had gone by the time I made up my mind to buy it :(
When I saw this one on the auctions, I couldn't let it slip away again and put in a good bid.
Now it's mine ;) and I just need to find the right tree to put into it.

Check out Tony's website, his pots are all unique and really not that expensive or check out his E-bay auctions for some real bargains.

Thursday, 27 October 2011

Final Blaze of Colour

I managed to dodge the showers today and had enough light to get some final pictures of the display benches with the trees in the final stages of autumn colour.  With the rain and wind this week, most of the leaves will be gone in a few days and then comes the long wait for spring. :(

Click on the photos to see the full size picture

Friday, 21 October 2011

You little beauty

Looking through the 1000's of  newly imported trees at the importers, I generally try pick out the nicer ones for re-sale at the nursery and on the website, looking for good trunks, movement and branching..  There were actually a good number of these, but one really caught my eye and will be staying with me for further development.
The picture does not really do it justice (the old problem of displaying a 3 dimensional object in 2 dimensions).
The tree has nice taper, good branch placement (although a few too many at the moment) and a nice gentle movement from the base to the apex.  I will most likely have to grow a new set of roots as the flare on these little trees is generally less than ideal.  This will be a nice shohin in the future.  Cannot wait to start working on it in the spring next year.

Possible front

probably the back

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Greenhouse heater on standby

Well, it looks like it's going to be cold overnight, and with all the cuttings and seedlings now under glass,  I have set up the electric heater in the greenhouse. The thermostat is set to 3C, to make sure the greenhouse stays frost free.  Better safe than sorry.

I will also be moving some of the trees that had a hard time last winter into the unheated greenhouse to give them a bit of protection from the worst of the weather.

Having lost a few nice trees last year, I will not be taking any chances.

Sunday, 16 October 2011

New stock at

Just spent a few days to get the new arrivals ready for sale.  All cleaned up trimmed and top dressed now, they will be posted on the website tomorrow. Just need to write up the descriptions.