Pistachio from the hot South in a pot from the cold North

Thor Holvila Bonsai Pot 1500

This yamadori pistachio was collected in Croatia 5 years ago and has still some way to go with the foliage mass. It has wonderful craggy bark and graceful twists and turns to the trunk line. Last week the tree flowered profusely however here in the cold damp North of England I do not expect to be blessed with Pistachio nuts as this species does not produce them (shame because they are my favourite)

I asked Thor Holvila to make a pot for the tree, I was looking for a different approach … This from Thor “I call this design Nidhögg since its depicting the dragon snake in Norse mythology that guards the world tree Yggdrasil. It’s carved by hand from one piece of granite grey Danish clay. Thor Holvila‘s attention to detail is wonderful, unseen are the faces of of Nordic characters with the eyes being the wire holes, each face different, and the feet are characteristic of of the carvings on Viking longboats.

The tree pot combination is great and the colour matches well with the rugged silvery bark, and when the foliage fills out it can only improve.

Take a look at more of Thor’s amazing pots HERE

The Raft Hawthorn with new photos set up today

I am still making various quality tests with my new studio set up, here is my Hawthorn Raft today just coming into leaf, I am really excited too because for the first time in 26 years there are flower buds on the tree. So expect a flowering raft in the next few weeks! Select the photo to see full size!Raft 2000 April 2015

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Luis Vallejo Estudio de Bonsai ( LVEB )

Tony Tickle:

My dear friend Mario is setting off on a ride half way around the world… we wish him a safe adventure.

Originally posted on BonsaiMotorWorld:

LVEB ( Luis Vallejo Estudio de Bonsai ) and the MBA ( Museo del Bonsai Alcobendas )

When I finished studying bonsai in Japan, I had to find a place and job to continue my passion and profession. I never wanted to do bonsai business and live from selling bonsai, pots, tools and etc. My dream was to work on bonsai, maintain trees and teach bonsai abroad. Not easy indeed.

In 2008 I contacted many bonsai museums around the world, US, Australia, Germany … and tried to apply for a job. Many of them replied that the position was not available or that my skills were too high to keep me busy … really ? I could not believe it!

The only one which said yes and gave me a chance to do a one month trial was Luis Vallejo, Curator of Museo del Bonsai in Alcobendas, Madrid.

Marissa and I moved to Spain…

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Radical bending on a Kifu Yew to place the character branch.

This lovely little Yew has been collected for 4 seasons and is ready to have some serious bending. I have waited until this seasons new growth has begun before I started the work. I wanted to use the thick branch with the extensive deadwood as a low character branch. The live vein ran up the back of the branch, 75% is deadwood. I started with a fine saw cut all the way through to the live so that when I split the branch it did not go too far down.

Using branch splitters and concave cutters I removed the deadwood as close to the live without compromising the health of the tree. I then drilled two holes into the sawn section, these would secure the thick copper wire that will support the branch and assist in the bend. The whole was then wrapped with wet raffia and secured with cable ties. The bend was done slowly with two hands ensuring a smooth curve with no ‘kinks’ in the live vein. The branch will now be left till the end of the season to recover and continue to grow.

Llangernyw Ancient Yew Tree one of the oldest trees in the world

This Yew tree lives in the churchyard of St. Dygain’s Church in Llangernyw village. We all know that is very hard to determine the age of yew trees, the churchyard gate holds a certificate from the Yew Tree Campaign in 2002, which states that “according to all the data we have to hand” the tree is dated to between 4,000 and 5,000 years old. There is an alternative theory that presumes the tree is only as old as the adjacent saint site which would make it around 1,500 years old.

I visited the tree earlier this year with Mikey and my dear old friend Martin, and believe it’s important that we recognize the importance of these ancients… both for generations to come and for inspiration. We finished the visit to the excellent ‘The Old Stag’ for beers and a spot of Lunch…excellent


Camellias, Magnolias and Azaleas, in Cornwall

DSC_0261Carolyn and I visited Trengwainton’s 25 acres last week and discover special plants nurtured for generations by those with a passion for their beauty and extraordinary story.

Here spring comes early here with champion magnolias flowering from February onwards.  They were amazing if you peered skywards to see their huge waxy blooms outlined against the sky, they had walled gardens that are crammed with tender exotic plants from around the world while other areas feature towering rhododendrons and giant tree ferns.

Camellias are quite simply spectacular when in bloom. They are closely related to the tea plants that gives its family the name, Theaceae. The genius was named for a Jesuit ministry, Georg Kamel, who first cultivated these plants in the Philippine Islands in the 17th century. However Camellia Japonica is native to Japan, Korea and Taiwan. They have been prized in Japanese gardens from the 14th century, and in the gardens of Kyoto temples there are many ancient trees estimated to be about 400 years old. Although Camellias are mentioned in 17th century books, the first living Camellia Japonica plant did not arrive in London aboard ship until the very earliest years of the 18th century, and by the early 19 century Camellia lore and become well-established. The trees in this garden are some of the oldest in Great Britain.

Clothéd all in green …

Tony Tickle:

Deciduous all the way for me

Originally posted on British Shohin Bonsai:

There was a post on Swindon and District Bonsai’s site this morning showcasing the evergreen trees on display at Shohin UK yesterday and, while these were undoubtedly superb  (the word “sublime” was used in relation to at least one of them in my hearing yesterday), I have to admit it has got me thinking. Yes, I know – that’s a rare and unusual phenomenon and may have something to do with this week’s eclipse. But rattling around inside my generally empty cranium is the question of what will it take for a deciduous tree to win a major award at a show?  I am of course excluding those shows such as Swindon Winter Image that have separate categories for Best Coniferous and Best Deciduous.

Now can I say straight out that this is not a criticism – bonsai exhibitions are meritocracies (or at least they should be) so it should always

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Spectacular Sierra junipers

Tony Tickle:

Ain’t nothing like the real thing baby

Originally posted on Bonsai Tonight:

Among my favorite trees in nature is this Sierra juniper.


 Spectacular Sierra juniper

The tree sits on a throne facing East where it enjoys limited protection from the wind. It gives evidence to a protracted and tortuous existence. How big is it?


Standing on the rock behind the tree for perspective

Pretty big. The deadwood is terrifying.


Deadwood detail

Possibly because I take so much enjoyment from being in the mountains, let alone being near such trees, this was the first visit on which I was able to step back a bit and appreciate how these junipers survive in such an environment. Some of what I noticed surprised me. Although the most sinuous specimens occasionally cascaded down the granite, they more frequently grew upwards, supported by the boulders from which their roots sprang.


Juniper creeping up the rock

In addition to providing a solid anchor for the roots, the boulders provide support…

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2015 89th Kokufu Bonsai Exhibition– Part 1

Tony Tickle:

Thanks Bill

Originally posted on Valavanis Bonsai Blog:


The 89th Kokufu Bonsai Exhibition is being held in two parts this year in order to display more bonsai in an area which is slightly smaller than in previous years. Part 1, February 5-8, 2015 and Part 2, February 10-13 2015.
On February 9th all 181 bonsai displays will be switched in Part 1. Although there are 181 displays, there are perhaps 250 individual bonsai displayed as there are generally six trees in each shohin bonsai display and two or three trees in the medium exhibits. There are only five shohin bonsai exhibits in Part 1. There are six bonsai displayed by foreigners including three Americans. More on those and the shohin bonsai displays later.
Needle juniper, Juniperus rigida
Japanese flowering quince, Chaenomeles speciosa
Japanese five-needle pine, Pinus parviflora
Sinuous style, all root connected
Part 1 of the exhibition is excellent, lots of good trees. Even for me, a bit of…

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