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

yew Banner

Amazing Yamadori Yew that will NEVER be collected Video

deadwood Yew Over the last 25 years I have collected many amazing Yamadori, in all that time I have NEVER discovered a tree quite like this Taxus Bacatta that was growing half way down a limestone cliff. The amazing deadwood and twisting live vein gave the tree an incredible ancient presence.

I believe that very few people… maybe none has ever seen this tree as it’s in a VERY inhospitable, almost inaccessible location, it has survived many hundreds of years… I wanted this tree, but I also felt a deep sense of respect for this ancient survivor… so that’s where its staying.

Five amazing Bonsai from Omiya in HD video

My great friend Michael Mehrmann has let me share this wonderful video of six amazing trees from Omiya, the video is in High Definition so watch it in full screen to enjoy all the detail of these fabulous Bonsai.

The five featured trees are

  • Uzushio
  • Keyaki
  • Meikou
  • Shimpaku
  • Shishigashira

To watch in full screen HD click the small arrows in the bottom right of the video

shohin pine

Noelanders Trophy XIV report and comments

It’s exactly one week since the Noelanders Trophy XIV took place at the Centrum voor Duurzaam Bouwen, in Heusden-Zolder, Belgium. It’s a superb venue large and full of light offering a wonderful space to exhibit trees of all size.


Winning Tree a Picea

I arrived in Belgium ahead of the foul weather on Thursday evening, this afforded me a leisurely start on Friday setting up my trade stand an securing an early slot to have my Exhibition trees photographed by Willy Evenepoel for the Exhibition book. Such is the popularity of the event Willy finished photographing the trees at 2.30am the following morning! As the participants in the exhibition and traders started to arrive and set up it became clear that the weather was going to cause everyone a heap of trouble. It was thick with snow and a VERY cold -8c.

With Jeremy and Youri

With Jeremy and Youri

Friday at Noelanders is a mixture of frantic unpacking, setting up and catching up… Nothing can beat meeting up with friends from across Europe and my good friend Sebastijan Sandev has made a wonderful video that captures the mood perfectly. Dinner on Friday evening was at the event as it has a rather good restaurant! Then it was an early night ready for the weekend.

Saturday is ALWAYS a busy time because bonsai folk want to get to the traders early so as to select the best material and any ‘bargains’ to be had.

On Saturday and Sunday afternoon there were simultaneous demonstrations by these guys:

  • Enrico Savini from Italy
  • Carlos Van der Vaart from the Netherlands
  • Robert Steven from Indonesia
  • Suthin Sukosolvisit from the United States of America
  • Werner Busch from Germany
  • Luis Vallejo from Spain

Saturday evening was the gala dinner, and it’s always quite an event, the second year running Ryan Neil and a couple of his state side buddies along with Peter Warren and Peter Snart made up the table with Mikey and me. Walter Pall chose to miss this year therefore the proceeding was somewhat quieter on our table.

Ilex Serrata by John Brocklehurst

Ilex Serrata by John Brocklehurst

Early Sunday morning enabled me to video the whole exhibition, every tree, accent planting and details. The videos are split across eight movies exactly as the show was set up, so the Shohin is on one movie, large trees another etc. The weather had taken a severe turn for the worse and the number of visitors reflected that…
Same time next year and same place, I will be there and hopefully have trees selected. I take my hat off to the organisers of this wonderful event as it is run with precision and friendliness, lets make sure that the bonsai community continue to support the event and continue to make it THE premier event in Europe.

All 8 Videos from the Noelanders Trophy watch here

Slovakia trip guys

Did I really climb so far for Yamadori?

I went collecting in the mountains of Slovakia with Pavel Slovak and a few guys from Slovakia, these guys are hard core that’s for sure. A total of 4 hours climbing made me realise that I was a lightweight when it came to seeking out Yamadori. The longest time I have taken to get to a site in the UK is less than one hour and requires an elevation of under 300 mtrs. This video shows how unbelievable I found the climb to be, and when Roman filmed this we were ONLY half way there!