Bonsai in Depth

 Date’s announced:  Sat 28th Feb/Sunday 1st March, 7th/8th march And 14th/15th march.

To book your place, contact now.

The concept of the “Bonsai in Depth” courses has come about because I believe everyone should be able to grow show able bonsai, no argument! And through the comments of students and clients and talking with the public at many shows both here and in Europe, it became obvious that there are bonsai enthusiasts out there who wish to grow show able bonsai and who would like more species specific information.

Dan Barton started his take on Masterclasses in the 80’s/90’s where students worked on a specific species over a one day workshop. In the USA Boon Manakitivipart has his ‘Bonsai Intensives’ and Ryan Neil at Bonsai Mirai has his ‘Defining Concepts’ courses. All are great ways to learn for the serious bonsai enthusiast who wants to take that next step!

“Bonsai in Depth” will begin in Spring 2014.

Although the emphasise will be on working with yamadori, because it offers a broader learning experience i.e. collection through acclimation, design, generation, refinement and finally exhibition. Much of the horticulture and styling techniques and applications are very relevant to Japanese imported species as well, and of course these species will receive attention too.

“Bonsai in Depth part 1” will be over two days days so that participants get both the in depth theory and hands on experience over the course period. This may be two separate days or two consecutive days depending on each individuals circumstances. I believe that hands on experience is the best way to learn, and is particularly useful in areas such as defining live veins on junipers, thick, strong or heavy branch manipulation, correct wiring techniques, foliage preparation and refinement etc. where people need to physically be involved to advance with their progressive learning. ‘Hands on’, beats any theory. But ‘hands on’ in conjunction with theory is the way forward. For these courses I am looking for dedicated committed enthusiasts. Please do not enrol if you are not passionate about bonsai and committed to learning. And please remember bonsai is not just about wiring and bending a tree. It is also about good horticulture, refinement and maturity over time!

When you enrol in the “Bonsai in Depth Juniper course 1”, you will learn how to take a yamadori or raw material tree or a semi styled bonsai to its ultimate conclusion, a show able tree of the highest order, and how to maintain it as a healthy flourishing bonsai during its time in your care. You will learn the horticulture required to establish a healthy bonsai and the unique design possibilities that your tree offers. The end product is a tree that displays Harmony, Dignity and Individuality!

It has been said many times that junipers offer the artist the greatest scope or freedom to be creative or expressive. You will be working with yamadori material like Sabina Junipers that have already been sculpted and twisted by centuries of growing in the mountains. You will unravel the lines of twisted deadwood and the flow of the live veins and learn the techniques to turn this species from a raw piece of collected material into a refined show able bonsai.

You will learn correct wire application, branch bending and advanced bending techniques, how to identify, isolate and refine live veins. How to identify strong and weak live veins, for creating deadwood areas. Create new deadwood and how to handle existing deadwood. Learn manipulating techniques for seasoned deadwood. Transplanting techniques and feeding regimes for controlled growth. Pruning techniques generating new growth or for refining your bonsai over time . In fact all you will need to grow a Juniper bonsai successfully. Some of the theory and the techniques you may think you know, some will be new to you and some of it will make you take another look at how you approach bonsai. By attending subsequent Juniper courses you will learn the many traits shared by the juniper family and the techniques that apply to them all, but also those which are species specific.

Other species like Juniperus chinensis var. Itoigawa, and Juniperus phoenicea etc, will be available for the courses.


Read the testimonials here.


Bonsai in Depth “Pine”




The “Bonsai in Depth” Pine course 1, will be of a similar format to the juniper course, in that you will learn how to create and grow a healthy show able pine bonsai.


From my very first introduction to bonsai, pines have always been my favourite family of trees and the Scots Pine Pinus sylvestris has always held a special place in my affections. This is the species that got me into bonsai. It is the species that first got my work recognised and it is the species that continues to hold my fascination, imagination and admiration today.


Few pines have the deadwood and drama etched on their souls that the junipers do. It is the colour and texture of their needles, their trunk and branch lines and the rugged character of their bark that tells their quiet story. We will also look at many of the genetic dwarf varieties available, e.g. Pinus sylvestris ‘Beavronensis, ‘Waterii, Nana gracilis. Pinus mugo ‘Mopps’ etc. And the White Pine dwarfs e.g. ‘Kokonoe’ , and ‘Zuisho’, the possibilities that these multi budding types offer and how they differ from the species ‘type’.


By attending the “Bonsai in Depth” pine courses you will learn the many traits shared by the pine family and the horticulture and techniques that apply to them all, but also those which are species specific. It will include Japanese varieties Black Pine Pinus thunbergii, Red Pine P. densiflora and Japanese White Pine P. pentaphyla/parviflora and of course other European yamadori species, e.g Mugo Pine P. mugo and European Black Pine P. nigra, Pinus cembra, Pinus halapensis etc.


On the “Bonsai in Depth” courses, you will cover all aspects of growing and creating great bonsai for now and for the future.


Together we will enhance and also change your bonsai way of life.


Bonsai, reaching beyond the edge…….. of end!