Hi everybody ! Finally, after trying it in vain for more […]

Hi everybody, I am happy and relieved to tell you all that last […]

Hi everybody, I just discovered that I forgot to show and discuss my […]

Part II of the story of the “Elephant” my big Yamadori Larch Bonsai is online !

 

Hi everybody !

Finally, after trying it in vain for more than a week, I managed to post the last of only two saved copies of the original produced video! I was finally able to do it with NCH VideoPad…this was the sixth one I had downloaded to solve this problem! The first program Cyberlink power director 12 that came with my computer had all kinds of for me unsolvable problems and crashed several times! And one of the 2 copy’s of the original finished video that I could safe from them capt on showing up flipped after posting it on you tube?! Even after flipping it over with a downloaded program it still showed up wrong?! No help could be found on or from you tube…so I was glad that I was finally able to post this second copy with the help of VideoPad!!! Although the sound on this only left good version is not to good, I still hope that it is enjoyable for the Bonsai lovers out there?! It brought me a lot of headache and frustrations …bud it thought me to only work with good devices and programs and most of all: SAFE MORE THAN ONE COPY !!!

More video’s will be uploaded soon (if all goes well that is) ! 😉

Cheers,

Hans van Meer.

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Part I of the story of “the Elephant” my big Yamadori Larch is online.

Hi everybody,

I am happy and relieved to tell you all that last night I finally posted Part I of the story of “the Elephant” on to You Tube! It took me 6 days and late night to do it right….but I finally was happy enough with the result to post it!!! It took me this long because I had to go trough many hundreds of pictures on 2 computers and 3 external hard drives to find the best ones! Than I had to improve most of them to finally be able to load them from my old computer on to my new computer, were I had to make a film of them with a for me totally new and unknown program named: cyberlink powerdirector…..and that was not that easy…to say the least!!! It has been some years since I cursed that much!!! 😉 But I have to say that the final result is very satisfying…so I hope you like it too?! Tonight I will start to work on Part II which is all video and covers the massive repotting I did this spring, when after living for 10 years in a wooden box, “the Elephant”was finaly planted in its first real Bonsai pot! I hope to upload that in a week or so?! For now I hope you enjoy this first part?!

Cheers,

Hans van Meer.

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Oooops! I forgot my baby Yew in my earlier post!

Hi everybody,

I just discovered that I forgot to show and discuss my baby Yamadori in my earlier Yew maintenance post! This Taxus baccata Yamadori was some 10 years ago given to me by my dear old Bonsai friend Terry Foster when I was a guest in his welcome home in the North of England. Terry and his lovely wife Charlotte took me in as one of their own every time I was one of the instructors at Tony Tickle’s “BURRS” weekend extravaganza’s! And as if that was not enough….I always left with some sort of wonderful gift! Such a shame that we live so far apart! They both feel like family to us!

Below: November 2008. “Little Terry” as we named it, just after cleaning the wood and the deadwood (Jin and Shari) and treating it with Lime sulfur and wiring and styling it! Height: This 21 cm/ 8.5 Inch high. Such a little gem! 🙂

Below: Just before I pruned it. Last year it was allowed to grow freely for a whole season to recover from a bad winter! Pot: Brian Allbright. (UK)

Below: After cutting the new shoots and pinching the old needles. The to long branches will be cut back as soon as new buds or shoot have appeared!

I hope you enjoyed this late entry to the Yew maintenance post?! Little Terry became a bit jealous! 🙂

Cheers,

Hans van Meer.

Info: karamottobonsai@hotmail.com

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Cutting back new growt on all my Yamadori Yews and how and why (with before and afters).

Hi everybody,

last week it was time to cut back all the strong new growth on all my Yamadori Taxus baccata’s that I collected many, many years ago in Wales with my dear friends Tony Tickle, Terry Foster and Mike Sullivan. Last year they were all heavily fed and allowed to grow freely to build up their strength and that resulted this year in strong growth all over all of them! So like I mentioned before, last week it was the right time to cut back all the new strong growth! How do you know when the right time has arrived? Easy, when the new growth has become harder\stiffer to the touch and has become a darker color green! Than it is time to cut back in to that new growth with a very sharp and clean scissors, leaving 3 pairs of needles on a strong shoot and 4 or 5 pairs on the weaker ones! But IMPORTANT: you don’t cut back the new growth on branches that are weak or the ones that you want to thicken or to extend!!!  But even on branches that need to grow you should remove some/most of the old needles to promote back budding!!! After all this is done, you give the trees at least a week time to recover from the stress and to close all the wounds from cutting them! Than you carefully pick/pull off the old needles from last season, making sure that you pull in the direction they grow! This reduce the chance of damage to the often thin branches! After all this is don and all goes well, than many new strong buds will start to appear at the end off this season, and for sure in the next growing season! An other advantage is that because most branches are now with out needles sun light can reach all areas better and it has become much easier to select and wire them all! All this will result into healthy and strong growth closer to the trunk and main branches and the fuller appearance that we seek in Yew Bonsai and Bonsai in general!

Here are my own Yew Bonsai as an example for how it is don.

Below: The first one that I like to show to you is a Yamadori baccata that was given to me as a present by Tony Tickle when he visited my house almost 20 years ago now! He had collected it himself a few years earlier and I remember him smiling when he gave it to me and said “let see what you can make out of this”?! When I later took it out off its plastic trainings pot, I understood exactly what he meant when he said this! Underneath the wide base of the tree grew a 15 cm long thick root with only roots at the end….it looked like a lollypop! It took me the better part of 4 years to force the tree to make roots higher and closer to the trunk base, so that I could finally shorten that long root and plant the tree in a more normal pot! But during those years I had already started to style the tree and found a solution to make good use of that bulging  trunk section and the Jin that emerged from it on the left! And that solution was all the time lying on my garden floor! It was a viewing stone from Indonesia which, when I held them together, fitted like a clove! The small base of the tree fell exactly into a cavity in the stone and the Jin rested on top off it, like a big branch that had died back many years ago….amazing! 🙂 Then in February 2007 the Bonsai made it trough the tough pre selection of the prestigious “Noelanders Trophy” in Heusden/Zolder Belgium. The lollypop Yew had become a Bonsai! 🙂

Height 55 cm/22 Inch. Table, scroll and shikishi Japan.

Below: The same tree 10 years later! Healthy…but in need of a hair cut and compleat wiring!

Below: Side view

Below: After shortening all the healthy shoots! Next on the agenda is pinching most of the old needles and then rewire the whole tree and cleaning the live section and the deadwood section and applying lime sulfur.

Below: Side view. Out of model….but he looks healthy enough!

Below: The second one that I like to show, was in 1999 given to me (again) as a gift of Tony Tickle, when we said ower goodbyes at the end of the historic second “Ginkgo Awards” in Belgium. This next year picture was taken in my garden just after I repotted it. The left arrow points at the large Jin that you can see on the left in the second picture below. The bottom arrow points at the large branch that I removed completely so that I would be able to creat a more compact middle size Bonsai (Chuhin)! The large Jin/Shari section that you can see in the middle of the trunk in that same second picture is all that remains of this large branch!

Below: September 2007. The same tree, but now as a Bonsai! It was earlier also shown in one of the “Noelanders trophies” together with an other small size Yew that I will show you next! Height: 35 cm/14 Inch. Pot: Klika & Kuratkova  Table: CHR furniture (B)

Below: The same tree before cutting the new shoots. The right bottom branch has lost some thicker branches on the backside that need to be replaced\filled with new young branches in the next seasons! The ones growing from there are left alone to thicken and extend, so no cutting or pinching! The rest of the tree will be treated as explained before!

Below: Right side view of the tree. Note how the top leans towards the front…like in most my Bonsai designs!

Below: After cutting the new shoots. The length of the branches is like in the first tree to long and the desired  silhouette is lost! But after the new buds that will appear have opened and grown enough, well than all these to long branches will be cut back so that the proper silhouette will return!

Below: 1999. Me and my dear old friend Tony Tickle on a collecting trip in Wales…good times! 🙂

Below: The third example. Here is one that I collected my self during one of those exciting trips late last century with Tony, Terry and friends !

Below: And this is how it looked in September 2007. In a custom-made pot by old friend Brian Allbright (UK) and an other table custom-made by CHR furnuture  (B) . Height 28 cm/11.2 Inch. This Bonsai was shown together with the one before this in the Noelanders trophy.

Below: And this is how it looked before pruning began. It has out grown its beautiful Tokename pot, were it has been growing in for almost a decade! So I have to start looking for a new beautiful and more spacious one!

Below: Right side view.

Below: After cutting the new shoots. It is obvious that the left side of the top needs to be wired and repositioned!

Below: In this left side shot it is even more obvious that the left side of that top needs to be filled up by lowering the branch above that big gap! This open space arose when a major branch died back!

Below: Collecting one of the Yews from this post!

Below: The fourth example. This one was collected by my myself during one of the collecting trips I made with Tony and friends during the late nineties in Wales. As soon as I got home it was planted in a hard plastic Bonsai container and than left alone to recover!

Below: After the first signs of recovery I removed all the useless growth of those long branches, so that all the energy would go to the foliage that matters! And then the tree was left alone again to get stronger for its first real styling!

Below: The tree consist of a left and a right sections with a strip of deadwood running in between from top to bottom.  A year later, when the tree was looking very vigorous, I decided that it was safe to perform a drastic pruning! So I cut off all the foliage and branches from the left section of the tree, leaving the stumps so that they could be turned into Jins. And I removed all the bark from that left section, creating nice contrast between live (brown) section and the deadwood (white) section! The branches that were useful for my design were wired and then the tree was left alone (as long as it needed) to recover from it all!

Below: A year later it was doing just fine so I planted it in a proper Bonsai pot.

Below: And this is how that same Bonsai looked in September 2007. That same year it was proudly exhibited in the fifth and last edition of the now legendaries “Ginkgo Awards” in Belgium. I like the contrast of colors in this tree and the circular design! Almost like yin yang…live and dead! But what I like most is that I created a design with an other wise big no no….the right bottom branch that grows directly out of the inside of that curve! And still it works and makes you look twice, because it is so unconventual! And that was just what I hoped to achieve with this design!

Height: 35 cm/ 14 Inch. Pot: Tokoname. Table: CHR furniture (B)

Below: The tree before shortening most of the new growth. And after that it is time to rewire and restyle the whole tree again!

Below: Left side view showing the deadwood/Shari and Jins.

Below: After cutting most of the new shoots.

Below: It is thinned out a lot! Now it is time to remove most of the older needles from the strong branches so that light can reach in and new buds can appear!

Below: The fifth and last example. This Yew was actually the first tree that I ever collected and yes it was Tony Tickle again who made that possible for me! I met Tony for the first time in 1997 at the first ever “Ginkgo Bonsai show” in Belgium and we have been great friends ever since and had some amazing Bonsai adventures together since then! It was during that first meeting that Tony invited me to come collecting with him in the UK ! I could not believe my luck and sure enough in early 1998 I drove all the way to the north of England! And the next day, the first tree I ever collected, was the Yew that I am next going to show and discuss!

Below: Happy me with my first collected Yamadori ever!!! This Yew marks an all important turning point in my Bonsai live….sins then on I decided that this was what I wanted to do Bonsai! And sins then I have nearly always worked exclusively on raw unstyled material that I often found and collected myself! I wanted to have all the excitement from the beginning to the end….I choose the long way…but my way! And this Yew started that all of, so you can imagine that it holds a warm spot in my heart! 🙂

Below: In my garden it lost the whole top section, but luckily the bottom foliage survived!

Below: A not to good picture made inside my house in 2003.  As you can see that half of the dead top section was removed right up to the red arrow in the above picture, only a small Jin remains! The large upwards going Jin you see in the bellow picture, is the dead upwards going branch that starts just above that red arrow in the above picture!

Below: September 2007. Just rewired, repositioned, live wood cleaned and Jins and Shari’s treated with lime sulfur. Table: CHR furniture (B)

Below: Early 2008 in its present pot. From here on it was all keeping it very happy, healthy with the main focus on fuller and better branch structure! Growing, cutting, pinching and wiring ect. ect…..ect. 🙂

Below: Just look how full the tree is today! Now there is more than enough foliage to work with and to bring the Bonsai further and closer to end image that I had in mind all those years ago when I gave it its first styling! This pot is by now a bit to small, but is in the style that I would like to use when the Bonsai is finally ready to show…so the search is on! And the tree needs to be tilted more to the right when it is repotted back in this or in its new pot!

Below: After cutting and pinching. The copper wire in the top of that Jin is there to prevent it from accidentally breaking it when I move it around! My garden is covered with galvanized iron gauze (normally used in concrete walls) , so a mistake is easily made when lifting up a tree to high!

Below: Left side view of the tree. Again notice how far my Bonsai lean forwards! This, in my mind, creates a lot of depth and creates a feeling as if the tree leans over you. If I learned one thing from looking at hundreds of Japanese Bonsai in books and in real live, than it is this principle! Depth creates a sence of reality…even in pictures!

In between writing this, I spent a lot of fun time with the all important task of branch and new growth selection and branch shortening or removing on all the Yews! And although it is a sign of good health, a lot of growth of small and larger branches is useless or unwanted. It blocks out sunlight for the new growth and the branches that are important in your design! So it should be removed or shortened! Than there is branch shortening to reduce the overall size and mass of your design! And last but not least, branch shortening to creat better branch structure and ramification! By cutting back a larger branch right up to where there is a strong shoot or even bud, you will creat shorter and better ramification branches and better taper! This should be one of the main objective of Bonsai and is in modern Bonsai often neglected! You should not be only proud of the ouside image of your Bonsai, but also of your branch structure!!! And it is very important for the wellbeing of your Bonsai! For example: the first Bonsai from this post was after this (long) branch selection round reduced by some 20% !! After all the here discussed Bonsai have gone trough this same procedure, they will all be wired , styled, cleaned and treated with Lime sulfur. After that I will make new pictures and show them to you! I hope you enjoyed this post and  found it useful and interesting?!

Now I will start to work again on my new Bonsai video that is almost finished…it only needs music underneath it! That might sound easy to some…but for a novice like me it all is a big difficult puzzle?! 🙂 It is Part I of the story of “the Elephant” my big Yamadori Larch. So watch this space!

Cheers,

Hans van Meer.

Info: karamottobonsai@hotmail.com

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Approuch graft on my Prunus mahaleb Yamadori.

Hi every body,

it has been a while …I know! But believe me a lot has happened in my normal and in my Bonsai live! I have over 60 trees to take care of in a very limited and crowded garden space (10 x 5 meters) and that makes it very hard to get around and to work on them! And taking decent pictures of it all, or these days video’s, is even harder to do! I am proud to say that in my normal live I have spent the last 6 mounts to successfully detoxified from 10 years of heavy neuropathic pain medication and 20+ years of antidepressant medication! And by cutting down on sugar and carbohydrates I have overcome my recently discovered diabetes and lost some 20 kilo’s! So you see…I have been busy! 😉 I am currently finishing the video of my big Yamadori Larch “the story of the Elephant” part I for you tube and it will be posted in a few days! Part I is all pictures and words, simply because I did not have a video camera in those early days! So watch this space! Part II is all video and shows the compleat story of the massive undertaking of repotting it from the big wooden box were it lived in for 10 years, and into its first real Bonsai pot! And it shows “the Elephant” later on with new fresh green foliage….doing just fine! I hope to finish and post this part II in the next few weeks?! So again….watch this space!!!!

And what more? I have been busy with my workshop group and that is very fulfilling to do! Not a lot of styling has been don up to now, but I did do a lot of maintenance the last couple of mounts! And I will show some of that later on, but first I want to share some approach grafts that I made on one of my old Yamadori Prunus mahaleb’s from Slovenia!

Below: remember this picture showing the marcot (air-layering) that I was planning to make on this big old Prunus mahaleb?! Well the left bottom branch that you see in this pictures grows from just below the stump (red drawing) that was left when it was separated from the rest of the tree. On this, by now thick remaining branch, I made 3 approach grafts to get some new branches closer up to the trunk!

Below: the marcot after separation.

Below: a year later in full bloom.

Below: (red arrows) I made with a sharp and clean tiny curved chisel wounds in both the mother branch and in the small sucker branches that grow from way down low on the trunk. These unwanted sucker branches would normally be removed constantly from anywhere on the trunk. Because they leave behind ugly scars if you let them grow to long….and Prunus mahaleb’s make a lot of them all trough the growing season! Some times so much that when they just appear, I use my small burner to get rid of them!

Below: (red arrows) left one shows the one that I made first. Right one shows the second one, that is like the first one tight down securely with the help of a tiewrap and then is  sealed with cutpaste to prevent drying out!

Below: red arrow points at the third one that I made. Behind that arrow you can see the big deadwood stump that needs some more shaping!

Now it is waiting en hoping that they will fuse together properly, so that I can creat better ramification more closer in the desired design for this promising future Bonsai. If so, than I can shorten the thick mother branch you can see in the above picture by some 25 cm or more! So fingers crossed! I hope you enjoyed this little update in the life of this old Yamadori?!

Next post is about pruning and pinching my Yew Yamadori Bonsai…so watch this space!

Cheers,

Hans van Meer.

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15-5-2017 FEYENOORD RECEAVING TROPHY AT CITY HALL IN FRONT OF 150.000 FANS!!!

Hi again every body,

I know it is off topic….but I have to show you just how special FEYENOORD FANS and people from ROTTERDAM ARE! 150.000 supporters in front of our City Hall that waited since early in the morning and a other 50.000+ that were watching it on big screens around the city, gave their hero’s and the TROPHY a welcome they will never forget….and neither will we watching it live on the TV!!! Lee Towers sung our anthem “YOU NEVER WALK ALONE” and then 200.000 fans jumped on the booming sounds of happy hard core, gabber and hardcore a other great thing invented in Rotterdam! This was unique in Holland and I do believe that it is unique in the world of sport?! Especially if you realize that Holland is not that big a country!  I hope you enjoy the amazing images and forgive me that it is for once not about Bonsai?!

Thanks for letting me share this unique moment with you! This was a great moment of brotherhood and friendship in these difficult times that we live in and I just wanted to share this positive moment with you all!

Cheers

Hans van Meer.

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MY FEYENOORD CHAMPIONS OF THE DUTCH SOCCER LEAGUE!!!

Hi every body,

I am a live long fan of the only real soccer club of Rotterdam, FEYENOORD!!! And today my dream of them winning the Dutch championship once again, after waiting for it for 18 years, came finally trough!!! They were number one from day one of the competition and won the trophy to day on the last day of the competition! Winning 3-1 on their home ground, the famous soccer stadium the “KUIP” that is located on the south side of Rotterdam. Our hero, old timer Dirk Kuit scored all goals…and then Rotterdam exploded!!! 45.000+ fans in de “KUIP” , 5000 fans in the indoor stadium “Ahoy” ,that were watching it live on a enormous screen and in the centre of Rotterdam, in front of the city hall, the long “Stadhuis plein” square, were a lot of pubs are located  was transformed to one big in and outdoor party centre. With several enormous screens so that 10.000+ fans could watch the game and get pissed!!! After they won, the party started for real and the city centre fountain and the normally busy roads around it, were taken over by a few hundred partying fans!!!

See what happened at the “stadhuis plein” (city hall square) , when the first goal was made after less than 1 minute by Dirk Kuit!!! (this is were I use to be a DJ for many years)!

And the 2-0 by Dirk Kuit as seen from a other point….brilliant!!!

 

  

What a great day for my home town Rotterdam that I love so much and for all the Feyenoord fans that were so loyal for all those waiting years!!! A truly happy day indeed!!!

WE ARE THE CHAMPIONS MY FRIEND AND WE KEEP ON FIGHTING TO THE END!!! 🙂

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