Message to visitors

Welcome to my blog. My diary of my life in the Bonsai world.

Please click on photos for full size view.

Feel free to leave a comment, good or bad.!

Monday, 27 February 2012

More natter night

Sue S brought more of her Shohin to be tweaked and repotted.
This one a nice Hinoki needs to be trimmed and fine wired to make it into a beautiful tree.

This one a Chinese Elm had to be repotted as the pot it was in was slightly cracked,a nice tree just starting to bud up.

This one Sue thought the pot was too tall and the planting angle needed to be moved slightly to the left,as you can see it looks a bit more balanced in the new pot.

Monday natter 27th feb

I was looking for something to do tonight and saw this Maple which needed to be repotted,so I started before anyone arrived just in case there was a lot of things to do for my visitors.
First photo shows tree last Autumn in it's Autumn colours,the second how it looked before I started tonight.
First thing to do is get the new pot ready with mesh and tying in wire.

Add compost and put to one side, next remove tree from old pot and sort out roots.

I was pleased to see so much root as the tree did not grow to well last year,maybe this is why.After trimming back I then secured it in the new pot and filled up with new compost.
The new pot is wider but not as deep and I think the tree looks more balanced in this. 


Which end is which?

Two footed no headed cat

This is what he looks like in a normal position, quite cute really. We think he is part Maine Coon, a breed of cat from the States.We weighed him the other day he is just about 7 kilos so guess who is the boss of the estate where we live. 


Smiling again

Why am I smiling?  My trees are out of winter hibernation .
At last I can get my trees back on the benches, now it has warmed up but keep an eye on the weather just in case.
Hope it lasts! 

Sunday, 26 February 2012

Novice workshop, Willowbog.

Nice to see so many old and new faces at the workshop eight in total,I am not going to say to much just show you some pictures of the day.

 Getting to be a habit this working Peter.

As you can see it was mainly re-potting today and was very busy.
Nice soup Jean, see you next Saturday for bonsai chat.

Thursday, 23 February 2012

Novice workshop at willowbog 25Th Feb

Looking forward to Saturdays novice workshop at Willowbog as normal as you never know what trees are going to turn up,its always good because as well as teaching I am also learning. I enjoy meeting old and new students and to pass on the little knowledge I have to them.
Since starting this blog and also using computers I think I am learning a lot more about Bonsai and increasing my perspective on this fascinating subject.
Not a hobby ! but a passion.

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Monday natter Feb 20th

Last night only four visitors but it was a bleak old night,rain and windy.Ken M brought two pines and a maple to work on,mainly de-wire as it had been on for a long time.
A nice tree  in really good condition and growing well,another couple of years work on the ramification and it will look even better.

 Front or back which is which? Picture above was Kens choice because it looked good that way on his display bench, but there is a Shari on the other side that is hidden from view and could make a nice feature with a bit of carving and refinement
After wiring just one lower branch and moving it down a little I think he should use the back as the front to incorporate the Shari! what do you think?

Ken M deep in thought, [ what can I cut off now? ] just the wire Ken!

Mike R deep in thought making the tea!

This is a small Lonicera Mike was working on last week,this is before he started.

This is after, looks better as you can see more trunk. Needs more foliage and a better pot but that will come later when the tree has matured.

Kens Shohin Maple, needs a better pot and a little work on the nebari.

Paul M has been on holiday snow boarding in the Alps and brought his laptop to show us his photos,just fantastic Paul thanks.

All in all we had a busy and enjoyable night!.

Sunday, 19 February 2012

Spring just around the corner

I knew it was not far away and now nature is showing me this just to prove it.I have just taken these photos this morning and look at them buds go. Two of my maples the top one a Kashima  the other a Kiyohime,its nice to see the first signs of spring.

Thursday, 16 February 2012

Pisifera Boulevard

 I have been using Boulevard or False cypress for a long time now and think it is one of the most underused Conifers there is and can be shaped into most styles and also produce roots very quickly,they are also quite prolific foliage producers so you can get good results quickly.
The picture above shows a Literati style which I bought from Willowbog Bonsai about eight years ago,it had branches well down the trunk but the growth was to far away so I started to remove them until they were close enough to use.Last year in spring I Jinned the top and left a single branch which was brought down and spread out to form the canopy ,I think it looks good and can only get better.

This one is one of the first trees I owned,I used to drive past it every day to and from work until one day I knocked on the door and asked if I could have it, to my surprise the guy said yes.Not bad for nothing if I do say so myself.

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Trees winter homes

 This is a general view of my winter storage for my trees, on the right is the area I keep for collected trees plus overflow from the bottom greenhouse.

 This is the main greenhouse for trees, not very big but I get quite a lot in, as you can see below.

This is the area for collected material and any trees I cannot get in the main greenhouse.

The big Hawthorn on the left has just been collected this winter,it was about six metres high but is now only about point seven five of a metre.
I wish spring would hurry up and get here so the trees would really start to come back to life,though they are showing some signs.

Monday natter

Last night there was six visitors to natter night in my studio [ its my garage really ],bit of a squash sometimes but we manage.

Sue S brought this beautiful Chinese juniper, I think you may see this tree at the BSA show in March at Willowbog.
Ken M  brought this forest of  juniper for a bit of a clip out still needs a bit more and some fine wiring.
Mike R in deep concentration.

Sunday, 12 February 2012

Hawthorn forest project

This group was collected and put together in 2008,there are seven trunks showing but only five trees as one of them is a triple trunk.This picture was taken in spring 2009 and shows very little in the way of branches but in a couple of years it has put on quite a lot of growth.
As I have wired it over winter I am looking forward to seeing it with foliage on and growing well.Not a very good picture this one but I will update it when in full leaf.
Latest picture ! Note removal of some branches and a bit of carving.

A message from Ray C

I only started this blog  nine days ago because my son persuaded me to give it a go, I thought go on what can I lose apart from my pride, but judging from the response I have had so far I must be doing something right.
I must say thanks for all the encouragement and comments I have had I really must keep going.
Thanks again.   
Ray C 

Saturday, 11 February 2012

Funny year 2011

This is one of my Hawthorns which I collected about twenty years ago, it had a very funny year in 2011, the buds started to swell as normal in spring then we had a really cold spell and everything stopped completely. When spring finally came still nothing moved and I was getting very worried so I made a temporary humidity tent and put the tree inside, the buds started to swell again at the beginning of  July [relief] .The picture shows the tree on the second of August in flower [ not bad for the Mayflower].
I hope this year it gets back into its normal routine and back into health.  


Winter is a great time of year for looking out of the window at my display benches of trees [I do not think ]
Needless to say all my trees are in the greenhouse until the spring arrives just around the corner I hope.My little friend on the bench wonders where his forest has gone, don't worry it will be back soon.

Visit from little John

Yesterday I had a visit from John R one of my Monday night regulars,he brought some Hornbeam's for some advice. Good looking fellow [ don't you think ] then again the tree is quite nice,the apex had a problem of a heavy branch which made it out of balance so we removed it and created more  taper.John will have to work on a new crown which should not take to long hopefully.[ A note for John! I wrote this as loud as I could]

Friday, 10 February 2012

Literati Juniper

I found this picture which was taken just before the tree went to the Nolanders Trophy in 2009.
Not such a good photo but it shows how much the foliage has grown in the last three years.

I collected this juniper six years ago from a neighbours garden in which it had been growing for about thirty years.I potted it in a big tub to let it recover and get back to full health which it did very quickly to my surprise.
The following spring it was doing so well I gave it an initial styling just a skeleton image really, over the next few month's it continued to flourish and grow very well.One night Mike R came round to see me and we were discussing how to clean up the bark on a Juniper so I said I will show you,I brought the tree into the workshop and proceeded with a tooth brush to clean away flaky bark and realised a lot of it was dead.So I started with a scalpel to try to find a live vein which I did,then I went round the other way to find the other side. I was getting very worried because there was only about one inch of live vein left.
Over the next three or four days I continued to follow the edge up and around until I had removed all the dead bark,I was amazed at the way the live vein twisted its way up the trunk [Thank you nature].The next few months I saw the tree getting better and better so I did some refining work on the Jins and Shari.
In October Mark Nolanders was doing a workshop at willowbog bonsai and also a pre-selection for the trophy in January I took two Hawthorns and this Juniper to see if they were good enough to be entered to the show.To my surprise and delight he chose the Juniper,to say I was pleased is an understatement .
The tree has improved much over the last three years and continues to give me a lot of satisfaction.