Maybe I should drive a greenhouse, not a car.

Every year has one month or maybe more that gives me a misguided hope that I could make a living out of bonsai. I am currently in the middle of such a time.  Although many of my bonsai activities are for fun as opposed for business it’s a busy time. The day job does tend to distract from the fun stuff and drain energy that would be better spent on small trees. However the busy spell will be fleeting and the job does help me buy little trees.

One concern is always the amount of time my trees spend in my car and the damage that tis can cause being packed and unpacked all the time. So far there has not been any casualties.

Starting with the excellent show at capel manor. I managed to sell a few trees, do a demo and pick up the award for best display.IMGP0380

Thas one of the fun parts of shohin bonsai in that you can actually build a display. Larger trees with limited display space tend to be plonked down on a stand with an accent and we are done. It’s much harder to include space, direction, seasonality etc.

Following capel, my display continued the journey without me to the Bonsai San exhibition in Saulieu courtesy of John Pitt and Peter Warren.  A larger display and one that I have been playing with in preparation for Noelanders.

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I was extremely fortunate that the display picked up an award. I am also fortunate to have friends that helped make it possible. Mr Pitt and Mr Warren for transporting and setting up the display and John Brocklehurst and Doug Mudd without whom, I would not have stands for my trees to be displayed upon.

 

This weekend I will be at Tony Tickles BURRS workshop. I hope some small trees turn up!

Capel Manor Autumn Show

Capel Manor

I have enjoyed supporting this show for a few years now. Despite the long drive south (musn’t forget my passport) the show is always a pleasure and should not be missed. The gardens are a good distraction for the non-bonsai spouse and the cafe’s good too. What more could you ask?

This year I will be exhibitiing as normal and for the first time I will be giving a demo too.

I hope to see you there!

John

Workshop announced

Date announced for the next workshop at my place in Leeds.

21st September 10 – 4pm. Bring tools and wire and as many shohin as you like. Refreshments provided and I put on some nice displays too!

Sorry its short notice. Please email me as numbers limited to 8 participants.

Wirral Bonsai club

The Wirral groupn has for a long time been one of the most pro-active groups in the country and I am pleased to have had a long association with them. Due to the car problems previously blogged I missed their show but now that I am back on the road I will be there tomorrow giving a talk/demo.

Not being strictly proffesional (in many ways) and having a day job, I stuggle to do all that I would like in the bonsai world and not having a nursery, I stuggle for suitable material. I often spend more than my fee on the piece of material to do the actual demo on! Being a shohin specialist hinders this further. If you do a demo on a shohin tree, no one can see what you are doing!

However tomorrow nights talk/demo will be on a number of trees that have gone over. Ones that have been exhibited in the past but have gotten a little too large and out of proportion.

shimpakuThis is the original “offering” picture of one of them from quite a few years ago. For many years it was never away from exhibitions, winning many awards. It was a little over shohin size back then. Now it has inflated so much in size, much like its owner and now needs a sort out.

juniper

Probably the best the tree looked. At the first Bonsai World event. The display is pretty poor though!

So if you are free tomorrow night, come along to the Wirral group. It will be a good night.

 

John

Boot sale

Well the boot sale was yesterday and i didn’t do as well as I had hoped for. Garage bills will remain unpaid for a while. Oh well! Higher end shohin may not fit in with the car boot sale ethos.

Here is my new car. Its smaller but you can still get a lot of little trees in there.

 wagon r

Anyway, it was still a good day and it was nice to catch up with folk. And to prove I have not been put off, I have booked for the one in Doncaster at the end of the month. Hope to see you there.

 

Next stop…..The Wirral

Bonsai Boot and broken cars

Well the new car didn’t last long. Those that know me will not be suprised. I have rotten luck with cars so myuch so that I am on first name terms with the AA guys.

For the last week I have found myself enjoying the delights of public transport and a 4 hour round trip to work each day. This has travel time has encroached on my tree time. So much so that I have been suprised by the rapid onset of autumn for some of my shohin.

mayumiMy spindles have been the first to change. Earlier than I remember by a good month. The difference in colour between the left and the right hand side of the tree shows me that I need to be turning my trees more often. Oh well, I will blame the car trouble.

Anyway, I am back on the road in a smaller but more practical car and will be at Daisy Nook garden centre this weekend for the North West Bonsai car boot sale. I will be selling some of my shohin to help pay the garage bills!

 

Hope to see you there!

Light

As I walked to work this morning (more car trouble) I am certainly aware of the change in temperature, its has become a bit on the chilly side. As the plant growth that I had hoped for at the beginning of the season now slows and stops I think about the plans I had for my trees and if they or I achieved the goals I had set for us both.

Usually not.

Despite the considerably better summer that we had, especially “up north” there is some equipment I used and continue to use throughout the year and thats growlights.

A good number of imported species commonly used in shohin thrive in the UK, A couple do not. These are generally requiring a longer warmer summer. This is where my light boxes come in.

light boxMade from polystyrene packaging boxes that have had holes stabbed in them for drainage and them a layer of fine molar, biosorb or whatever in the bottom. The growlight that I use is a lightwave one (other brands are available). Its places in my tunnel and electrics are away from any water.

Despite the weather I find this an indispensable set up especially for species that are “struggling”, a bit weaker or need warmer weather. In the box I currently have Chojubai (Jap Quince), Kinzu (kumquat) and chririmenkazura (star jasmin). New growth, budding and better colour are evident very quickly after being place  in the box.

In the winter months the system will still be used but for evergreen species to keep them strong and to get them started early. Note that I do not use any heating, I find the insulating material and the light enough.

So if there are a few species that are stuggling for you, show them the light.

 

John