First Look: Han Kengai Yew Project

Original Han Kengai YewI collected this Yamadori Yew in 2011, the tree was very slow to establish in the first couple of years, this is due to the cambium layer being very thin because the hard growing conditions that the tree suffered. In the third year the tree thrives and this year the growth has been very strong. With very old trees such as this it’s important that you wait for the growth of the foliage to be robust and vigorous for the future development of the tree, start work too early and you could set back development or worse kill the tree!

The work undertaken this week was to remove the thick upright deadwood branches, clear the smaller dead branches near the base of the tree and reposition the whole into the ‘final’ planting position. The tree will be left for a couple of years to extend and fill out the foliage mass. I will then work on the deadwood and finally sand blast to clean and smooth out some of the rough areas. Then the first styling will take place, another year in the box and finally planting into a training pot. The foliage mass will take at least 10 years to achieve the virtual image… but I can wait if the end result will look something like this.Possible 2020

Bonsai Triennale 2014

Germany Efficiency you better believe it!

I was a guest artist at the Bonsai Triennale, 20-22. June 2014, Pillnitz, Dresden, Germany.

Hand drills remove the screwsThe Bonsai Triennale is the joint project of the Central German Bonsai Regional Association and the National Bonsai organisations in Poland and the Czech Republic it’s in the fourth edition and returns after 2011. The event took place in the beautiful ambience of the orangery of the castle and Pillnitz

Almost 2000 visitors enjoyed a high level exhibition and a packed program of demos and lectures. What impressed me the most was the team behind the show.

Having a good team is crucial to the success of a Bonsai show, you have to have people you can rely on, who work hard and are prepared to take on any job to ensure that the event is a great experience for visitors.

I did not see the build up of the show but witnessed the breakdown, the guys and girls worked like a well-oiled machine; everyone knew EXACTLY what to do and where to be to clear the venue as quickly as possible. The whole event was cleared in under 2 hours… AND they were not happy as they had done if faster on previous occasions… Germany Efficiency you better believe it!

The cloths are carefully removed

everything stcked neatly

Everything in one van


creating interesting jin…on a juniper…without powertools…

Tony Tickle:

Thats the way… screw Power Tools when you can do it this well

Originally posted on becoming bonsai:

I have been working on a technique for creating interesting looking jin and shari for junipers especially, but it could probably work on pines and other conifers.

In most of the carving demonstrations I see, the artist utilizes power tools. I think a lot of that kind of carving looks great, and it’s exactly the thing you need when you’re gonna take a considerable amount of material off of a tree. Different people will give you different kind of advice on how to approach power carving, especially detailed work. But when it comes to smaller jin and shari work, most of the advice you hear amounts to: just grab a pair of jin pliers and rip off the bark and some of the wood. When you see trees with created jin and shari, some look a little better, some look a little worse, and by the advice most people offer…

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Itoigawa Workshop: Start to Finish

Tony Tickle:

Great post here from Dylan

Originally posted on Bonsai Prelude:

Itoigawa before photo

Itoigawa before photo

The workshop I chose to participate in this past weekend was the Itoigawa juniper workshop with Ryan Neil. In this post I hope to point out some of the things I learned, guiding us through the process of styling just as we did in the workshop. So get your notebooks out, this is going to be a long one.

The first step of the styling process (assuming you’ve already chosen the tree) is to identify the following, in order of importance:

1. Find the best base for your tree. By this I mean view your tree from every side, the idea is to find stability. Trees that have an unstable appearance (generally caused by a very thin trunk entering the ground) create an unstable feeling in the viewer. In most cases you’ll want to pick the view where your tree looks the widest at the point where…

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Post #500 – Kokufu-ten

Tony Tickle:

Great Blog, you guys should follow

Originally posted on Bonsai Tonight:

A little over five years ago I started this blog – and today marks my 500th post. I’ve come a long way since my first post, and I can’t tell you how much I appreciate you all for joining in the fun along the way. Now over 5,000 photos, 2,000 comments, 3,000 followers and a million post-views later, I’d like to share some photos from the world’s most prestigious bonsai exhibit, the Kokufu-ten.

Those of you who have visited the Kokufu-ten, or National Bonsai Exhibit, will recognize the scene below – lots of people vying for a better view of outstanding bonsai.


View from above – Kokufu-ten #88, February 2014

For those of you who have yet to visit the exhibit, I can say that it’s simply a treat. Hundreds of superb trees are on display in the Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum each February. For details about the event…

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