The Newstead Bonsai Centre is the home of The John Hanby Bonsai School. The Newstead Bonsai Centre is one of the largest bonsai nurseries in the UK and is conveniently located near Wakefield, West Yorkshire. The Bonsai school aims to teach students about the proper care required to grow, develop and refine their bonsai throughout the year.
Derek attended his first bonsai class with us recently so I suppose I should be treating him gently…….nope!!!
A nice broom style Privet with really good base.That second trunk at the front is just so straight and out of character with the main trunk.Had to go…. now we can let this callous over and form part of the nebari or carve it out and make a feature of it. The canopy can be reshaped to fit the single trunk.A Pyracantha purchased maybe with a cascade in mind?…..but it is so long and straight with no taper.There is a better branch lower down the trunk and lots of useful new buds.All the energy in the removed branches will transfer to these new shoots which should now explode with growth. The true potential of this material to form a really nice shohin size bonsai has been released.
Perhaps surprisingly I received some really nice comments from Derek after the class. He confirmed that all his trees were now much smaller when he got them home!!! …..This is normal!!!
He did enjoy his time with us and learned a lot from the day….not just from me but also from his fellow students. Sometimes you have to be drastic to get the best out of a tree and when you are doing bonsai on your own often you haven’t the confidence to be this ruthless.
Hopefully we have inspired Derek to greater things and I am sure we will see him again despite me not having “the gentle touch”!
These three trees just happened to arrive on the same workshop…..it almost became a cascade style bonsai class.
Juniper Aurea…..wired and ready for styling.
Foliage clouds and open spaces now much more clearly defined. We need to keep a dense area of foliage in front of the upper trunk to hide and break up the straight section.
Japanese White Pine……again totally wired.
Classic White Pine appearance with dense foliage clouds.
Variegated Juniper. Not easy for a cascade style with such strong straight trunk lines.
Basic outline established. Now we need some density in the foliage to break up the straight lines.
I can’t imagine why???…..but students insist there is always more room in the car going home…….they can see through the windows…….it was a lot easier to load up!
Okay so I generally do a little bit of pruning on their trees, especially at this time of year……after all it’s what they come for…..isn’t it?……they would be disappointed if I didn’t prune…….wouldn’t they??
Andrew came on a one to one recently……..
Acer Palmatum showing good but lengthy growth.
Back in shape….now we can start building up the ramification while the lower branch thickens.
The original trunk scar is callousing well and looks natural.
Trident Maple becoming a bush……..Andrew’s original small stick from his beginners course with us.
Now we have a thicker trunk with movement and taper, and a good basic branch structure on which we can build.
A large Maple stump that originally came out of my garden.
The other side…..excellent strong growth.
All the branches have been regrown on this tree so the progress is good……now we can see it!
……..and yes……..he did find it easier driving home!………I can’t imagine why???…….
April 2017….The stump had been dug up around 2 years previously and simply allowed to grow and recover.
The tree has sprouted well with a good selection of branches all around the trunk.
So now on this first visit to the school it was time to make a selection.
The branches that will form the crown have been severely shortened whilst the lower branches have been left long to thicken.
November 2017….The lower branches had been wired down and the top of the tree kept under control.
A little corrective pruning was carried out.
The branches are thickening well.
June 2018….The apex is so strong with lots of shoots beginning to extend.
The tree is pruned to bring it back under control.
9th June 2019….I think we are now in a position to cut back the lower branches.
Pruned back to shape and now ready to take full advantage of the remaining seasons growth.
Privet is good to work with because it responds so well to being pruned and is very forgiving. Even allowing for this the transformation in this tree in 2 years is quite remarkable.
It is a case of making the right selections at the right time, allowing the tree to grow well in between but then bringing the tree back under control.
The future image of this tree is becoming clearly visible and now it is up to us to help him get there! You are doing a great job Lee…..well done!
This work was carried out about 3 weeks ago.
The tree has grown well, extended and is becoming somewhat bushy. Leaves on the soil surface show that the tree is already starting to clean himself out.
The canopy has been pruned back to shape….there is no wire on this tree.
More light and air can now enter the foliage mass.
The deadwood and base is impressive…..
……from both sides!
Photographs really are invaluable…….you forget just how far you have come with a tree!!!
A tale of two trees, just two of many that were brought to this Maples class.
This Maple is very strong and in good condition. Growing tips have been pinched to control it’s growth but it is losing it’s way in terms of style/appearance. It is in danger of becoming more stylised like a conifer bonsai rather than a natural deciduous tree image.
The tree looks better already for being thinned out…..it is lighter and more natural. Now we have to change the way we pinch the new growth and be more selective. In the spring we will wire some of the branches and plan how we prune in the following growing season.
This red Deshojo Maple had almost the opposite problem. Growing strong again but in danger of losing its natural refined tree image by becoming an overgrown bush.
A “little” thinning out was done and now once again you can see the tree’s impressive trunk and branch structure.
Once again there will be some wiring in spring but both now and next year all new growth will have to be seriously controlled. Only a few selected branches will be allowed to extend.
Seeing the trees now in full growth is really useful at this time of year. Now we can make adjustments and get maximum benefit from the remainder of the growing season. Left to their own devices producing lots of unwanted growth can then result in a year being completely wasted. Rather than making progress it can result in the tree going backwards!
At my time of life we can’t afford to be wasting years!!!
These two Cedars were recently brought to a one to one session along with some Maples.
This Cedar Libanii has grown well and is very healthy.
The lower branches are becoming weaker because of the excessive wide growth around the top of the tree. The apex is also becoming too flat.
The tree after pruning…..now more in balance and with a large branch removed and made into a jin.
When the tree is next repotted it needs to be planted more upright. The branches will be realigned when the tree is next rewired.
This Cedar Deodora is also very healthy and strong with a bushy canopy.
It has lost its shape/style and has no structure near the apex.
The canopy has been greatly reduced and given a basic wiring. The apex has been raised and a strong side branch made into a Jin.
The existing Shari in the trunk has been extended.
The line of the deadwood was improved by heat bending.
The curve in the trunk leading to the apex is now visible and eventually the Jin will be extended to form a Shari and improve the appearance of taper in the trunk line.
The strong Jin was too horizontal and the whole appearance of the tree can be improved by altering the planting angle slightly the next time it is repotted.