The styling of my new Shohin Yew, “Little Terry”!

Hi, everybody,
a few weeks ago, when I was in the UK to do another “BURRS” weekend, I stayed as a guest in the warm home of my dear friends Charlot and Terry Foster. Every year they spoil me half to death when I visit them and this year I even was surprised with a real Halloween party (my first), with great food and light refreshments!¬†ūüôā¬†¬†All too soon this weekend with my talented friend ended and I probably won’t see him until next year, for the next “BURRS” event. But he took care of that problem as well for me! The last morning, during a wonderful breakfast, he surprised me completely again! He gave me this lovely little Yamadori “Yew”, he collected himself 6 years ago. He said, here is something to remind you, of this fun time we spent together. Once again this modest man had struck a nerve in me and I just had not enough words to take him for his wonderful gift! You got to love him!
I am¬†because of my back problems, still not being able to do much work at once, so I decided to¬†work on¬†this little gem. Trying to honour Terry’s design, but with a little twist of the Hans. ūüôā

I removed unnecessary foliage and some branches that did back, then wired every branch, which, because of the dense foliage,¬†was not so easy as it sounds. I had to be extra careful with those big hands of mine. I put all the branches into there desired place. I cleaned the deadwood and live bark with a toothbrush and some water then applied lime sulphur to protect and whiten the deadwood. Took these picture for my weblog and of course, I named this Shohin: “LITTLE TERRY”!!!
Thanks, Terry!!!!

                                        Above picture: Before the work began.

Above picture: Here you can see how small she actually is.


                                        Above picture: Left side of the tree.

                                        Above picture: Back side of the tree.

                                   Right picture: Right side of the tree.

Above Picture: A branch has died back, so the live bark will shift more to the right in the future, but this is something the tree will do by itself!


                       Above picture: Close up of the deadwood.

¬†¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†“LITTLE TERRY”


Hope you like it?

Hans van Meer.






Hi, everybody,

My back is a little bit better today, but I am still not able to work on any tree for a while. So I decided to take some close up pictures of the beautiful deadwood on my Pinus uncinata.

I can look at it over and over again and get totally lost in the beautiful random patterns and the 50 shades of grey on this wooden history book of this very old tree! This is just the thing I like to see in a yamadori, the wonderful beauty of nature! This wonderful main¬†focal point of this tree should only¬†be enhanced by the artist, to bring out the best of both into one Bonsai. ūüôā


Hans this I dedicate to your tree.

This is from my heart what I saw in your tree.

It is yours now forever and ever.


¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ” The Whisper of the Wee Tree”

Come closer my friend and hear me speak

My old and gnarled bark is just the outside of me

Many tales can be told of how old I really am

But the life of me runs strong and deep

The battle from seed to what you see

tells the world the story of me.*

Thanks, Mom!


Hope you like them?


Hans van Meer.

*copyright is freely given to Hans Van Meer November 15th, 2008 by Irene I Britton





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:

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! ūüôā¬†¬†

                                 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! ūüôā

                                          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! ūüôā

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.










¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†“And above us only sky”

*more to come!

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! ūüėČ




Hi, everybody,

this Larch lost a lot of its branches during an unusually long period of extremely hot weather in early Summer 2 seasons ago. So last year I repotted it in a (to) large pot, so it could regain its strength and it did. I left the dead branches on the tree because they actually tell the story that I was meaning to show in this creation from the start. An image of an old tree high on the mountain, bettered by strong winds, snow and dry head during the short summers. Almost falling into the debts below it, but still clinging on to the rock’s, not willing to give in!

I hope you like it,








 Hi, everybody

here at “SHADY SIDE BONSAI” in Glen Roch Pennsylvania starts the third stop of my demo and workshop tour around the USA.¬†



Saturday, May 10.

Day 1:

Below: Early in the morning and the first students for the demo and workshop arrive. Tom’s “SHADY SIDE BONSAI” is so big that he (on the left) and Rich (on the right) had to load Rich his BIG Yew onto the back of a small tractor to bring it up the hill, to his outdoor working area.

Below: Here I am checking out the possibilities for this lovely but difficult two trunk Yew Tom provided me with for my morning demo. 

                                   Below: Looking how and where to start.

Below: Although the weather was letting us down a bid, people were still waiting with anticipation.

                     Below: Discussing all the possibilities with the students.

Below: First the tree was cleaned of all unwanted branches to get a better view of the frame of the tree. Then because the base of the left trunk was too thick in comparison with the right trunk, the too large pies of deadwood on the left trunk was reduced, to open up the empty space between the two trunks.

Below: After most of that excess wood was reduced and the trunks looked better in balance with its other I was able to make my design for this mother and child Yew.¬†This is the drawing of the design I came up with. I almost always make these sketches of my designs. It helps me to remember my first thought, like a blueprint, before I start to think too much about thinks! ¬† Because of the lake of time and the health of the tree that should be protected at all times, most first styling during these demo’s are a bit rough and unfinished and don’t always show clearly what the end result of the future bonsai will be in a few years. These drawings are also pretty handy to show people what your future plans are with your tree! It makes explaining why I am using certain techniques to get to a certain point a lot easier if those people have a clear view of where I am working towards!


Below: After lunch, we had a great afternoon workshop and lovely weather!

                                                  Below: Before and after.

                                                          Sunday, May 11.

                                                                 Day 2.



THE STORY OF THE “H.O.G” (or, how Richy saw the light! Used the force and fell asleep)!!!

You might ask: why is this story in a section of its own? Well because this is a story about courage, stubbornness, hesitation, and overcoming to be rewarded! In short: creating a very promising pre-bonsai!

Everybody else walked past this enormous Yew when they were collecting, simply because it was too big! But no, not Richy! Even when everybody said, don’t Rich! It is too big, too¬†heavy and too hard to collect, leave it! This only fired him up to do it anyway. I came to find out that Rich is a bit stubborn sometimes and what he lakes in height, he easily makes up with courage! So he went for it! All alone and for many hours! If you look at the next picture and compare the height of the tree to that of the shovel, ¬†you can fully understand the enormous task he had to perform to get this monster Yew out!



 The above picture is titled:   Yew in front of its new home. Or: How Richy scared the neighbours!

Richy, (with the help of a water jet stream) managed to clean off all of the hardened old soil of the massive roots! But, by doing this, he created a  bit of a mud stream, that because of the sloping street, quickly grew into an all-engulfing mudslide! Twiggels, the cat from Misses Brown, from down the street, is still missing! And even further downtown, many a toilet got clocked up for weeks!

 Saturday, day one. THE PRELUDE.

After discussing with him about how and what to do with the massive amount of deadwood on this Mother of a tree, he bravely started to freestyle with a courage you would not expect from someone who never had handled such a large power tool or created much deadwood before! Every now and then he asked for help or advice and then bravely went on with this huge task!

                                   Below: All geared up for the task ahead! 

        Below: Richy concentrated at work on the massive deadwood section                                             Below: With markers, lines were drawn on as a guideline for what Richy should remove and what not! Creating the rough shapes that later on (much later) would be refined into stunning Jin and Shari sections! 


Below: Every now and then I would jump in to refine certain arias and to give Richy a well-deserved break!

After a long day of hard work we allowed our selfs a short break for a nice dinner and then it was back to our waiting Bonsai work and fun! It was raining, storming and freezing that whole evening and the early night…but nothing could stop us…we were in the zone!!!

                                         Below: Richy wiring the branches.

Below: Me carving away and refining while Richy takes a break and looks on and learns.

   Below: Cold but concentrated at work, I love freestyle deadwood styling!!!

              Below: Then back to wiring again while I help the other students.

Below: Despite all the cold and tiredness everybody was still hard at work and enjoying the moment!

                   Below: After many hours, slowly but steadily getting there!

Below: The end result after a long day of hard work! I believe that this monster pre-Bonsai has a great future ahead of it and that Richy should be very proud of his work and his eagerness to learn and work hard! And for those who wondered about the name H.O.G for this tree? Look at the right top Jin, Richy said after I had finished it: it looks like the Hand Of God..H.O.G!!!

Below: One of mine proudest moments! Me happy, Richy happy and a whopper of a tree to boost!!! Later indoors while looking at the pictures we made with a whisky in our hand, poor Richy fell asleep…with a big smile on his face! ūüôā

Below: Next morning after a short night sleep, the H.O.G. looks even better in the daylight and we are still happy! Two new friends that shared an amazing experience together! I love Bonsai!!!!

¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†Above:¬† THE “H.O.G.” SQUAT.

                       Below: Two amazing people my host Tom and Richy.



I had a great time at “SHADY SIDE BONSAI” And would like to thank Tom and his lovely wife for there hospitality and for giving me the opportunity to work in the USA.


Hans van Meer.




More pictures can be found on this next link to “SHADY SIDE BONSAI”.




A short “Crataegus” story.


Hi, everybody,

in November 2006, my dear friend Tony Tickle invited me to come to England to do the (now famous) all weekend “BURRS” workshop. I arrived a few days before all that fun would start because Tony would take me and Morten into the beautiful “Wells” mountains for a walk and to try to find some collectable “Crataegus” yamadori. Well, I got very lucky when I discovered a small one with a lot of potential! I have no pictures of the actual collecting of the tree, but this is the view from that same place where the “Hawthorn” of this story was found and without much trouble collected by me.


She grew on a steep mountainside in soil, consisting of almost nothing else than small rocks and gravel, from which I could almost entirely collect her with nothing more than my bare hands (that looked and felt like they had been looking for a pin in a pin stack)! Never the less, she had managed to grow surprisingly good roots, with a lot of small feeder roots growing close the base of the trunk. So I could cut the to larch roots back without causing to much harm to the health of the tree. From experience, I know that next Spring the tree will react to this hard root and branch cut back, with much growth of small feeder roots, that will secure the health of the tree, during this time it is recovering from the stress caused by collecting it and potting it. As soon as the tree was lifted from the ground the bare roots were wrapped in wet sphagnum moss and then put into a plastic bin bag that was tightly wrapped with plastic tape. Early next day at the venue in “BURRS” my good friend Terry Foster helped me to plant the tree in a plastic training pot, making sure that the tree was firmly secured to the bottom with aluminium wires. The Hawthorn stayed in Tony’s care during that winter. He placed the tree in his greenhouse on a heating bed. In February the following year, Tony came, just like me and many others, to the “Noelanders trophy” in Belgium to show his Bonsai and to meet up with all our bonsai friends from all over Europe that come there every year as well. He kindly brought along my Hawthorns I collected and so after the show they finally came home with me to my little garden in Holland. The Hawthorns ( I collected two) were placed in my greenhouse for protection during the rest of that Winter. In Spring I was delighted to see that the trees literally burst out with new buds all over. I removed all the buds that were unnecessary for my design from the trunk, simply by rubbing them off with my fingers. Leaving unwanted buds to grow will take the strength away from other more important buds and will leave unwanted scares in your trunk. The tree was allowed to grow freely the next growing season, in a semi-shaded place in my garden. In the next picture from August that year, you can see that she was doing really well and I knew then that I could safely give it here first styling at the end of the winter before the buds start swelling.


    And this is how the tree looked in February 2008 before the work started.


OK, before I start to work: have a look at the next two pictures of the front and back of the tree and try to discover the future ¬†design I discovered in this little “Hawthorn”

                                Have you found it? This is what I have in mind:

To reach this ideal profile or frame, I had to do some major branch cutting! Always trying to leave as little wounds as possible, where there was no room for some deadwood/Shari on the trunk.  

As you can see in the pictures below, the yellow cuts were not much of a problem to do, but the red cut was a bit harder to reach with cutters or normal saw!  


First, all the excess branches were cut off, so I could get a  good firm hold on the tree, while I was sawing away, without pricking myself a thousand times! Then, with the help of a very sharp small bladed woodcutters knife, that is used by foresters, I was able to remove the thick branch in one go.

 Then one by one and bit by bit all the other useless branches were cut back.

A  large branch cutter, like  I use here, is a priceless tool for this kind of work! It makes a clean cut in one go, without placing to much sideways force on the tree and roots, like a saw or power tool does. No matter how good you think you hold the tree in place!

Slowly, with every cut, the new shape of this tree is revealed! All wounds are worked over with concave cutters to promote better wound healing. So that in a few years,  the tree is left with large, but natural looking scares, that can be seen on every Hawthorn here on the coastline.

After all the wounds were cut back sufficiently, they were sealed with cut paste. The large wound on the left of the tree (middle picture) is cut back to about 2,5 cm/1 inch of the truck. In the future, this stump will be worked into a small Jin + Shari or maybe only a ¬† Shari? But this work is left for the future! Because doing it now and then leaving such a large open scare, right on the trunk line, could cause die back in the trunk! Every large wound that is left exposed to the elements; will dry/die back, ¬† ¬†interrupting the sap flow between roots and branches! Which could kill your branches and roots or even your whole tree! Because I left the bark on this little stump, it will stay alive for a long time, preventing the possibility of trunk die/dry back! ¬†The tree will probably even throw out a bunch of strong shouts along the rim of the wound, the tree’s own bandage! A sign the tree’s sap stream is pumping along the wound. Only after the tree has shown these signs of full recovery, will I start to take that stump away, bit by bit.

Below: Now only the top needs to be shortened right above the second right                              small branch leaving some room for the die/dry back! 


For now, I’m really pleased with the outcome of this little Hawthorn, I love it’s movement and bark texture. I am really looking forward, to next season to see where all the buds will appear! If I’m lucky they will grow just about where I need them. ¬†And if not….who cares? Together, we will think of something.

I hope you liked what I did so far? And I will keep you all posted on this little tree’s progress.


Hans van Meer.




Hi, everybody,

On Wednesday 6 February ¬† ¬†I was invited to do a (short) demo at the monthly evening club meeting of the B.A.B (Bonsai Association Belgium). This great club, that was founded by Bonsai master Mark Noelanders is responsible for staging the now famous yearly “Noelanders trophy” ¬†in Zolder Belgium. That’s why I know most of their members for many years now and I enjoyed my self immensely in this home away from home for me (and I like their beer).

I demonstrated on a Juniperus “media Phitzeriana Aurea” that I have been preparing for this first major styling for many years now! I found this tree in a cemetery I visit every week. ¬†The small tree was duck up from the ground with an excavator, when some of the older graves were relocated. It laid there above ground, almost completely bare rooted and frozen solidly for weeks on end. So I went to the caretaker and asked him what was going to happen to this old tree? He told me that it would be destroyed with all the other scrubs that were pulled from the ground, as soon as the ice was gone from the ground, so they could use their trucks again. So I asked him if I could save the trees live to make a Bonsai out of it? Luckily he gave me permission! Then I happily even managed to lift it ¬†on to my shoulders as well! But getting it into my car was something else! Man the place was like a ice rink and it looked more like skating than walking, but I made it to my car safely! I planted the tree in the pot it still is in now and from then on I gave it a lot of love and care. All the 8 or 9 years up to this demo were ¬†used to get the foliage ¬†to grow closer to the trunk and to get the same type of mature soft foliage on the whole of the trees foliage. Because the tree was so severely cut back when it was removed from the ground it had made a lot of inmature and prickly foliage on the lower branches, it took me a lot of time to correct that stress ¬†response. This more than 60 years old tree is of a strange variety that reacts very poorly to the normal techniques I have used on other juniperus Phitzeriana ¬†trees. Even the bark is of a strange grayish/light brown color that even after cleaning won’t turn the usual red color. So this tree was well prepared for this demo and was doable in the 3 hours I was supposed to have for my demo, but after Mark was through with the introductions and stuff, I was left with just 2 and a half hours! So I explained to the audience that this would be the first real styling of a ¬†prepared tree and than started to wire the tree like a mad man. ¬†During my work I explained how the tree was prepared to ¬†reach ¬†this point. I even managed to get some important deadwood work don to enhance the movement of the trunk and than quickly brought the main shape into the branches. I ended just in time and was happy that I was able to show this first stage in this future bonsai in this short time. Because there was no time to do fine wiring, the final image looks ¬†still rough, but you can see clearly where this tree is going in the future. I did a demo 5 years earlier here at this club on a yamadory Pine (last small picture). I made a drawing then to show how I was going to try to style this tree and how it would look in the future. I brought this same demo Pine tree I made then to this demo, together with the original design drawing. It was ¬†good to see and hear the positive reactions from the people when they saw that it is possible to make a future bonsai ¬†at a demonstration! I promised to show this Juniper at there club in about 5 years. But I hope to be back sooner here in this friendly club,¬† ¬†



                           Above: The tree before the 2,5-hour demo started.

Above: Waiting anxiously for Mark (on the right) to stop talking so that I could begin my introduction talk and stylings work!

Above: Yes finally and now it is wiring like a madman to get finished in time!

¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†Above: close inspection from the knowledgeable club members! ūüėČ

                     Above: Only the main branches were wired to safe time!

Above: Than Jin and Shari were reworked or created, especially the straight right Jin needed work to give it movement!

Above: Then wiring the last few branches so that I could start the actual styling of the whole image!

Above: Bringing all the branches and foliage into the desired position.

                     Above: And then a well deserved very cold Belgium beer!


Above: The end result for now. Note that no fine wiring was don so I was actually very pleased with how the tree looked despite that! And note the optical trick I did to give that completely straight Jin some visual movement! Not bad for only 2,5-hour!

Above: On the right the drawing that I made 5 years ago for the first styling of this Mugo Pine Yamadori that I did here at this club and on the left how this Bonsai¬†(named Z)look to date. Looks pretty close to the original design…he said a bit proud! ūüôā¬†I enjoyed my self immensely again at Mark’s very friendly club and I hope to be invited again in the future?!¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†


Hans van Meer.