Hi, everybody,

would you believe that my trees are still in their winter shelter and that frost is predicted again for the next two nights!? BRRRRR!

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 I am longing more and more for the warmer weather to finally arrive so that I can start walking along my favourite beach again in search for some peace of mind! These lovely Orchid’s in my garden are a hopeful sign for warmer weather and hopefully some better times?! I need Summer!!! 🙂

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I hope *you like them?!

And I apologize for my sometimes so badly written English! It isn’t my first language and I  just overlook the obvious mistakes sometimes! But hey, sometimes the outcome is pretty funny! 😉


Hans van Meer.

Info: karamottobonsai@hotmail.com




Hi, everybody,
Last Saturday I visited my good friend Teunis Jan Klein’s “DESHIMA” Bonsai studio that is located in Nieuwerkerk aan de IJssel in The
Netherlands for the celebration of the first year anniversary of the Bonsai cafe. Teunis Jan started his successful “DESHIMA” Bonsai studio some 14 years ago, where he sells everything that has to do with Bonsai and where he also teaches Bonsai to his many students. A year ago Teunis started this Bonsai cafe in his Bonsai studio for his loyal students and guests and since then every first Saturday of the month they come together to spend the day and have fun chairing their Bonsai passion. They enjoy the pleasure of some food and drinks while working on their own or others their trees or just while talking about…well everything! And yesterday they celebrated their first year anniversary and had transformed the tropical greenhouse into a beautiful Bonsai showroom were they showed some of their Bonsai! Inside the studio, there was an open bar and a food section were Sushi and Sate was made for the guest! All the guest were surprised with champagne and after the New Years wishes were made everybody walked to see the trees on display and to have a look, indoors and outdoors, at the large selection of Bonsai and raw material that’s Teunis has for sale. There was even a snow machine that covered the trees in the outdoor garden, creating a magical winter experience! I had visited the Bonsai cafe before and I was invited to join the celebrations when I asked if it would be a nice idea if I would bring a tree to their show, Teunis sad it would be a great idea! So I brought along my old Ulmus Chinensis that I have been training for more than 20 years now. Teunis had asked his students to bring along a difficult tree and later that day he selected 4 of them to discuss inside while everybody was listening to what he had to say. I believe that Teunis is, besides being charismatic and easy to get along with, one of the best knowledgeable teachers that I know and it was a pleasure to hear him discuss those hard to style trees! It was a fun day and a great initiative, we need more people like Teunis in Holland to keep Bonsai here alive and kicking! Here are some images that I shot during my visit!

Below: When you open the door to his studio you are created on the right side by this wonderful display.

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Below: a Straight view into the shop from that same entrance off the studio.

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Below: The bar in the corner off his working/studio where the coffee with cookies where waiting. And yes! It is in Holland…. so there was alcohol! There always is!!! drunken

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Below: One off the many beautiful displays in that same working/studio area.

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Below: A wonderful Yamadori Oak in the garden on the way to the greenhouses. This whole picture shouts “Holland”! The light, house and trees. Holland! Very Happy

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Below: A look in the cold greenhouse were reasonably priced starters stand next to award winning trees! NOTE the branches on the left bottom in this picture! They are from a beech yamadori raft that I want to show to you all. I tell you this so that you can have an idea just how big this stunning tree is!

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Below: This is that breathtaking piece of wonderful nature in a pot! This is one off the few trees that really blows me away, every time again! And it gets better and better! Teunis is working on this tree for more than 10 years by now and it was showed in one off the earliest editions of the now famous Ginkgo awards! It is so heavy that the specially made pot broke when it was raised on the specially reinforced table there, you can still see the cracks! I have some pictures somewhere were his old cat is laying inside those trees and under the branches, it was it’s favorite spot! It looked like one off those rabbits hiding under the bushes in the film “Water ship down”! A thing of beauty for sure!

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                        Below: Close up of those amazing trunks and roots.

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                                         Below: Wonderful trees for sale!

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          Below: Even a former Ginkgo Award winner can be admired there!

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             Below: Another Ginkgo and Noelanders showed Bonsai for sale!

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                Below: And something special like this for the smaller budget!

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Below: A nice larch from one-off Teunis his students on display inside the, specially built for this celebration exhibition, section.

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                                                         Below: A nice Pine.

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I had a great afternoon at Teunis and his students “Bonsai Cafe”, they made me and all the others that were visiting this one-year Bonsai friendship celebration feel right at home! We need more people like Teunis Jan Klein in Holland! Bravo, my friend and I will be there again at your next celebration! And CU at the Noelanders!!!

Hope you all enjoyed it?!

Hans van Meer.

Info: karamottobonsai@hotmail.com

Deshima Bonsai Studio (T.J.Klein.)
Bonsai Cafe NL



Hi, everybody,

Last week I made a quick stop in La Roche en Ardenne, a beautiful small village in the Belgium Ardenne. And while walking through this lovely old place, I discovered a golden opportunity to show the world for ones and for all, that we Bonsai enthusiast are no softies when it comes to rough outdoor sports! So here I am, risking life and limbs, performing an extremely dangerous planking! 🙂


Hans van Meer.

Info: karamottobonsai@hotmail.com






Hi, everybody,

last week my health insurance company decided for the second time in a row,  they will not pay for my already planed back operation in Belgium! Leaving me with not much options for any recovery from this debilitating and painful injury that I have for so many years now!  You can imagine that after receiving this bad news, my spirits hit an all-time low! Then the next day the mailman dropped a large envelope through our mailbox, that to my surprise contained the April/May issue of the “Bonsai & Stone Appreciation Magazine” from the Bonsai Clubs International. I had received one copy earlier this year as a price for the pictures of my Bonsai I submitted into the  ” 8Th  International CETRE Online Award”. I thought this earlier copy was the only one I would receive, so I was not counting on this new edition ad all! That was a nice enough surprise as it is, but when I took the magazine out of its envelope I really had to sit down in wonderful disbelieve! Because there on the cover was a double picture of my Literati Hawthorn in full bloom and in Autumn colours!


I know that this is not the main reason that I am into Bonsai Art, but I would be a liar if I would not admit, that I am not happy and honoured that my work and trees are appreciated in this special way! It gave my otherwise clouded week an unexpected silver lining and all the more reason to carry on with what I am doing, no matter how hard that sometimes is at this moment! Bonsai is my sanity and live joy at this moment and this magazine cover will go on the wall to remind me of just that whenever I need it!

Thank you, my little trees!

Hans van Meer.

Info: karamottobonsai@hotmail.com




Hi, everybody,

I met Henk Steneker, the organizer of this workshop, during the Masterclass I did last year. There he asked if I would like to give a workshop in the following year at his relative new Bonsai shop “Iss Hogai” that is based in his new house in Emmen (Holland). Well, of course, I said yes and last weekend it was time for me to make the 2 and a half hour long trip to the North East of Holland. I made it in one go and arrived right in time for a warm welcome by Henk and a cup of coffee with cake! He showed me around his large garden that is being converted to a Bonsai garden with benches for his and his club members Bonsai and a large area to work. There is a nice indoor section in his garden to work when it is cold and raining or as in this case, rather hot! His club consists of a small but very enthusiastic group of Bonsai junkies, that had a great time during this sunny day! It is good to know, that there are so many people in Holland that are willing to make that extra effort to progress in their hobby! Because I know that improvement through working on Bonsai, will make this magnificent hobby, even more, enjoyable for them!

Below: First we started with discussing the trees that the students had brought along.

Below: One by one the unworked material, pre Bonsai or Bonsai were discussed by me.

Below: Rene pulling my leg when he brought with a straight face a half-dead Ulmus to see how I would react and talked my way out of it without hurting any one’s feelings! 🙂

               Below: Rene’s very promising Yamadori, Mugo Pine.

A very promizing Mugo pine!

                  Below picture: discussing the trees possibilities.

                                                     Below picture: WHAT ?!


                 Above: Harry Gerdes concentrated at work on his Juniper.

              Monique van Ommen, working indoor were it was much cooler!

Rene Bakker was very eager to start working on his Pine. I cant blame him! 🙂

Above: Henk Steneker, founder of this club and organizer, hard at work on his “Taxus”.


Above: Anneke van Lintum, enjoying Bonsai! A picture that speaks for itself!

Above: Rene, bless his heart, did not hesitate to cut off and bend some major branches, after we discussed where we could go with his magnificent old “Mugo”!

Above: Wet raffia was applied to prevent branches to break when they were severely bent.

                          Above picture: Bram de Visser working on his tree.

     Above picture: Bram’s “Chamaecyparis” obtusa before his work started.

                                      Above: The cut off branch is Jinned.

Above: The well-protected branch is slowly brought into its desired position.

 Above: Even after all of the students were gone we went on wiring and styling…we both wanted to see this great tree finished! 😉

    Above: Almost everything wired and brought into its desired position.!

After a long day of bonsai work, it was nice to finish off with a promising tree like this one! And than it was time for a nice cold beer with my new Bonsai friends from up North!

Above: Bending the last branches of the top into place! After a long day of bonsai work, it was nice to finish off with a promising tree like this one! And then it was time for a nice cold beer with my new Bonsai friends from up North! And then it was off for the long trip home…tired but very happy and satisfied!

Hope you enjoy the images as much as I enjoyed this day!


Hans van Meer.

Info: karamottobonsai@hotmail.com




Hi, everybody,

I came across this picture from 1994. It is me repotting (alone) my huge Celtis chinensis. This tree "THE LION CRUSHER" was once a proud part of my growing collection those days. I loved this tree, because it was, a tree! You felt dwarfed, when you looked at it from close by. It gave me the feeling that I use to feel when I was a little child, playing under need a big tree in the forest. But I had to let it go to warmer places, it was struggling to much in my cold climate! Showing this difficult species at the "Ginkgo Award" was a highlight for me and the tree. I still miss the feel off this real tree!
I came across this picture from 1994. It is me repotting (alone) my hudge Celtis Chinensis. This tree “THE LION CRUSHER” was once a proud part of my growing collection those days. I loved this tree, because it was, a tree! You felt dwarfed when you looked at it from close by. It gave me the feeling that I use to feel when I was a little child, playing under need a big tree in the forest. But after 6 years, I had to let it go to warmer places (Frans), it was struggling too much in my cold climate! Being able to show this difficult species at the “Ginkgo Award” was a highlight for me and the tree. I still miss the feel of this real tree in my small garden!
Here is a other one. Can you tell why this tree is named "THE LION CRUSHER" ? Yes or no? Look harder!
Here is another one. Can you tell why this tree is named       “THE LION CRUSHER”? Yes or no? Look harder!


Hans van Meer.

Info: karamottobonsai@hotmail.com



Hi, everybody,

Here is the “TURKEY CATS” group picture that Kevin Baily made at “BURRS”. 

You can find more pictures here: http://www.dragonbonsai.co.uk/burrs.htm

  And a picture of some typical “BURRS” humour! 🙂


Hans van Meer.

Info: karamottobonsai@hotmail.com






Hi everybody,

this weekend I had the immense pleasure to be a part again of the, 2008 “BURRS” residential bonsai workshop weekend, that Tony Tickle organize every year. This was already my 3 time there and I am already committed to doing the next one in 2009. And it is almost fully booked, so if you are interested to join us next year, you can find more Information here: http://www.bonsaischool.co.uk/

I must admit that lately, I have lost my belief in a part of the bonsai community. I was so very disheartened by the behaviour and attitude of some, that I decided to stay out of any debate in the future, that could not be won, even if I was right! So I have stopped posting on some forums to avoid temptation and aggravation. My precious time is better spent on my own Bonsai and Bonsai friends. It just wasn’t worth any more of my good intended time!

But after this weekend in “BURRS”, being an intimate part of this large group of egoless and pretentious Bonsai lovers, that I call my friends, I know again, where I can find the true heart and soil of Bonsai.

They all come every year to this magical place in the U.K, from different countries in Europe, to teach, learn, eat and drink and have immense fun while creating beautiful stuff!!!

I thank all these dear Bonsai friends for their trust in us. This weekend was like a warm bath for me and you all revived my spirit and believes! Thanks Tony for organizing this event so well every year! And thanks to Ivo, Enrico and my dear friend Terry for their love of Bonsai!

I will see you all next year in magical “BURRS”!!!

                                                “Turkey Cats” Rules !!!

Have fun,

Hans van Meer.


The picture above: I arrived at the “John Lennon” airport in Liverpool early Friday morning, where my dear friend Tony Tickle was waiting for me. We then drove up North, had a typical English breakfast in a fully for Halloween converted diner, while we waited for my other friends Lee and Simon to arrive. From there we drove up to a wonderful place to collect some Yamadori from a rather steep and hard to climb mountain. This picture tells how lucky I felled to be able to do that because only a week ago my back problems became so bad that I could hardly sit up, let along climb up a mountainside. It took some heavy medication, but I made it up there! The Bonsai gods were with me again on this one!

          Below: The view was breathtakingly beautiful and worth the struggle!

Below: I took this other lovely view after I had to climb down most of the way to find my camera that had fallen out of my broken backpack. I was lucky again to find it back amongst all the Black and Hawthorns, but having to struggle all the way up again was no walk in the park for me!

              Below: picture: Tony and Simon found their first Hawthorn.

Below: Early next Saturday morning at Terry’s place, while he allowed me to get a bit more sleep, he prepared everything to pot my collected trees in plastic containers. Then he woke me up, and with a warm cup of real thee, we started to do this exciting work! This promising Hawthorn was collected by Simon and Tony for me.

Below: After a fitting container was found, the tree was firmly secured from 4 sides to prevent any movement. Then it was filed up with a mixture of Akadama and Biosorb.

Below: This Hawthorn is planted in a cascading style, this meant some roots up the trunk were exposed to the air. That’s why Terry placed some Sphagnum moss around it, so they would stay alive to help the recovery of the tree next growing season. Later on, when the tree shows enough signs of recovering, they could be removed!

Below: Here are my 6 Yamadori potted up. So it was time for the lovely breakfast that Terry prepared as well for us! You got to love this guy!!!

 Below: Here we just arrived at the “BURRS” venue. Isn’t this a fitting way to move a great talent and his wonderful material! 🙂  

                                 Below: Hawthorn after first serious cutting.

Below: Simon wiring his Pine. This odd-looking Yamadori turned out to be rather stunning in the end!

Below: Mister Tickle googling over the bulging root base of Simons Pine. Note the screw that is placed in the deadwood section to help pull down the whole top section to enhance the movement.

              The surprising end result, a promising stylish Literati Bonsai!

           Simon and his little helper are proud of what they accomplished! 🙂

                                          Below: Pine forest on a natural slab.

            Below: Ivo working on the deadwood of Jerry’s Mugo Yamadori.

Below: My quick drawing, of a possible future, for  Jerry’s Mugo(the one above). He was very excited about it, I hope he brings the tree with him next year?!

 Below: Cutting away this to thick and straight cascading branch on this Juniper, instantly created a very exciting fat Shohin!

                  Below: Eric and Ivo, having a get to getter, over Eric’s Larch.

Below: Like in earlier editions, Potter and Bonsai artist John Pitt had brought along an import tree for Enrico and a Yamadori tree for me to help to style. This unique larch turned out very nice and looks very natural.

                                            Below: A stunning Sylvestris Pine.

                                          Below: A typical Yamadori Larch.

  Below: My quick design drawing as a possibility and a guide for the student.

Below: With the help of wet raffia and copper wire the tree is already brought an end in the right direction.

                              Below: Concentrated at work…I love to see that!

                           Below: And yet another finished promising Bonsai!

                                                              Below: SWEAT!!

Below: Then on Saturday evening the very tasty traditional Diner as always prepared by Tony’s lovely wife Carolyn.

                     Below: Andrew “stone monkey” concentrated as always.

Below: Me clowning around like most of the time before the evening demo of Terry Foster and little old me!

            Below: The students looking and listening on during our demo’s.

                  Below: Jerry looking at what we are doing and explaining.

Below: Terry did a lot of the wiring while I did sitting down most of the deadwood! And there was a lot of it on this unique old Yew from Terry’s own collection.

Below: Every big decision was discussed by me or terry and explained with the students before they were actually done!

Below: I have placed the tree in front of a white wall and covered the back branch to show and discuss how it would look with or without it?!

Below: Asking the audience what they think about removing that left side branch?! Enrico and Jihn are debating it together.

Below: You can see just how tired I am after this long day! Here we are discussing the end result of a not so usual styling of a unique Yew.

Below: The end result for now. A not twelve in a dozen Pre Bonsai with a lot of character and flair!

                                            Below: The guy’s being funny! 🙂

Below: The Dutch posy!  Finally everybody, in the pub 25 meters across the road for a beer or two…tree…four…who is counting anyway?! 


We had a great evening/night and Terry and I went on at his place until deep in the night, sampling fine Scottie’s Whiskey and talking like the good friends that we are for such a long time now! The Sunday session was over before we knew it and then it all ends so fast and I had to walk past my great hero John Lennon again entering the Liverpool airport! Yet another magnificent “BURRS” weekend is over and what a great experience it was again! Thanks, Tony, Carolyn, Terry, Charlotte and thanks, Enrico, Ivo and all student for making this such a amazing experiance again!

                                                 “AND ABOVE US ONLY SKY”


Hans van Meer.

Info: karamottobonsai@hotmail.com









                                                     “And above us only sky”

*more to come!

Hans van Meer.


Some Lazy Sunday Work On A Acer Buergerianum.

Hi, everybody,

I did a lot of joy full Bonsai work on this unexpected Sunny Sunday afternoon. Just little things, here and there. Some cutting, some bending, some cleaning of old needles and leafs, just the fun Bonsai stuff on a perfect lazy afternoon. One of the trees I worked on today was the Acer buergerianum in the picture below. This tree is more than 12 years under my care now and during that long time, it was always one of my favourite projects that came along nicely. When I bought the tree, it had just a few little and ugly placed and deformed branches. And a lot of ugly scares from bad wound treatment! So I worked all those years towards better ramification and everything looked very promising until 3 years ago! During that winter, the tree lost 1 important branch and most of it smaller ramification! So its image was destroyed!

But with a lot of love and care, the tree recovered and today again shows a lot of healthy growth! It those needs some more small branches and finer ramification to get to the image I have in mind. But I am already very happy to see that the tree is willing to give me a second chance, it made me smile! I hope you like it?


Hans van Meer.

Info: karamottobonsai@hotmail.com