Hi everybody,

today I spend most of, probably one of the last real sunny days, shooting pictures of my Hawthorn (Crataegus monogyna) Literati. The tree is in early full Fall colours this year and the leafs seem to reflect the sun in bright yellow light.

I used a standard Kodak easy share camera on a tripod, on ISO 200, between f 3.6 and f 5.0, and between 1/125 and 1/250 to get this intense yellow reflection from the foliage. Direct sunlight, that hits the tree from the right, was filtered and 2 reflecting white hard boards were use to reflect light on the Bonsai. One from the left side and the other one from below/front of the tree. An umbrella above the camera to avoid direct sunlight hitting my lens and then I shoot more than a hundred pictures! The intensity of the bright yellow reflection seemed to increase every minute, as the sun moved through the sky. I love making pictures like this, that show the contrast between the rough old bark and the soft lines of the yellow leaves. I hope you like them too?!


Hans van Meer.

                                           It sure was a nice day, today!


Hans van Meer.




Hi, everybody,

Last Wednesday I had the pleasure to give a masterclass in Leersum (Holland).  Every year they organize 4 to 6 of these masterclasses led by skilled teachers like Mark Noelanders, Hotsumi Terakawa, Carlos van der Vaart and Teunis Jan Klein to name a few. During that evening they discuss the trees that the club members brought along. In this way, they almost get one on one answers or advice about training technique, styling advice and maintenance. I enjoyed my self that evening, although I lost my voice from talking all evening! I found this to be a great way to share my knowledge with the bonsai enthusiast that attended that evening! I thank them for their trust!

Here are some images that Hans Khoe shot during that evening, thank you for that Hans!

                                     Below: Making a design for this little Pine.

       Below: I love to convey my ideas or design suggestion trough drawings.


Next stop: BURRS (UK)! YES!!!!

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.




Hi, everybody,

Last weekend, I was invited to Italy, by my dear Bonsai friend, Enrico Savini. He had asked me to be the judge of the annual demonstrator’s competition during the XVII edition of the MOSTRA NAZIONALE BONSAI-SUISEKI “GIAREDA” event. And of course I sad yes!

Enrico Savini, Mauro Stemberger and Ivo Saporiti, were this year’s organizers of this important event and I think that they and the many volunteers that helped, did an amazing job!!!! This show proved once more, that the Italian Bonsai scene is very alive and full of New and old top talent! And the Bonsai….well some of them were breathtakingly beautiful!

Early on Thursday the 5Th, I made the short plane trip to Milan, were on arrival I was reunited with my old “BURRS” friend Ivo, in which house I was (A well-fed) guest. 😉

On the rest of that first day, we managed to visit “Picci Bonsai” and Nippon-en bonsai in Milan, before we had a nice meal and then it was off to bed!

Next day we had to get up really early to make it in time to the event! It was 2 hours long drive that caused a lot of yawning from all of us! But after I finally arrived at the venue…no, when I walked in the wonderful setting of this venue, I was impressed, very IMPREST and very awake! This was the most perfect setting I had yet seen!

During this weekend I saw some of the best bonsai that I had ever seen, that where showed in one of the most perfect places, that I had ever seen and literally in the middle of all that Bonsai Bliss, there were more than 10 of the best Professional Bonsai teachers in Italy demonstrating their talents on amazing and sometimes very difficult, but exciting material! And it did not stop there, because there were, even more, very talented Bonsai students from the “PROGETTO FUTURO” Bonsai school, were Enrico, Mauro and Ivo are teachers, working on amazing Yamadori. Together they all were demonstrating, with great result, on some unbelievable raw material! This was really a Bonsai spectacle that I wish every Bonsai nut could see! It was pure magic for me to be amongst all this talent, Bonsai beauty, superb material and friendliness! And I hope that the pictures that I post here can evoke some of that feeling with you!


Below pictures: Ivo Saporitti garden.



Below pictures: Picci Bonsai centre (Milan) Italy.


Pictures below: NIPPON-EN Bonsai centre (Milan) Italy.




Below pictures: Impressions of the venue and the Bonsai in the exhibition.












Pictures of the 2-day demonstration, performed by the talented students of the PROGETTO FUTURE BONSAI SCHOOL.
















Below pictures: Demonstrations from the pro/teachers.

Demonstration by 1st place winner: Olivier Barreau (France)



Demonstration by 2nd place price winner: Zino Rongo. (Mirtus)



Demonstration by 3rd price winner: Roberto Raspanti. (Taxus baccata)



Demonstration by 4th place winner: Alfredo Salaccione.  (Pinus sylvestris)



Demonstration by the 5th place winner: Samuel Corazza.



Demonstration by Francesco Santini.



Demonstration by: Antonio Conte.



Demonstration by: Nicola Crivelli.



Demonstration by:



Demonstration by:



Demonstration by: Donato Danisi.



Demonstration by:



Demonstration by: Armando Dal Col.



Demonstration by: Matteo Caldiero.



Demonstration by: Renzo Pooli.

Demonstration by: Paola Nastasi.



I hope you enjoyed it? If you have some nice pictures of the end result of the teacher’s demo’s, please email them to me! And please email me the missing names of the people in the demo pictures?! As you can see I don’t have all of them complete! thank you!


Hans van Meer.




Hi everybody,

today I received a wonderful gift from the German potter, Horst Heinzlreiter. He sponsored one of his unique pots, as a prize in an online Knowledge of Bonsai forum contest and I won it.  

Horst would specially custom make this one of pot for me, so I asked him to make my pot with the cracked and damaged surface that he created so beautifully on some of his other pots that I had seen before and admired so much. I was also able to choose the colour I liked and the size of the pot! 27cm/10,5 inch by 23cm/9 inch.

And today the pot arrived at my place of work, like a well-packed surprise birthday gift! It was so exciting to unwrap this pot, that I had never seen before! And I was not disappointed when I first laid my eyes on it! I was really amazed and then impressed! I think it is so beautiful! The colours, the texture and total impression this pot gives to me, I love to look at it and I love to touch it!


I think that the important work that potters do for bonsai is underrated. And I do believe that some are great artists, that deserve a lot of credit from us artists, that use their beautiful Art as a home for our Art to live in! This pot deserves…no demands, a special tree as his partner. And that’s a sign of a good pot for me!


Thanks, Horst, I will try to find the perfect tree for your wonderful pot!

Below: Well, I think I did just that!

You can see more of Horst his work here:

Hope you like it as much as I do?!


Hans van Meer.



Hi, everybody,

Many mounts ago, my new bonsai friend ‘Rune Kyrdalen’ invited me over to Norway to do a workshop and demo weekend for his club “THE NORSK BONSAISELKAP”. So finally last Friday, early in the morning, I boarded the SAS plain to fly to yet another country I had never been to before, to meet up with new bonsai friends to do some serious bonsai, with a smile!

Above: Rune, his lovely wife “Anne” keeps and runs sledge dogs. This is “Ringo” one of her beautiful wolf-like dogs, that I photographed while enjoying some morning sun.

Saturday: the demo day.

Above: Me next to the homemade sign that stood at the bottom of the road leading up the mountain to the wonderful house were this bonsai weekend was held. If you look closely you can see that even the little kids had joined in making it!

                 Above: Having a talk with Xenie, will enjoying a cup of Coffey.

              Above: Rune trying to figure out how to build the drawing board.

Above: This Pinus sylvestris Yamadori was the first demo tree of that morning.

             Above: Plucking away the old needles takes up a lot of demo time!  

                                           Above: Ready to wire and style.

                        Above: The students are watching and taking notes.

Above: Bottom section is wired and now that unwanted top section needs to go!

                              Above: Rune cutting it off! Better for my teeth!

            Above: Looks already more compact and ready for it final shaping!

                                                Above: Creating the new Jin’s.

                    Above: Checking it all over again for some final touch-ups. 

Above: And the final result of this quick demo. The Jin in the curve was let on for the owner to decide if he wants it to stay on or not?!

Above: A kid on a unicycle in front of his lovely house below us on the hill.

                    Above: Second demo tree…now what to do with this one?!

Above: Wired, now getting rid of that dead stump and creating a short Jin.

                Above: A quick drawing to explain my plans for this little Pine.

Above: sadly there is no picture of the finished pre-Bonsai, but it looked pretty close to my drawing!

Above: The third one is another Pine that I only discuss and prepare for wiring and styling by it’s owner!

Above: Many branches were removed, leaving only the ones that were necessary for the future design.

           Above: Ready to be wired and turned into a cascading Pre-Bonsai.

Above: Another promising Bonsai is discussed and styling options are looked at!


Above: I was asked by the owner of this large Pinus sylvestris to bent the thick top section back towards the base of the tree to make it more compact! I applied in water soaked raffia and heavy copper wire to protect it from breaking.

Above: With several thick copper wires and a tightening device the branch is slowly brought in to it’s desired position!

Above: The top is almost enough above that cascading branch that is very important in the future design! The tree needs to be tilted considerably to the left to create movement into in the whole composition and to make the long trunk less monotone and straight looking! By doing this the top will be almost right above the trunk and the hanging branch will finish it all nicely making it a elegant Literati…but that is work for it’s owner, my work is don. 😉

The second day (Sunday), was a workshop day.



Above picture: Just before he collapsed, Rune was proudly showing his beautiful and BIG “Ligustrum ovalifolium” from England.

                           Above: What an idyllic place to live and do Bonsai!

                                        Above: Rune concentrated at work.

Above: Nils Arne Haagensen is, after having to work hard to organize this fun weekend in his stunning garden, enjoying himself, will working on his Yamadori Pinus. 

It was so inspiring for me,  to be able to work under need these magnificent Pines in Nils garden.

More pictures soon.


Hans van Meer.





Hi, everybody,

27 July 2008

Above picture: The last major work that was done on this old Pine dates back to its first styling in *2004! All this time up to now, the tree was pampered to encourage back budding as close as possible to the trunk line. Well, as you can see, I got more than enough new foliage and buds to give the tree it second major styling in late fall this year! But there were some major decisions to be made right now as well!

In the first styling, 2 back branches were used to build up the lower left front section, so I could visualise and check my vision of the future bonsai. But now, because of all this incredible growth, I have so much more better-placed branches and foliage to replace them with, that they have become unnecessary. In the above picture, where I raise this frond branch, you can see just how much beautiful deadwood was hidden from view!

Above picture: Left side view of the tree, you can see just how much deadwood is blocked from view.

Above picture: Lifting up the heavier frond branch makes a big improvement. You can see the other branch that has to go, on the left of my fingertips.

Above picture: Here you can see the second branch better. It is blocking out all the empty backspace, that you need to see from the front side.

Above picture: Here you can clearly see the difference it makes when I lift it up!


Above picture: This is the thick branch I need to remove first. Under need it, you can see the second one that needs to go.

                            Above picture: Judging were to cut that branch.

Above right: Heavy cutters were used to cut off that branch in one go.

                                Above picture: So, the first one is removed!

                            Above picture: Looks better already from the front.

Above picture: You can see clearly here, that when we now stand in front of the tree, there is almost a clear pathway under need the foliage, for the eye to wander off into the distance.

Above two pictures: Yes, that branch definitely has to go to!

                             Above two pictures: Right and backside view.

                                                 Above picture: Backside view.

Above picture: The yellow dots show how long this branch really is. Because of the constant cutting back into new growth and pinching back that I did in the seasons after it’s first styling, the 3 small branches, just above the red line, have grown enough to now be used as the new branch tips of the future first branch.

                           Above picture: Close up of those 3 small branches.

Above picture: The branch is cut leaving a small stump so that there is enough room for it to dry back naturally, without harming those all important small branches.


                       Above picture: The wounds are sealed with cut paste.

                                  Above pictures show the removed branches.

Above pictures show, that by just removing those two branches the beautiful deadwood is more open. The open space that now is created, provides the necessary see trough, that creates dept and open space under need this future first branch.

Above picture: With the help of 2 wooden blocks, some branches were lifted, so that light and air can better reach the inner buds and smaller branches that I need for my second styling.

Above picture: These blocks created new height in the foliage and a new image!

Below picture: So that triggered me, to make a quick drawing of a possible design. Having done this, I realise that the foliage is too high in this new idea and that the tree image should be more compact. So this drawing helped me to decide to stick to the original plan I made when I started to style this tree.

Now the tree is left alone until I will start the second styling in early Winter. I can hardly wait for that time to arrive!


Hans van Meer.




22 Juli.

Hi, everybody,

although it is not much of a summer right now here in Holland, it has been raining for weeks on end, this is usually a slow period in bonsai. But still, important tasks have to be done regularly, like checking all your trees, to make sure that the wire is not digging into the bark. My Larch “THE ELEPHANT” has been wired in late winter, but has grown really a lot, so the wire was starting to cut in, especially in the fast-growing top section. Some off the ticker wire that was holding the top up in place, was already cut off a month ago, that’s why it looks a bit collapsed in this picture. Yesterday my student/friend Ed came over to help me lift this monster to a place where I can remove all the wire more easily! Today it is lovely weather so I don’t mind doing that at all. I shot this picture 2 days ago and I hope you like the progress of “THE ELEPHANT” so fare? I am off to cut some wires now!


Hans van Meer.




Hi, everybody,

 Here is a close up of the natural deadwood on my Dutch Yamadori Hawthorn that I shot on 20 Juli. Dutch Hawthorn Yamadori Bonsai are rare and even rarer are Dutch Hawthorn Bonsai with natural deadwood! Our circumstances are just not suitable for creating deadwood! This is probably one of the few ones with deadwood that is collected below sea level…making it even more unique! 😉




Hi, everybody,

on 7 and 8 June, the annual meeting of the Danish Bonsai Association was held in Aalborg, in Northern Jutland (Denmark). I was invited to do a demonstration on the Saturday and a workshop on Sunday. After just a short flight, I arrived early in the afternoon on the Friday before the event, in Copenhagen airport. I was picked up by my Bonsai friend Klaus Buddig and together we started the  5 hour trip to the North of Denmark. Which included a 45-minute catamaran ferry crossing to Jutland. This boat trip was anticipated by me with some horror because I get seasick even writing about it! But I have to admit it was a lot of fun to race across the water on this bed out of hell! And I have to be honest: there is not much that 2 cold beer cant fix!

Above picture: me on the back of this large speedboat (the things I have to go through for this hobby).

                 Above picture: Klaus Buddig relaxing on the back of the boat.

Above picture: Those mighty twin turbines, created a water spray over 30 meters long, leaving a foam trail that can be seen from an aeroplane!

After a long but pleasant drive, during which, many bonsai talks was spoken, we arrived in Aalborg, one of the main cities in Northern Jutland.  The TOMTOM brought us safely to the “Huset” (which means  “The House” ) where this event would take place. My dear friend Morten Albek showed use were to park behind the large old building and after we sad our Halloo’s, he let us through a big old gate into a big courtyard like square, that was completely surrounded by this beautiful ocker coloured square shaped building. We arrived right around dinner time and the smell of the barbecue that was going on made my mouth water, but first a beer! There was a large stage were musicians were setting up their instruments for the show that would start in a few hours and in front of that stage, scattered around the square, local people were having a nice dinner, sitting under old Linden trees, that were planted in a circle (like a doughnut). These stunning trees provided some picturesque shades in the setting sunlight and having your dinner under need them observing the atmosphere of the place while listening to some light Jazz and Blues was a real treat for me! It proved to be a great start to a great weekend.

    The “Huset” picturesque inner courtyard seen from above. I shoot this picture from a second-floor window where the Shohin exhibition was staged.

Above: picture: The local folks enjoying a lovely dinner, while waiting for the band to start playing.

                    Above picture: How nice it that on a warm summers night?!

Above: Both pictures above where shoot by me from the Aalborg camping were we stayed, not a bad place either!

After the dinner and some light refreshments, we only had to drive a couple of minutes to reach the  “Aalborg Camping”  where we all would stay during this weekend. After we enjoyed some more refreshments while sitting outside in the still setting sun, we all went to bed very tired. Next day, it was early out of bed to enjoy a lovely breakfast and then it was off to the “Huset” to start the show!

Above picture: Just before the doors for the public were opened, Ljunberg a very lovely and talented new potter preparing here first ever display area.

Above picture: An equally lovely friend dressed in a traditional local dress who helped here during the weekend.

Above picture: This is the tent where the new talent competition was held. It was next to the tent where I was giving mine demonstrating, so every now and then I could catch a glimpse of all those eager, enthusiastic and nervous bonsai lovers at work. This made me smile and it worked very inspiringly for me.  

The new talent contest winner was a very new talent, Julie Isager from Keyaki Bonsai Club in Copenhagen. Julie is 26 years old and started to practice bonsai only six months ago. She is a student of my friend Klaus Buddig. The second place was taken by Finn Christensen from the bonsai club Kita in Aalborg. (No third places was chosen, only first  and second).

* Above picture: Here I am posing with Klaus Buddig in front of his Yamadori Pinus Sylvestris he so kindly entrusted to me to demonstrate on. In the middle, you can see the design I made for this future Bonsai.

                          Above picture: The design I made for this old pine.

              Above picture: Explaining my plans for this tree to the audience.


*Picture above: I like demonstrations, like this one, where the audience can walk right up to me and ask me questions and see hands on what I am doing. You can see here than the cascading branch is all ready brought down the trunk. The future top section is here still reaching for the sky.

                                *Above picture: Concentrated and hot at work.

*Above picture: It is always nice to have an extra pair of hands! Erling Klysner did a great job helping me wiring the top and bending it into place. So we could all go to dinner in time!

                                  *Above picture: Working on the future top.

*Right picture: The finished pre-bonsai for now. The cascading branch needs a sharper bend to the right, just where it appears from behind the main trunk! But because this is it first styling and the branch had come such a long way from where it was originally before all the works started, that this will be don in the future, when the tree is fully recovered from all this stress! The tree’s health should always come first, even in demonstrations!

                               * Above picture: And then there was Coffey!

On Saturday I had the hard task of judging the bonsai on display in the show. And during the dinner, I was invited on stage to present the award and give some comments to all the winners. I myself was honoured with some lovely words and a bottle of some of the best Cognac I ever sipped (half empty already)!  They all sure made me feel very much at home here, really special people indeed!  

Above picture: During a break in the gala dinner on Saturday night,  a proud Morten Albek received the first prize award for the best Shohin composition in the exhibition.

Winner of the best bonsai in the exhibition was won by Martin Nielsen with a beautiful Juniperus Chinensis.

Below: I had a couple of hours to kill Before the Sunday workshops would begin. So Lona Rasmussen asked me if I would style one off here  Yamadori Pinus Sylvestris, she brought along for her own first demo, that she would give that afternoon.  So while everybody was busy for a few hours at the annual club meeting on the other side of the venue, I had some nice quiet bonsai time on my own, while working on her little tree in the morning sun with some coffee.

                        Below: Lone’s Pinus Sylvestris before work began. 

                                            Below: Wired and ready to style.

                               Below: The finished sweat little Literati Pine.

                       Below: Me and happy Lona Rasmussen with here Pine.

               *Picture above: The tent where the Sunday workshop was held.

*Above picture: Here I am working together with Julie Isager on here Yew, she is the winner of the new talent competition. I am sure she has a bright Bonsai future ahead of her!

           *Above picture: Aase Wiberg working on here big garden Juniper.

                               *Above picture: Helping with some final wiring.

 Above picture: Peter Landerloos working concentrated on his Yamadori Pine.

*Above 2 pictures: During this Sunday workshop,  Klaus Buddig enjoyed himself very much working on the deadwood of his Pine, that I had worked on during my Saturday demo! And I liked to add: he did a really beautiful job!

Then before we all knew it, it was time to say our goodbyes already! I had a great time and made a lot of new friends and was thrilled to spend this long weekend with some old friends! I am sure that this was not the last time I visit beautiful Denmark to do bonsai! Infect: I have already been asked by Morten to do a show he is staging next year!

 After the 5 hours long trip to Klaus his great house, I had a good night rest in his famous Bonsai guest room, where many well-known artists have spent the night before me! On Monday we had a wonderfully relaxed day in his garden, enjoying the Sun and each others company, just a brilliant day to finish my wonderful visit to Denmark!

Above picture: For our dinner, Klaus took me to a posh and very exclusive sailboat club in Copenhagen. The view there, overlooking the Sea was really stunning, and the food and cold beer were not too bad either!

Above picture: A beautiful Acer buergerianum raft in Klaus his garden.

Above picture: In Klaus his large garden,  I  had a great time playing with young  “Sheva”  a rare Bergen Pichard lady dog….YO SHEVA behave !! I said LADY DOG!!!

                         Above picture: That’s much better! Isn’t she pretty!

Then it was off to the airport to fly home, another wonderful Bonsai memory came to an end, up to the next one!

Here are the links to the site of the Danish Bonsai association where you can see more pictures of this unique event, my demo and workshop.

*Pictures with a star by Morten Albek.


Hans van Meer.