Splitting a Yew root to lower in the pot

The tree todayIn the early years of the wonderful Yew tree, 1999 to be exact! Yamadori rarely comes with a good root base and this tree was no exception. Imagine a catapult upside down; the roots went in two directions with a large gap between, I needed to lower the tree in the pot; this was not possible without radical work.

I was moving the tree to a beautiful Gordon Duffet pot, perfect in every way for this bonsai.

Using a Matika I carved out the bulk of the deadwood at the base of the tree, this enabled me to lower the tree however the live vein still protruded, I needed split the live away from the deadwood. I did this using a large branch splitter and inserting a stone to keep the vein in place. A wire was secured to stop the vein from further splitting and possible folding and snapping off. I remember some of my fellow artists thought I was crazy doing this radical work on such an amazing tree… its common work now… back then in then UK NOT common at all. To get the very best out of your material you must be prepared to do this.

If you look closely at the base of the tree you will see a small stone that I found to mimic a root, the stone has a ‘red’ part that appears to be a root!

The tree stayed with me for a few years and then I passed on the tree to Dan Barton as it was his favourite, using a graphic of the tree as his ‘Logo’. The tree remained mine but was in his custody. This tree is to be auctioned for Cancer Research next year, so now is your chance to own a piece of my and Dan’s bonsai history!

Yew progress -01

Yew Progress -02Yew Progress -03

yew-porgress-04yew progress 05


Hosta la vista Baby

The dwarf Hosta’s are showing well right now in my garden. I have over 25 different varieties all in pots by Dan Barton, Gordon Duffett, Bryan Albright the best Potters in the UK bar none.

The Yew I gave to my Sensei Dan Barton

Way back in 1992 over 20 years ago I bought this yew tree off Gordon Duffet, it cost me the two weeks wages and Kevin Willson said I was a brave guy to take on this tree as it did not look very well at all. The tree was positively sick; the needles were yellowing and much of the deadwood rotten. The box was an old beer bottle crate that was held together with a rotting strap… the whole assembly ready to fall apart at any moment. The tree appeared to be planted in garden soil, BUT I could see potential in the tree.

This is a tree much admired by Dan Barton and… at an Event that I held in 2006… I gave the tree on permanent loan to Dan, to be returned to me at some (indeterminate) point in the future. Good trees take time, great trees take years…Here is how the tree looks today.

Bonsai Potter Showcase #3 Dan Barton Video

I encountered Dan Barton in 1991 at the Bonsai World Convention in Birmingham UK and he was the first ‘true’ bonsai artist I studied with.

Over the years I have helped Dan with his computer skills and in return he has helped me with my bonsai. We are close friends and Dan is someone dear to my heart.

In this interview Dan tells us what excites him and how he relates the character of the pot to the character of the tree.

Take a look at Dans pots on his blog here

Beautiful Kusamono in my garden

Here is a selection of Kusamono from my garden, dwarf hostas, Japanese dwarf bulrush, Sedums and much more! My Friend Dan Barton has created most of these lovely pots