How to re-pot a Raft Hawthorn Bonsai

This Hawthorn raft is probably the tree that most people in the bonsai world know me by, I collected the tree way back in 1991 and after establishing in a box for 4 years the tree has only been re-potted 3 times.

In this repot, the angle of the tree was changed by 5 degrees. Rotating to the right the tree presented itself better to the viewer. The left side being closer… however the right side moved away from the viewer, that had to be corrected (that is explained here) The late great potter Derek Aspinall made the pot, its very narrow and perfectly flat, sitting without rocking when displayed on a table/

This re-pot was done exactly 12 months ago, the tree recovered well and is in preparation for a show in Wales later this year.

A Winters walk in the Bonsai Garden with LOTS of Snow

We have managed to get off lightly with the harsh freeze for now. Here is a video I made this morning of the snow in my garden. I leave the hawthorns out all year, this encourages the aged bark that is so desirable, and they are really tough trees. Yews I always have at least one freeze because Yews are a winter tree, the needles simply glow after a cold snap! I also leave out my Scots pine.

The worst weather we have ever experienced was last year when we had one night at  -17c and 9 days of -10c. for now its 5c… quite warm compared to the rest of Europe… Pavel Slovak tells me it is -26c in Czech!


The Noelanders Trophy 2012 winners report

Having just returned from The Noelanders Trophy, visiting friend’s gardens and sharing some great stories it’s hard to imagine a better weekend for a bonsai artist to experience. Arriving mid day on Friday it soon became clear that this event would indeed be the best ever, in terms of quality of trees, organisation and enthusiasm for the art.

It is strange but the amount of ‘Brits’ at the Trophy appears to be getting larger every year, great to see Kevin Willson, John Armitage, Simon Temblett, Simon Jones all showing trees, and Steve Tolley harping back to “Tony two trees!” does he not know that I now have three!  (You are so 1990’s Mr. Tolley) … And some of the Brits coming away with nominations despite tough competition from the rest of Europe with Simon Temblett winning two awards and the tree that I presented for David Barlow also securing two awards, the “Sonderpreise” awarded by Bonsai-Museum Düsseldorf being dedicated exclusively to European trees, in particular when they are cultivated in a very naturally and typical “European”-way/style… its a nice feeling knowing that I have helped a great guy like David secure YET ANOTHER award for this wonderful bonsai. A full list and photos of the winners and can be seen on Bonsai Eejits blog.

I know that there are HUNDREDS of photos available online, a great selection is available from Nik Rozman and  Jeremy Norbury
I will be posting lots of videos from The Noelanders Trophy throughout this week so keep coming back to see the next instalment.

Ready for Noelanders Trophy XIII

The car is packed and I am ready to leave tomorrow morning. I am picking up Mikey in Leeds and then onwards to Hull and P&O ferry to Rotterdam. We dock about 8.30 and then its about 3 hours to The Noelanders trophy Centrum voor Duurzaam Bouwen, Marktplein 1 in Heusden-Zolder, Belgium. Last year I was the first trader to arrive so it was easy for me to unload, sit back and watch everyone else struggle. Peter Landerloos has been kind enough to accommodate Mikey and Me for the weekend  I am showing the raft beech that won a Ginkgo award in 2007.

The tree is owned by David Barlow, over the last couple of days we have been putting the final touches to the tree. It looks great.

I know that this will be the biggest and best Noelanders ever and it is great to be part of such a high class show.

On the way Home I will be calling in to see Hans van Meer my old friend who will be one of the visiting artists a the Burrs workshop in November Mikey and I are getting the ferry back to the UK on Monday evening.

Gingko Award Winner Beech Raft created over 7 years from Poor Material