November’s Blog

Here is my first post for November. It will be low on text but high on images.
After writing my last blog post for you guys, the next job on my ‘to do’ list, was to get down to recording all the new trees that had recently arrived.
Part of this involves measuring and photographing the trees for the website which can take a considerable time. But before I got around to doing this with Matt (apprentice), I noticed as I was looking over some of the new Scots Pines on the benches, the differences in the needles on the pines. And then I had an idea.
Here it is; 


These are examples of Scots Pine needles from six different trees showing the size/form from some trees all together in a line on one bench. There is a marked difference in both needle length and needle thickness across the six trees.
Below are another three examples but this time with my fingers to show scale. All of these trees are untouched, recently collected (2-3 years) yamadori. At this time no pruning or feeding regime has been used to alter needle size in any way.

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As is evidenced in the bark quality and the depth of the bark plates, these are very old pines.
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This diversity in the foliage that can be found in the same species of trees but from different locations is always fascinating for me to see. Some of you may be more familiar with this variability in Japanese imports like Chinese Juniper, Juniperus chinensis var. Itoigawa. which can show considerable foliage diversity in junipers from different nurseries. Many nurseries have a specific clone that they prefer to work with.


Recently I made a trip down to Bristol to see “The Boss”, Dan Barton. As is usually the case, I came away with some nice accent/companion plant pots and some bonsai pots. Here are two of the bonsai pots and one of the very unique accent pots from Dan. I hope you like them.


Dan Barton Drum pot


Dan Barton Primitive Pot


Cecelia Barton accent pot

Dan is not the only Barton with artistic talent. Dan and Cecelia’s grand daughter Jenny made me this beautiful piece of ceramic art which I will treasure. What a talented young lady she is. This is one of her first attempts at ceramics, God only knows what she will produce once she is more familiar with this tactile medium. It has pride of place in my study!


Jenny Barton Ceramic, Sparrows in bamboo

While at Dans home, he discussed an event he and Cecelia are sponsoring in June 2015 at Failand village hall in Bristol. It is to raise money for cancer research and promises to be yet another great bonsai day out with lots of traders and an exhibition of quality trees. Please see the two posters here for details.

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It is a subject close to my heart and so I immediately pledged help and support for the event.
Some of my students and I will have some trees in the exhibition and I have promised to do a free demo on the day.
Tony Tickle has agreed to let his Taxus baccata (on loan to Dan), be auctioned on the day to hopefully raise a substantial amount of money. I have also pledged some prizes for the Tombola and I hope some of you reading this will help cancer research by supporting the event by either pledging prizes, buying tickets or BOTH! If you have something that you would like to donate as a Tombola prize, please contact Dan Barton with details.


On Sunday 8th November I gave two short talks on display for the Stourbridge Bonsai Club at the Bonded Warehouse, Stourbridge, West Midlands.
One of the aims of my talks, apart from trying to impart knowledge on how to set up an exhibition and how to display bonsai. Was to try to familiarise people in the use of Tenkai/Tenpai (bronze sculptures) and suiseki (viewing stones) as accompaniments to bonsai as an alternative to the more familiar and often used accent/companion plants.
One of the benefits of bronzes and suiseki is that although like accent plants they can be enjoyed in the home on a table, shelf or windowsill well away from a bonsai setting. They can also be boxed up and packed away safe until they are required again and they require no feeding or watering! Unlike accent plants.
(Although one or two of my suiseki would still only be pebbles if I had not watered them!).

Here are a few images taken by Philip Holroyd and kindly sent to me of the Stourbridge exhibition.

Stourbridge Bonsai

Japanese White Pine, Pinus Parviflora with bronze stag

Stourbridge Bonsai

Blue Atlas Cedar, Cedrus Atlantica Glauca

Stourbridge Bonsai

Japanese White Pine, Pinus Parviflora

Stourbridge Bonsai

Juniperus X media Blaauws

Stourbridge Bonsai

Mountain Maple, Acer Palmatum

Stourbridge Bonsai

Japanese White Pine, Pinus Pentaphyla

Stourbridge Bonsai

Shohin Hinoki Cypress

From the images you can see the guys are heading in the right direction. Some nice trees were seen on the day. And every year for the last three years, they have upped their game, which only bodes well for the club. Hopefully in the future, the club will get more visitors to their annual exhibition, it is worth going, if only for the apple pie and cream. But seriously, try to get along to the exhibition next year and see some smart bonsai and meet with some really nice people.

At the show, quite a few people showed interest in both suiseki and in the Ten Kei.
And so for those people, here are a few of my own suiseki and bronzes to hopefully inspire you.


Shimantogawa Ishi


Furuya Ishi


Chinese Stone


Bronze mice with apples


Bronze Vine Leaf


Bronze snail