THE DARK SIDE OF BONSAI.

Hi everybody,

this is a sad post concerning a darker side of our great Bonsai hobby, namely the death of one of our beloved and cherished little trees. And when it one time unavoidably happens it makes me, even more, realize that I am working and dealing with living beings that totally depend on me to stay healthy and alive…after all, Bonsai don’t commit suicide! They get sick or even die for a reason and they need us to help them when necessary! But sometimes as in this sad case, I just can’t figure out what happened or went wrong with this precious little Yamadori Japanese black Pine cascade Bonsai of mine?! It has been under my care for almost 25 years and was one of my most precious little Bonsai in my collection! Not only was it rare and beautiful, it was also an (especial for these early day’s) unique and very expensive birthday present from my beloved mother in law and that makes it even more painful! I can only guess what might have gone wrong to make it die so fast in such a short period of time?! So there is not even a lesson learned from it?! Yes, maybe one thing…and that is the realisation that Bonsai are very precious to me and mean much more than just a little tree in a pot! And that it is, although in this case painful, also a very enriching feeling and that makes it even more special than it already was to me!!!

Like I sad just a few weeks ago to my dear friend Tomaz in Slovenia:

                                                  “Little trees cause big things!”

 

Cheers,

Hans van Meer.

Info: karamottobonsai@hotmail.com

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DEADWOOD AND WIRING WORK ON MY OLD YAMADORI PRUNUS MAHALEB FROM SLOVENIA.

Hi, everybody,

two weeks ago we had some record-breakingly warm weather so it was a great opportunity to do some wiring and deadwood work on one of my favourite Prunus Mahaleb Yamadori’s from Slovenia. This pre-Bonsai is full of naturally burned and sun-bleached deadwood and I want to recreate that in the Jin and Shari where I am going to work on. Almost all of the branches of this tree are newly grown by me and need more fine branching and ageing, but I am not in a hurry! I was a bit laid with wiring it almost completely and had to take great care not to break off any of the new growth that was emerging fast because of the sudden warm weather of the last few days! We went from frost in the night to almost 30 degrees during the daytime in one week time…really crazy weather!!! After I finished the wiring and styling it, for now, I started to work on the front Jin and Shari with a power tool. The main focus was on reducing the Jin and Shari because there is a reverse taper and bulging section on it that needs to be reduced and shaped as natural as possible so that it will fit in with the rest of all the natural deadwood on the tree!

Below: The Prunus Mahaleb after I just finished the wiring. Height 67 cm. I kept it as natural looking as possible and preserved the second small trunk on the left bottom side of my design! I allowed it to grow freely to create a for now still young looking small secondary tree to accompany the larger tree on the right! I guess you could call it a Mother and child design?!

Below; the red arrow points at the deadwood part that is thicker than the section below it. The Jin is to thick and the section below it is somewhat bulging and forms a reverse taper!

Below: Taking my time and enjoying it while I am tacking away excess wood and shaping at the same time. I love this faster creating and result part of doing Bonsai!

Below: The result is that the Jin is less bulky now and looks like the remainings of a large branch/trunk that has been torn off by a storm that created a long wound that runs down through the bark below it. In that way, the reverse taper or bulge is less obvious! Now the fresh deadwood needs to be scorched with a small burner to mimic the crackly image of the originally burned deadwood on this tree.

Below: after carefully burning the fresh deadwood it looks just like the original deadwood of this tree. I will not brush it to preserve the cracks that look just like the ones on the natural deadwood on the right side of it! There is a forecast of rain for the next couple of days so I will bleach it with diluted Lime sulfur to mimic the original lightly bleached deadwood! I will post pictures of it later.

Hope you enjoyed this little story?!

Cheers,

Hans van Meer.

Info: karamottobonsai@hotmail.com

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Breathtakingly spectacular Sierra junipers post by JONAS DUPUICH (US) on his amazing BONSAI TONIGHT website!

Hi everybody,

HERE is again a link to a post by Jonas Dupuich on his great educational BONSAI TONIGHT website!!! This time it is a link to his post about his trip to the Sierra Nevada desert where he made some of the most breathtaking pictures of some of the most beautiful trees in existence!!! I discovered this post in the middle of the night and I was literally blown away for a while and moved emotionally by what he had captured so well in his pictures!!! These ancient trees full of unbelievable deadwood are so humbling and exemplary to what we want to create in our Bonsai!!! So I had to reblog the link here so that everybody could enjoy them! I hope you all are impressed by them as I am…I can’t stop looking at them and shake my head in amazement!!! And there are much more articles and pictures to find on his amazing blog so do go and have a long look!!!

Bellow: Jonas Dupuich the author and photographer of the article on one of the mind-boggling Sierra junipers in his amazing article that you must see on his BONSAI TONIGHT website and blog!!!

Juniper

Cheers, 

Hans van Meer.

Info: karamottobonsai@hotmail.com

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SAWING ONE SABINA YAMADORI IN HALF TO CREATE TWO SEPERATE PRE-BONSAI!

Hi everybody,

this is the story about the repotting of one Yamadori Sabina that will end up with two?! I bought this nice mid-sized Yamadori a year ago and let it untouched all this time to make sure that it was enough settled and strong enough to repot safely. I acquired it because of its stunning movement with a lot of deadwood and because there was (maybe) the possibility to separate it into two beautiful small trees! Buth early this year I started to see a decline in this little tree health and I decided that I would take it out of its plastic container because I wanted to see what caused this?! And now looking back, I am glad that I did because it was planted after collecting in some sort of very compact sticky muddy soil with not much-draining capability?! So with a lot of frightened anticipation, I took it out of its container to find what I was afraid of…poor soil! So even though it was not in a good condition I had to act before the tree would suffer even more, so I decided to free it from all this bad soil and plant it in a proper Bonsai soil mixture in which it could recuperate to become healthy and happy again!

Below: the two trunks Sabina Yamadori.

Below: close up of two separate trunks. One all twisted and turned with a long twisted Jin and the other one slanting more straight and gently twisting with a foliage crown at the end.

Below: viewed from another angle.

Below: released from its plastic container.

Below: Carefully and anxiously combing out the roots hoping for plenty healthy roots and for roots on both trunks so that they could be separated from each other without any danger or problems?!

Below: looks promising with plenty roots!

Below: look at all those roots on the left and the right trunk…but is it enough so that the two trunks can be separated?!

Below: red arrow points to roots growing from the curly trunk. Green arrow points at a thick root that grows to the right from the curly trunk. Blue arrow points to roots that grow from this thick root…so there are more than enough roots to keep the curly trunk alive and healthy when it could be separated from the second straight trunk! The white arrows point at the root mass that grows from that second straight trunk! The yellow line in the middle of the picture shows the spot where the two trunks could be separated from each other!

Below: seen from the other side. Red arrow point at the roots that grow from the end of that thick root that grows from the curly trunk. The yellow line shows the spot where the two trunks will be separated.

Below: the cut will be made from this side right across that yellow line.

Below: carefully cutting with the help of a power saw.

Below: mission accomplished! The two trunks are separated successfully! The straight trunk on the left has more than enough roots. And the right side curly trunks roots are spread out on the plastic green surface and look more than enough…so I am relieved and very happy! Now I have to keep the exposed roots moist of one of them while I plant the other into its new home away from his brother or sister?!

Below: this repotting and separation even reviled an more than welcome unexpected wide rootbase on the curly tree!!! Making it even better than it already was!!! And this provided a better anchor point to secure it to the pot with wires!

Below: with the help of a chopstick the soil mixture containing Akadama, Kiryu and Bims is pushed in between all the roots, making sure that now are pockets are left!

Below: then the tree is watered thoroughly until the water that runs out of the pot is clear of any dust!

Below: next the straight trunk is prepared to go in its new home. Here a long thick death root is cut off so that it will fit easier in its pot.

Below: the tree placed on the bottom layer of large particles soil for extra drainage. Just look at all those roots that fill almost the whole pot!

Below: two wooden blocks are placed under the right side to support the tree into its new desired position and then it is firmly anchored to the pot with thick wires.

Below: carefully bringing in the soil.

Below: then watering it like before. In the next couple of weeks, the trees will be kept in a warm spot with filtered sunlight and their foliage will be misted a couple of times a day to help them safely through this period

Below: separated but still together they stand here at their start as two future Bonsai.

I hope you enjoyed this little story of one Sabina Yamadori that became two pre-Bonsai with hopefully a bright future ahead of them?!

Cheers,

Hans van Meer.

Info: karamottobonsai@hotmail.com.

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PICTURES AND A VIDEO OF MY WORKSHOP AT THE “TORA” INTERNATIONAL BONSAI SCHOOL IN BEAUTIFUL SLOVENIA.

Hi everybody,

just one day back from my visit to and my Friday workshop in beautiful Slovenia! My dear friend and kind host TOMAŽ KOVŠCA from the “TORA” International Bonsai School in Slovenia took me on an amazing two days sightseeing tour around Slovenia that left me even more in love with this breathtaking country and its super friendly people! Like I told him many times during that trip: I could happily live here and grow old with a smile on my face! Images and the story from that part of my visit to this wonderful place will follow soon! On Friday afternoon and evening there was a workshop planned in his great Bonsai studio that I would lead with the help of  Tomaz himself and his talented student Gasper Gabrijel. Relaxing after our sightseeing trip before it all would start we were waiting in the sun enjoying a Turkish coffee and home-brewed vodka with Juniper berries in it that you could chew…it was absolutely heavenly and boy did it hit the spot! And the view of  Tomaz beautiful Bonsai collection that surrounded us was not half bad either! Here are some images of his amazing collection that were shot (with a not so good old camera) by me before the students arrived.

Below: A view of just a section of  Tomaz his beautiful collection.

Below: A wonderful self-collected and styled Spruce.

Below: One of his many amazing Sylvestris.

Below: A very stylish Juniper.

Below: A local Prunus mahaleb Yamadori.

Below: And another stunning Sylvestris Yamadori.

Below: And this is the one that I fell in love with a very promising Mugo Yamadori!!!


Below: In his studio, this beautiful self-build Tokonoma with a uniquely styled garden material Juniper Bonsai was welcoming me and the students.

Below: Before the actual work on the brought in trees started I discussed them all with the owners in front of all the students. So that everybody could learn from each and every tree! This is a very valuable part of the workshop for the student and very excited for me to do! This Juniperus sabina Yamadori was after I discussed the possibilities styled by two Croatian students with the help of Tomaz himself and the end result is pretty impressive and promising indeed!

Below: Tomaz and his student Gasper Gabrijel working on the final touches.

Below: The beautiful end result of this first styling.

Below: A Yamadori Hawthorn before the work started.

Below: Almost finish after some drinks and lovely finger food!

Below: And the end result a Literati deciduous Bonsai.

Below: A local Yamadori Spruce with a unique but difficult root base.

Below: And the end result, a young but already elegant and natural looking pre-Bonsai.

Below: Some were so into the work that they resisted the late night cold before coming in!

Below: Later that evening inside with that same tree, the owner is concentrated looking on while I make some adjustments and bring some of the branches in position.

Below: My old friend Roland Petek brought in two mindblowing Mugo Yamadori Pines with him! This one has amazing deadwood all along this side, but still, we selected to style it with the other side as its front. This side would always look like a Tanuki and that is not what you want for your Bonsai…especially a Mother like this one!!!

Below: Roland concentrated applying a layer of raffia and then a layer of black plastic tape to protect the thick and old branches from cracking. And this is much-needed because we have to bend and reposition them severely!

Below: And this is the very promising end result after its first styling. From this side, there is still more than enough deadwood to be seen, but now it is accompanied all along the trunk by the beautifully contrasting old flaky bark! The left side hanging branch pushes the sloping tree back upwards and gives the whole composition an exciting balancing act. The foliage is basically a triangle that cuts through the upwards going lines of the trunk, leading the eyes to the left and back again on there way to the top of the tree and then down again! So this Bonsai has it all: balance, rhythm, movement, visual old age, a wide Nebari, Jin, Shari, life veins, and a very proud owner! Weldone Roland and thanks for trusting me!

Below: From another student came yet another beautiful Yamadori pine! And again with some problems to solve and big decisions to make! But I had no problems convincing the owner and the rest of the students how to proceed to solve them and to bring the best out of this, once again, beautiful and exciting Yamadori. The long downward Jin needed to go because it distracted the beauty of the abrupt movement of the trunk line in the top section! This was mostly caused because it protrudes from the inside of the curve in the trunk its top section and like with branches that grow from the inside of a curve in a trunk they almost always look misplaced and disturbing! Also two Jins on the lower section of the trunk needed to be reduced because they were distracting and other Jins and the Shari needed to be styled! Then the top main branch was protected by a layer of raffia and wired before everything could be put into place and that sounds easier than it actually was because the top section needed a lot of heavy bending!

Below: And here is the (for now) finished pre-Bonsai. I am discussing here at the end of the workshop what the happy student with some help from me has reached…and that is simply amazing! Because I really do think that this is a very exciting and promising result! And I do believe that in just 3 or 4 years time this will be an amazing Bonsai!

The above-shown trees are just a small selection of the 10 or 11 that were worked on and styled that day and more images can be seen in a very nice video that Tomaz made of it all and has posted on YouTube (link below)!

 I would like to thank Tomaz and his lovely wife for taking so good care of me and for trusting me to do this workshop in his Bonsai School! And I would like to especially thank all his students for trusting me with their precious trees!

I can hardly wait to go back in May to Slovenia to do my workshop and demo at the  

 

I will be posting soon pictures that I made during my trip with Tomaz through stunning Slovenia…so I hope to see you back here soon!

Cheers,

Hans van Meer.

Info: karamottobonsai@hotmail.com

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4 MARCH IN MY GARDEN AND A SENSORY TEMPERATURE OF MINUS 20?!

Hi everybody,

last week we had record breaking low temperatures here in Holland and young and old grabbed this unique chance and went ice skating where and whenever they could! Typical Dutch fun…no wonder we won most of the ice speed skating medals at the Olympics!!! This was pretty precarious because I already had repotted several of my Bonsai the week before all this arctic weather started. The below pictures were made on the 4th of March.

 

I hope you enjoyed these unexpected Winter images?!

Cheers,

Hans van Meer.

Info: karamottobonsai@hotmail.com

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TONY TICKLE AND TERRY FOSTER VISITING MY GARDEN AFTER THE NOELANDERS TROPHY.

Hi everybody,

the Monday after this year Noelanders Trophy weekend my old and dear friends Tony Tickle and Terry Foster visited my garden before they would get on the boot from Europoort to England. This visit from Tony has become a real annual tradition this last decade or so and it is always something that we all look forward to. But this time was even more special because this time I had a special present waiting for Tony to thank him for all that he has done for me in the past. It was the now well-established air layer that I took 2 years ago from my big old Prunus mahaleb Yamadori. It has wonderful deadwood running all along its trunk and I am sure that Tony will make a stunning Bonsai out of it! It made me feel good to return the pleasure this time and I wish them both a happy future!

Below: Me and Tony and his Prunus mahaleb.

Cheers,

Hans van Meer.

Info: karamottobonsai@hotmail.com

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JUST POSTED MY SHORT VIDEO ABOUT ME ENTERING MY ILEX VERTICILLATA INTO THE 2018 EDITION OF THE PRESTIGIOUS NOELANDERS TROPHY!

Hi everybody,

just to let you all know that I just posted the short video that I made of me bringing in my Ilex verticillata into the XIX 2018 edition of the prestigious Noelanders edition! In it, you can see how my Bonsai is photographed for the commemorative book and how I build up my composition in the almost still completely empty enormous exposition hall on the Thursday before the show…to go short: things you don’t often see about a big Bonsai show like this is! So have a look and forgive me the not so good quality of the film…the lighting was still very poor then and I was very tired! But I still hope you like it?!

Cheers,

Hans van Meer.

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MY VIDEO OF KUNIO KOBAYASHI HIS DEMO AT TEUNIS JAN KLEIN “DESHIMA” BONSAI STUDIO IS ONLINE!!!

Hi everybody,

just to let you all know that I just posted the video that I made at Teunis Jan Klein “DESHIMA” Bonsai Studio (NL) of the amazing demo from Bonsai Master Kunio Kobayashi-san !!! He transforms a big field grown Pinus thunbergii from China into a wonderful Bonsai! You just got to see it too believe it, just how fast this almost 70 years old Master works with most of the time 3 scissors in one hand?! And still finds time to explain everything and to constantly cracking jokes! The quality of the sound and film is sometimes a little bit of…but I still hope you will enjoy this amazing master and the amazing transformation?!

Cheers,

Hans van Meer.


VIDEO OF MY SMALL GARDEN MADE BY MY DEAR FRIEND TONY TICKLE (UK).

Hi everybody,

my dear old Bonsai friends Tony Tickle and Terry Foster (UK) came last Monday straight from the Noelanders Trophy to visit my house, garden and for some light refreshments and a dinner and a lot of small and of course Bonsai talk! And although it was really freezing that day we still spend a lot of time looking at and discusing my Bonsai. Especially Terry was really interested in the (in his words) amazing ramification on my Yamadori Hawthorn named “LITTLE TONY”! And while we both were discussing it Tony was making a short impression video of some of my trees in the garden. It turned out nicely so I would like to share the link with you all so that you can get some sort of idea about my work and my tinny Bonsai garden. 🙂 I hope you enjoy it?!

Cheers,

Hans van Meer.

Info: karamottobonsai@hotmail.com

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