Gearing up for Gafu Ten Part 3

Tony Tickle:

When you’re big in Japan, tonight
Big in Japan, be tight
Big in Japan, where the Eastern sea’s so blue
Big in Japan, alright

Originally posted on Stone Monkey Ceramics:

Well my pots went to Japan with Peter Warren in November and were given the once over by some of the adjudicators and organisers of the event to make sure that they were worthy of being accepted, which I am extremely please to say that they were.


I had some very helpful critique and feedback and Peter said that it would be prudent to take on the advice and take the advantage to make some more pots with the thoughts and critique embodied in the new pots. So pleased as punch I set to making some more glazed porcelain pots


After mixing and sieving glaze late into Monday night and then glazing the pots Tuesday night, they finally came out of my small kiln late last night.


All that remains now is for me to photograph them to allow Peter and I to select the best three to be sent…

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Tony Tickle:

another great from Bill

Originally posted on Valavanis Bonsai Blog:


At the Winter Silhouette Bonsai Expo Joseph Noga photographed each tree with his large format digital camera and specialized lighting. He had to rent a trailer to bring all the necessary equipment across the state of North Carolina to capture the beauty of the displayed bonsai. But, that’s just the beginning of producing a perfect photograph. Each photograph must be adjusted for perfection. And, adjusting the photograph depends on the final use, digital or printed. They must have specific profiles which depend on the paper, ink and press where they will be printed. All of this takes time and skill, knowledge and dedication which Joe is well known for.



MERCER25593 1



Throughout the last fifty years I have met many photographers and have probably seen more photographs of bonsai from around the world than any other person, and I have the library to prove it. There are many good photographers who shoot…

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Spanglish Sam’s (not so Shiten) Spanish Sojourn

Tony Tickle:

My good friend Jose centerstage in Madrid!

Originally posted on Maidstone Bonsai Society:

Jose flew out to Spain last Thursday to meet his family and more importantly to see his Mum after an operation that she had, from which she is recovering well.

Lucky for Jose the “Alcobendas” Spanish Bonsai show was on this same weekend. After a lovely Thursday evening with his Mum, Jose woke up early Friday and made his way to the botanical gardens in Madrid. The botanical gardens have a beautiful collection of Bonsai, donated by the PM, maintained by Luis Vallejo and Mario Komsta. Kevin Willson was doing a workshop at the show with whom Jose had worked with a few times in the past.

On Friday, Kevin invited Jose to work with him and translate. Of course Jose accepted Kevin’s invitation to support him on the stage and assist with the styling of his piece of material which happened to be a massive Taxus (4 ft tall…

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Tony Tickle:

singing in the rain

Originally posted on Valavanis Bonsai Blog:


Stuck in Tokyo or a visit to Shunka-en Bonsai Museum In The Rain

Because of a delayed flight I stayed overnight at a hotel near Narita Airport. Got up early, worked on the magazine, wrote a recommendation for a close friend then took off to visit Kunio Kobayashi’s Shunka-en Bonsai Museum. I just got back to the airport and had the pleasure to ride on a bus, four trains, two subways and three taxis in order to visit bonsai in the rain, and well worth the effort.



Bonsai look different in the rain and are difficult to photograph. Yuji Yoshimura taught me that bark texture and color are best when dry to see the details. Well, I did not have a hair dyer to dry off the trees and I have loads of Mr. Kobayashi’s bonsai in the sun, so simply enjoyed the bonsai in the rain and took some…

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Creating a miniature Crevice Garden Part 1

I am in the EAST LANCASHIRE GROUP Of The ALPINE GARDEN SOCIETY (AGS) it’s definitely the best ‘Club’ I have been a member, the group is very active full of enthusiastic participating members and a credit all. I joined the group to best understand plants in miniature for Kusomono. 

One of John Downes amazing miniature gardens

One of John Dower’s amazing miniature gardens

At the last meeting we enjoyed a practical talk with photographs and video by Member John Dower from Frodsham. John has recently been appointed a Trustee of the AGS and is one of the countries leading exponents of the development and showing of miniature gardens.

The gardens have a maximum size of 36 cm for showing, although the principles outlined apply equally to any trough, sink, raised bed or other display of alpines.

John threw down the gauntlet asking members to create their own miniature gardens and present them at the next annual show… this is my effort so far!

I have chosen to make a miniature crevice garden, I have used limestone and a bonsai pot. After a couple of attempts the stones simply were not secure, as I need ‘height’ and gaps between for planting. The only solution was to bind them together with waterproof cement, but still retaining enough room in the pot for compost and drainage. I made an ‘icing bag’ out of plastic shopping bag to help push the cement into the cracks, some gaps in the stone were left for drainage.

  • Place a layer of drainage
  • Line the pot with plastic
  • Place the stone in position
  • Cement together
  • Allow 3 days to dry out
  • Clean cement and trim off excess
  • Fill with soil mixture (John Innes No.2 with crushed Pumice) using a chop stick to force soil into the crevices.
  • Ready for planting up

Next step is the hardest bit choosing plants of the correct scale and colours.


Tony Tickle:

maybe the last from Bill in Japan…maybe not

Originally posted on Valavanis Bonsai Blog:


Today we visited the top bonsai gardens and collections in the Nagoya area on our private bus.

Daiju-en Bonsai Garden

Toro Suzuki is the third generation proprietor of Daiju-en Bonsai Garden in Okazaki, Japan. His grandfather, Saichi Suzuki, was one of the greatest pine bonsai masters of all time and is responsible for the introduction of Zuisho Japanese five-needle pine and the Princess persimmon. His father Toshinori Suzuki continued in his father’s footsteps of training masterpiece bonsai and added Needle junipers to one of his specialties. Many of the now common pine training techniques for shortening needles came from Saichi and Toshinori Suzuki. Toro Suzuki is in charge of the Nippon Taikan Bonsai Exhibition which finishes today.






Toro Suzuki continues to specialize in Japanese black pine bonsai, but also has a great number of Japanese five-needle pine and Chinese quince. Dean Harrell from Virginia is currently studing with him along…

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Originally posted on Valavanis Bonsai Blog:


“Bill Jumps A Broad- Again”

Kora Dalager and I are back in Japan showing ten people the best of the Japanese bonsai world and the Taikan Bonsai Exhibition in Kyoto this coming weekend. We have tour members from California, Texas, Virginia, Pennsylvania New York, and Switzerland.


We had a beautiful, bright sunny day in the Tokyo area. Not a cloud in the sky which made photographing a bit difficult. BUT, it looks like I skipped town at the right time. When I left home, all my nursery stock, pre-bonsai and sales bonsai were put away for winter. Only 98 of my best trees were outside, and still are, even though Diane offered to move them in the garage. Buffalo, New York has received 50 inches of snow and are expecting ANOTHER 2-3 feet of snow now in the second wave of weather. It missed Rochester, this time, who know about…

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