Hi, everybody,

two weeks ago we had some record-breaking 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. 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’s 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 naturally 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 too thick and the section below it is somewhat bulging and forms a reverse taper!

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

Below: The result is that the Jin is less bulky now and looks like the remains 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?!


Hans van Meer.



Restyling a small saved Pinus sylvestris Yamadori.

Hi everybody,

today after weeks of cold weather and biblical rain, we finally had a sunny day! So I graphed my chance to finally do some restyling. The small Pinus sylvestris of this post was during my 2005 vacation in Austria saved from a bulldozer! They were demolishing a large pine forest on the long road to the village where we stayed for the second year running to build a petrol station and trailer parking lots 😦  Underneed this tall and very dense pine forest in the lush vegetation grew tiny but old Pines. They stayed this small because of the lack of sunlight and were the perfect material for Bonsai! We knew this because we made long walks true this part of the forest the year before! So I asked the driver of the bulldozer in my best German if I could collect some of these poor little trees before the lumberjacks would chop down the tall Pines and the bulldozer flattened the small ones! He understood my prayer and said that it was alright as long as we stayed well away from where they were working! So we parked the car some hundred meters in front of that war zone and grabbed our collecting stuff from underneath the holiday luggage en started to surge for worthwhile trees that could be dug up with a reasonable chance to survive. We managed to save 6 or 7 before the machines came too close to being safe! The problem was then that we were there for a week plus an extra day for the travel back home and all this time these poor trees had to survive in plastic bags filled with wet sphagnum moss….this meant that after all only 4 survived that ordeal! This one was one of the lucky ones because I could simply scoop it off from a large boulder, so it had very flat and compact roots and survived without any problems! And now 12 years later it is the star of this little story.

Below: before removing the third-year-old needles. 36cm/14.4Inch. The new top section grew straight to the right and was bent back years ago with the help of in-water-sooked raffia and thick copper wire! Now after several growing seasons, the top section has filled out enough to form a nice top out off!

Below: After the old needles were removed. Now it is time to wire all the branches.

Below: The left branch is wired and more or less bent in position with all needle bundles facing upwards.

Below: the right cascading branch placed more or less in position.

Below: Left part of the top is more or less in position. The new top is raised upward considerably with two 3mm wires!

Below: slowly getting there…I love to solve these natural puzzles with a nice design!

Below: Finished for now! I am happy with this result for now. In a few years’ time when the cascading branch has filled out some more, it will most likely be shortened and made less heavy…but that will be up to its new owner because it is up for sale and probably will go to a good home off one of my students?!

Below: close-up of the nice root base, lovely old bark and natural (still brown-coloured) Shari.

Below: close-up of the nice old and cracked bark.

I hope you enjoyed this little story about the life of a saved little big Bonsai?!


Hans van Meer.



Still here!

Hi, everybody,

again….it’s been a while since I could get myself to sit down and write on my blog! I feel my blog should tell stories of joy…because most of the time, Bonsai brings nothing but joy! But I have been poor for a long time now, with a lot of ups and downs, so the short periods of being able to work were mostly used to maintain my Bonsai as good as possible at that time! Mind you though, my head and heart were always filled with Bonsai….but actually doing it was the hard part! Strange how those things can go in life?! It is like being Hugh Hefner… at his age… in the PlayBoy mansion… without any blue pills! I love it…but I don’t work well anymore! 😉 But I did do things (see picture above) and when I did, it was like discovering Bonsai all over again!! Simply because I still love it and creating and seeing those small trees grow into my vision is still priceless!!! I miss the travelling and my Bonsai friends though..! And I am planning and working hard towards catching up on all those things next year!!! 

One of the trees that is coming along nicely is the one below!  It is a Winter image picture I made last week of my (Still a bit too young looking)  Ilex verticillata (winterberry.) This is an Urban Yamadori from Holland and some 60 years old by now. It is saved from the blender when a 55-year-old train station was demolished and all old trees and shrubs were destroyed! It’s a Kabudachi (multiple 5 trunks) and the height is 57cm. It is here photoshopped into its future (next year?) beautiful Isabella pot, that I so luckily bought last month at my long-awaited first visit to my dear friends Danny and Ingrid from Bonsai centre “GINKGO” (B) in 10 years! And it is in training since 2009. It needs a few more years of fine ramifications to fill it more out and then it will be ready to show! The slab is found years ago at a car boot sale and needs to be made thinner and more presentable by me in the future! I hope you like this little forest as much as I do?!

I am still working on improving this new blog design, so bear with me, please!! I will be posting more soon! And I am working as best as I can on my new website as well…so lots of stuff happening ….and that is just fine!!!


Hans van Meer.