yesterday I proudly brought in my Ilex verticillata urban Yamadori Kabudachi (five trunks) for the international Bonsai show Noelanders XIX that is staged on 3-4 February in Genk Belgium. I had loaded my Bonsai, wooden slab and accent plant early in the morning and secured everything really good to prevent small incidents that could have big consequences for my Bonsai! And left around 12 for the 2.5-hour boring drive to the enormous Limburg hall in Genk Belgium where the show is staged. I luckily and surprisingly had no traffic jams around Antwerpen and arrived around 3 and went straight in to get a trolly for my stuff and to enter my Bonsai officially and get and sign all the paperwork that goes along with such a big show! I was number 5 or 6 inline to get my Bonsai photographed for the commemorative Noelanders Trophy book by old Bonsai friend Willy Evenepoel so in the meanwhile I could admire all the wonderful Bonsai from all around Europe that were standing all around me on trolleys waiting just like me to be photographed. Luckily there was coffee to warm our selfs up because it was really cold and draughty in this enormous hall where the big doors were constantly opened so that Bonsai merchants and artist alike could bring in there merchandise and Bonsai!
Below: here my Bonsai is waiting to be photographed.
After more than 1,5 hour waiting and a lot of coffee, it was finally my turn to have my Bonsai photographed so I drove it inside the makeshift but very professional studio and prepared my composition in between all the lights. It is always amazing to see just how good your own and others Bonsai look on the computer screens after it is lighted out properly by Willy. He will adjust everything painstakingly until everything is to his professional eye just perfect…only than will he be satisfied with the result! He even noticed a tinny spider wire hidden between two very small branch tips and made a compleat new picture after it was removed…such a professional! After he was finished I lifted the tree and slab back onto the trolly and drove it, and this was a long walk through this enormous complex, to the exposition area where I had to walk past endless rows of long tables to find my spot to make my composition. As usual, I had lost my map with my precise spot on it! And as always in these cases was it the last row where I looked! 🙂
Below: here I am still looking in that enormous hall.
Preparing my composition is always a trill and over before I know it! That’s why I nowadays always take my time to enjoy it more and soak in the positive energy of this great honour! Because even after all those years and many shows it is still a very uplifting and humbling experience to be able to show your creations among so many great Bonsai from other artists to so many Bonsai friends from all around Europe and even the world! I am a blessed man in that way! I made a video of it all and I will shoot some more footage next Sunday when I am there the whole day to meet up with old and new Bonsai friend from all around Europe and to watch all the amazing Bonsai on display in this great event! I will post this video as soon as possible…so watch this space!!!
Zaterdag 6 jan. jongleden was het alweer tijd voor de jaarlijkse Winterboom presentatie en Nieuwjaars borrel in Teunis Jan Klein zijn geweldige Bonsai studio “Deshima” in Nieuwerkerk a/d IJssel. Hij had samen met de vrijwilligers van zijn Bonsai Café NL weer enorm veel werk verricht om er weer een geweldige Bonsai dag van te maken voor de vele bezoekers! Ik was door Teunis ook uitgenodigd om een Bonsai ten toon te komen stellen dus ik moest die dag weer eens vroeg uit de veren om mijn Ilex verticullata om 9 uur s’ochtens op te kunnen stellen voor dat de deuren open gingen om 10 uur! In de grote voor de gelegenheid om gebouwde open buiten kas was rond om een mooie ruimte gecreëerd met zwarte tafels en zwarte achterwanden zodat de winterbomen nog beter tot hun recht konden komen. Het opbouwen van je presentatie is altijd leuk en spannend om te doen en het is altijd weer een mooi moment om te zien hoe je Bonsai na al die jaren van werk er uit ziet op zijn Paas best! Na heel wat handjes schudden en de nodige praatjes was het alweer 10 uur en tijd voor Teunis Jan om namens Deshima Bonsai Studio en Bonsai Café NL iedereen van harte welkom te heten en om de Winterbomen presentatie 2018 te openen. Waarna iedereen zijn eigen weg ging om de tentoongestelde Bonsai te bewonderen of om gezellig wat aan de bar te drinken onder het genot van de gratis krentenbollen of om tussen de collectie top kwaliteit potten en binnen en buiten Bonsai te zoeken naar iets moois om te kopen! Om 11 uur begon de zeer interessante PowerPoint presentatie door Dominique Bosch over zijn leer periode in Japan. Tussen 12 en 1 uur werd de demo ruimte voor Dominique demonstratie ingericht terwijl er een digitale presentatie was van Bonsai Empire over uiteenlopende Bonsai tentoonstellingen van over de hele wereld. Om 1 uur werd onder het genot van een heerlijk glas bubbels met onze gastheer het glas op het komende schitterende bonsai jaar geheven. En een kwartiertje later begon de geslaagde demonstratie van Dominique op een niet zo voor de hand legende Jeneverbes, die later verloot werd onder de mensen die lootjes gekocht hadden. De boom ging uit eindelijk naar mijn student en vriend Diederick. 😊 De rest van de middag genoten we van al het moois in dit mooie Bonsai center en van de Winterbomenpresentatie met Bonsai die we elkaar willen laten zien en vertelden welke plannen we met onze bomen hebben voor het nieuwe jaar. Rond 5 uur ging iedereen weer met zijn eigen bomen of met hun nieuw aanwinsten moe maar voldaan weer op huis aan. Ik wil hierbij Teunis Jan en alle vrijwilligers van het Bonsai Café bedanken voor al hun werk dat deze zeer hartverwarmende Bonsai dag mogelijk maakte! Helaas heb ik geen foto’s gemaakt maar binnen kort zet ik een door mij geschoten korte video van deze mooie dag op YouTube!
Tot volgend jaar in goede gezondheid dan maar weer!
Hans van Meer.
PS: De hier boven door mij getoonde Ilex heeft het gelukkig door de voor sellectie van de Noelanders Trophy 2018 gehaald en zal daar in Februari tussen al dat Bonsai geweld te zien zijn! 🙂 Dus mijn Bonsai jaar is al goed begonnen dus!!! 😉
GREAT NEWS!!! On Saturday 26 May 2018 Danny & Ingrid Use from Bonsai center “GINKGO” in Laarne Belgium will stage the second edition of the amazing “KEI BONSAI KAI” TEN and TEN “DANNY USE & FRIENDS” in Laarne Belgium!!! First of all there is Danny’s huge world class private collection to see and like in the first very amazing edition in 2016 Danny his loyal students from “KEI BONSAI KAI” will show literally hundreds of there best Bonsai in amazing arrangements through out the whole “Ginkgo” Bonsai center! And like if that would be not enough?! Just like before Danny also invited many of his old Bonsai friends from the famous and legendary “GINKGO BONSAI AWARDS” series to show there best work!!! And I am once again very honored and proud to say that I am one of them! 🙂 This great news was told to me last week when after a to long time I finally was able to visit my old and dear friends Danny and Ingrid again in their wonderful Bonsai center!
As always we were warmly welcomed as lost friends and during a cordial conversation and coffee Danny told me about his plans for the new Show and invited me to be a part of it again. Well I wholeheartedly sad YES!!! I WOULD LOVE TO!!! Even if this upcoming edition is half the success and the fun of the first one…well than I would still love to be a part of it all!!! If you love Bonsai? Well than you simply cant afford to miss out on this opportunity to visit this amazing “GINKGO” Bonsai center were everything you ever need or want in Bonsai is for sale + the change to see hundreds of some of the best Bonsai in Europe!!! Ow and did I mentioned that there is a hug indoors rebuild wooden american roadhouse bar for drinks and snacks!!! 😉 I hope to see and meet you all there!
Here you can see two video’s that I shot during the first edition in 2016:
after a lot of hours of editing all the footage I shot last weekend at the “KEI-BONSAI-KAI” exhibition in the famous “GINKGO” Bonsai centre in Laarne Belgium, I finally managed to get the 2 parts onto youtube! It was a disaster to discover after I finally finished the video’s that my old camera used a system (MMP) that was not compatible with youtube! Wat ever I tried, I could not get it on there!!!! So I finally managed to convert the video’s back onto my computer and from there managed to get it onto youtube! Man, I was relieved that this finally worked! I was so afraid that my hard work was all for nothing! You must understand, this was the first time I ever posted something on youtube…yes I know…. I am a dinosaur! 🙂 Anyway, here are the 2 links to the 2 part video! I hope you enjoy them?!
while planning my 2 Bonsai displays for the “KEI BONSAI KAI” exhibition next weekend in Belgium, I was surging through my old pictures of earlier displays to look at the accents, scrolls, Tanzaku’s and Shikishi’s that I have used in the past to accompany my Bonsai in shows where that was allowed. Doing this I rediscovered a early “van Meer” that I would like to re share with you all….because it made me smile and I hope it will make you smile too?! 🙂
Only 6 more night to sleep before I have to carry my two (one heavy) Bonsai, tables and other accessories into my car and drive to the “Kei Bonsai Kai” exhibition in Laarne (Belgium)! More than 125 top class Bonsai will be on display there and I am really proud to be a small part of all that!!! If you want to see lots of pictures of how Danny and an amazing group of volunteers are building and preparing everything for this amazing show go HERE!!!!
When I get back from the show I will post lots of pictures of it all and later on a short film about all the Bonsai and the reunion of old Bonsai friends!!! I hope to see you all there on Saturday the 28th of May from 10h to 18h !!! And remember FREE ENTRANCE !!!!! 🙂
Note from Me: this is a reply to the reader of my blog who so kindly posted a comment to point out to me that he or she and I quote: “did not know that there was a Dutch Hawthorn species”. Well, there isn’t! The title of this post “My Dutch Hawthorn In Full Bloom” points to the fact that the Bonsai in this post is a Dutch Yamadori of the Hawthorn kind and not that it is a Dutch Hawthorn species! Now I understand that I maybe could have better titled this post: “My Dutch Yamadori Hawthorn In full Bloom” to prevent all the confusion of this comment poster?! But in my defence, I would like to point out that like I did in Bonsai, I thought my self how to speak and write in the English language for the purpose of being able to write about my Bonsai adventures on bonsai forums, my website and blog! And I do realise that these posts are still full of poor spelling and grammar, believe me I know! But hé…I try as best as I can and 120000+ hits today when you google my name+bonsai must show that most people don’t mind me making all these honest mistakes and enjoy reading about what I am doing! And for all those people I will keep on posting and apologise in advance for all my mistakes that I know I will make in the future! 😉
Hi, everybody, this picture was made a few day’s ago when the weather was just beautiful sunny and it was 25 degrees! As I write this today, it is only 11 degrees, raining and storming?!
I was in the middle of preparing this Dutch Hawthorn Yamadori (Crataegus monogyna) that I collected many years ago close to were I live, for the exciting “KEI BONSAI KAI” exhibition that is held on Saturday the 28th of May 2016 from 10h-18h in Danny Use famous Bonsai Centre “Ginkgo” in Laarne Belgium (free entrance)! Those unsightly wooden sate sticks around the rim of the pot are there to keep the rock pigeons that visit my garden regularly for free seed and water from sleeping under need the foliage! Otherwise, they would have destroyed the tender new moss and throw out my topsoil! This those not harm them at all and now they sleep and rest on a large rock that holds down a cascading Mugo pine…you got to love these little creatures! The larger wooden sticks in there are to hold the top and top branch in place, this way I don’t have to use wire every time and it is just as efficient! The Hawthorn has an amazing amount of flowers this year and I was really looking forward to showing it for the very first time to the public ….. but disaster struck once again! About 35% off all the foliage was infected by some sort of insect and left the leaves covered with bums like they have chicken pocks or measles! I had this before on some of my Hawthorns and it is quite harmless…but it looks like shit! I removed most off the infected leaves, but I soon came to realise that it would leave the tree almost bare in some places and that would be unsightly and is not don in such a high-class exhibition! So I sadly had to decide to not show this one and another infected beautiful small Hawthorn that I was planning to show and has the same problem! It is a sad and very disappointing….but these things can happen when dealing with living things and are a part of Bonsai if we like it or not! But the picture is beautiful enough to show you all this rare Dutch Yamadori in the “Mother and child” style with all her flowers!! She tried hard enough to be beautiful for this big show, but a small insect destroyed her chance to shine….maybe in the future she will get another change?! I will now bring in only 2 off my Bonsai! They will be showed with scrolls and accents and I will post a picture of the whole event (and maybe film?!) as soon as I get home from these exciting reunion of some of the old Ginkgo gang! After all those years it is great to get home to the place where it more or less all started! I hope that you are all coming to watch this great opportunity to see beautiful bonsai and to shop around in Danny’s amazing Bonsai Valhalla!! CU all there!!
boy o boy have I got great Bonsai news for you all!!!! Just a few weeks ago I received a totally unexpected call from my old Bonsai friend Danny Use (Belgium), who I had not spoken to for way too long (I admit in shame)! He sounded all excited when he asked “what would you think of another “Ginkgo Award” ?????!!!!!!! I sad “YES” way too hard, before I asked in disbelieve “are you serious?”! We got in contact again only a few month’s ago after I emailed them the link to a funny Bonsai video, featuring my friend Carlos van der Vaart and I, interviewed and followed around many many years ago while working on Danny’s Bonsai in the old “Ginkgo Bonsai museum”. This video went small-scale viral after I emailed it to Ingrid and she posted it around Belgium! Seeing this old tape brought back a lot of great memories of the friendships and the adventures we all had together in those early day’s! And that was just what Danny was planning: trying to revitalise those old times by bringing back some of the people of these early day’s and to let them show their Bonsai together with the Bonsai of Danny’s Bonsai club/school “Kei Bonsai Kai”! Well, I should have know better and realise that dream follower Danny does not wait long to for fill his wishes and dreams! But still, I was surprised when only yesterday I received the poster of the “Kei Bonsai Kai” Exhibition 2016!!! And look at the names of Bonsai artist from all around Europe that Danny hat invited to show their work along with the Bonsai from his students!!! And then there is Danny’s own amazing private collection in his museum to see and all the Bonsai stuff you ever want to buy in your life on sale in their megastore and much more…….and it’s FREE!!!! You just got to take this opportunity and visit the Ginkgo Bonsai centre and the “Kei Bonsai Kai” Bonsai exhibition! I sure like to C U and all my old friends all there on Saturday 28Th of May 2016 (see poster below)!
it took a while for all the impressions from this years Noelanders to sink in! What an experience the long ride leading up to it was again! The last 2 seasons preparing my little Hawthorn for this show, being relieved that it made it into the final show, having a custom made pot made for it by John Pitt and a last-minute custom-made table by Christoph! The long night ride to bring it into the show, the early photo session with Willy Evenepoel and the feeling of proudness and amazement when I walked with my small tree in my arms into the enormous exhibition aerier! Finding my prominent and perfect exhibition space and building up my display all alone and in total peace…over the years I learnt to cherish these moments that pass in a moment! Walking past the almost endless rows with stunning Bonsai before any one was there, the feeling that came over me when I saw the many beauty in Bonsai designs, material and matureness! And the feeling that came over me when I saw trees with just a few years of ramification growth and work? Being warmly welcomed and congratulated by old Bonsai friends and shaking many hands of many new ones….making it o so hard to get from A to B! Having a meal and some drinks with friends from all over Europe and beyond, like if you had last saw them yesterday! Walking amazed past the endless rows with traders, who had Bonsai for sale that could be placed directly into the main show!!! And not 1 or 2…no 30 or 40!!! It was sometimes hard to find the traders under need all the world-class Yamadori that they had brought along in their hundreds from every were in Europe !!! Being a bit sad that I had to leave early…but really happy to have made it in the first place to bring in my Little “Hawthorn” my self in to this high class Bonsai show where now a day’s you need a “Kimura” styled Bonsai to win a price…that should make me even prouder, you would think? Wouldn’t you?! While I aim my car to wards Holland again a song comes on the car radio…Girl you know it’s true!!! Oooow, oooow, oooow…!!!
The next Monday, my dear friend Tony Tickle came to visit me again before getting on the boat home here close to were we live! He had brought along my Little Hawthorn, table and accent from the show! As always we had a fun afternoon, Tony is one of my oldest friends….whe had some amazing adventures together and I consider him more like a brother from a other mother! Tony gave the Fagus yamadori that I had here waiting for him in my garden a short shave (see the branches in my arms in picture) and made this selfie afterwards…such a shame that we live such a long way apart!
So to sum up: Noelanders Trophy XVI (2016) was a amazing show and a amazing experience to be a little part off! I congratulate Mark Noelanders and all the volunteers that made this all possible again so that we could all enjoy this Bonsai heaven on earth that gets better and better every edition! Until next year….I hope!?
just got back from my long trip up to the Noelanders Trophy 2016 in Genk Belgium to bring in my Little Hawthorn for the show and to see amazing Bonsai and best off all: my Bonsai friend from around Europe! This morning I had to get up at 4 to get there at 8 just before the show would open it’s doors to the public, only then there would be a small window of time to make the pictures of the trees for the commemorative book… I made it precisely in time! Yes!!! I was the first to arrive off the last exhibitors to arrive and found photographer and old Bonsai friend Willy Evenly already waiting for me! We sad our hello’s and while Willy arranged all the lights and the rest of his set up, I found in the corner off the studio the wooden box with my name written on it (in big letters!), that was left there for me the other night! Inside, I found my new custom made table and dai! They were made on special hurry order and left there for me by Christoph from CHR furniture. I saw the table (in real life) there and then for the first time and I was over the moon with it, the Bonsai table combo was really good in my eyes! This great craftsman makes amazing Bonsai tables! After I had placed the table and the Bonsai in the right position, Willy made several shots until he was satisfied with the lighting and sharpness and then asked, like always, are you satisfied with the result? How cool is that?! While Willy was concentrated at work on the picture of my little Hawthorn, I shot this picture of him and my tree over his shoulder! As it is forbidden to take pictures in the actual exhibition of the trees….this is the best I can do for now! The beautiful pot was custom made by my friend John Pitt and matches the structure and colour of the tree perfectly! I was proud to present my work again at this great event and it was even greater to hear and see how lots of people liked my little Hawthorn and to find out just how many friends exactly know the whole story of this Bonsai from reading my blog stories! Great to know people are still interested in what I do…that is very heartwarming! But what made it even better is to meet the friends I made over the years in this great art form, some now for over more than 20 years!! I hope you enjoy the picture?! I am off to bed!!!
Sorry for the delay in posting this post about the Noelanders Trophy 2015, but I have been really busy in a good way and could not make the time earlier!
I would like to quote my good friend Tony Tickle from his blog
“I thought last years event in Heusden- Zolder was terrific but the new venue at the Limburghal Genk has raised the show to a whole new level of excellence. The increased space in the exhibition and traders halls ensured that at no time, did it feel overcrowded. The issues that were given for the banning of photography last year seem to have been resolved by the increased area. Having said that, despite the ban, there were many people taking pictures inside the exhibition and quite a number of them have already appeared on the Internet. As an averagely obsessed hobbyist and small-scale blogger, who feels obliged to uphold the rules for fear of prejudicing my chances of having a tree accepted in the future, I personally feel disadvantaged by this. I sincerely hope the organisers will consider lifting this ban for next year; after all, in the same period, the Japanese have lifted the ban on photography at major shows and it would seem that the effect has been to open the shows up to a wider international audience.”
I could not agree more with Tony’s reasoning! The new location is so much better than the old one and it seemed that the level of the Bonsai had grown accordingly! Really the best show I have ever visited and a must-see for every devoted Bonsai enthusiastic! Only points of improvements that have to be taken care off in the future are the extremely long and cold waiting times at the entrance on Saturday and when you ask 50 Euro cents for every toilet visit (from a few thousand people over the weekend $$$)….well than they better be cleaned every now and than during that weekend! And like asked, I did not make any pictures of the trees on display, but many others did! I do believe that taking pictures should be a part of going to a Bonsai show like this one, especially when there is more than enough room to do so without disturbing the other visitors! But otherwise, it was a pure joy to be there and to be a little part of it all!!! Well, don to Mark and all his volunteers for creating an even better show than before! Bonsai has come fare in Europe and it is amazing to see how mature the Bonsai on display has become over the last few years! Really amazing!!!!!
But I do manage to make a quick picture during the photographing of my Hawthorn for the annual commemorative book that I would like to share with you!!! My old Hawthorn was only shown once earlier during the Ginkgo Awards in the late nineties and I was glad to show it once again some 15 years older and more mature!