A couple of Moths ago I posted on to YouTube the short video that I shot at the 12th edition of the “Bonsai from the West” event that was staged as always in the middle of the beautiful Botanical garden in Delft (the Netherlands). This yearly event that revolves around the care and presentation of Bonsai. The goal is to inspire and motivate Bonsaïsts and to introduce a broad public with this unique hobby. In addition to the Bonsai exhibition, there were various activities, including Bonsai demonstrations and workshops, taichi, shinkendo, ikebana and a large Bonsai market where everything that has to do with Bonsai could be purchased! The Bonsai on display are from several Bonsai clubs and professionals from the Western part of Holland (the Netherlands) and they are challenged to come up with new and innovative ways to exhibit their Bonsai! And I must say that they all did a great job and that the overall show gets better and better each year! And I can’t wait until next years 13th edition of this fun event…when I will be demonstrating there! P.S. two more long videos f my trip and demo and workshop in Slovenia and of the exciting “Kei Bonsai Kai” monster event in Gent Belgium!!! So watch this space for that!!! 😉
Hans van Meer.
For those who might have missed it, I would proudly like to show to you a short progressive video of my “Elephant” Larch that was kindly and very professionally made by Rodolfo from Evoluzione Bonsai .
I hope you will enjoy it as much as I do! Thanks, Rodolfo!!!
Hans van Meer,
HELLO…..IS ANYBODY OUT THERE?!
after the horror of losing my blog and everything on it…without having made a backup…..so all my adventures of the last years were gone! 🙁 With the kind online help and tip from a friendly WordPress helper, I managed to recover half of all my old posts! And I managed to build a new blog with a new address so that I could later manually repost what I managed to save on to it! All very frustrating! In the meanwhile, I tried to find out what actually went wrong with mine and all the other Bonsai blogs that disappeared on the same day as mine did…but I sadly could not find or get any answers?
Until yesterday evening (late) when I was in the middle of copying the saved content so that I could (try to) post it on to my new blog. When I (for no reason at all) tried my old blog http://hans-van-meer.ofbonsai.org once again….IT OPENED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 🙂 🙂 🙂 It was all there again…as if nothing happened?! So I quickly made an XML file of all the content to make sure! It might all disappear without any warning just as quickly as it appeared without any warning?!
So I hope to find out how and what and what if? And for now, just hope and pray that all keep on working from now on and hope for some information if there is any?!
Anyhow…I am back for now and I hope that it stays this way!!! Might it disappear again than Bonsai life will go on on my new blog: hansvanmeerbonsai.com
Fingers crossed and know that a lot has happened over the last couple of months so many posts are waiting to be posted on to here again!!!
So CU all later!
Hans van Meer
here are some pictures and the text from the workshop that I gave on the 28 of April at my first Bonsai club “KOYA”. Text by: G. Schwagermann.
It took some surging to find the temporary location of the “Lijm en Cultuur” (glue and culture) building in Delft. But how nice it was that this old building is not yet demolished so that we all could enjoy Hans van Meer’s workshop in this “ART DECO” ambience. The workshop was fully booked with 10 Koya members, jong and old, beginners and advanced but above all, a group focused to learn. Dan Snipes did a short introduction that was followed by Hans presenting himself, he started once upon a time at Koya and now he is an international asked Bonsai teacher. Who as he sad himself now was “back on base”. All trees that were brought in were discussed at length, with in between a lively discussion about the phenomena that brought us all together: Bonsai! After that, it was time to start working on the trees. Hans did his rounds and helped with advice and hands-on action, also there started a spontaneous interaction between different members, typical Koya! It was an instructive and entertaining afternoon that brought us a bit closer to the charm of Bonsai. Koya thanks you, Hans for participating in this workshop.
Workshop Hans van Meer
Delft, 28 april 2018
Het was even zoeken naar de locatie van Lijm en Cultuur aan de Rotterdamseweg 272 in Delft.
Maar wat fijn dat ze dit oude gebouw (nog) niet gesloopt hebben zodat wij nu in een sfeer van “Art-deco” de workshop van Hans van Meer mochten ervaren. De workshop was volgeboekt met 10 Koyanen, jong en oud, beginners en gevorderden maar bovenal een enthousiaste groep gefocust om te leren.
Dan Snipes gaf een korte inleiding waarna Hans zich presenteerde, ooit begonnen bij Koya en nu een internationaal gevraagde bonsaimeester.
Nu, zoals hij zelf zei “terug op honk”!
Alle bomen werden met aandacht van de hele groep uitvoerig besproken met daar tussendoor een levendige discussie over het fenomeen wat ons samen brengt: Bonsai.
Daarna was de tijd gekomen om aan de bomen te gaan werken. Hans deed de ronde en gaf raad en daad, ook ontstond er een spontane samenwerking van de leden, Koya eigen?
Het was een leerzame en onderhoudende dag en zijn we weer een stukje dichterbij de bekoring van Bonsai.
Hans bedankt, Koya bedankt voor het ter beschikking stellen van deelname hieraan.
Below: every single Bonsai is discussed with the owner and the rest of the group. Their plans, ideas, options, health, techniques, timing etc..
Below: many different varieties and styles are on offer and that is always a nice challenge, very interesting and informative for the students and me!
Below: some trees offer a real challenge.
Below: after the talk and discussions of all trees it is time to work.
Below: explaining and helping with an approach root craft to improve the Nebari (root base).
It was a fun day working together with the members of the Bonsai club were I once started my now 28 years old Bonsai adventure and I hope that we will do more of these in the future! Thanks, Koya for this article and the pictures it is highly appreciated!
Next up my trip to Slovenia for a demo and a workshop and a lot of hiking and site seeing with my good friend Roland! So watch this space!
Hans van Meer.
this is a sad post concerning a darker side of our great Bonsai hobby, namely the death of one of our beloved and cherished little trees. And when it one time unavoidably happens it makes me, even more, realize that I am working and dealing with living beings that totally depend on me to stay healthy and alive…after all, Bonsai don’t commit suicide! They get sick or even die for a reason and they need us to help them when necessary! But sometimes as in this sad case, I just can’t figure out what happened or went wrong with this precious little Yamadori Japanese black Pine cascade Bonsai of mine?! It has been under my care for almost 25 years and was one of my most precious little Bonsai in my collection! Not only was it rare and beautiful, it was also an (especial for these early day’s) unique and very expensive birthday present from my beloved mother in law and that makes it even more painful! I can only guess what might have gone wrong to make it die so fast in such a short period of time?! So there is not even a lesson learned from it?! Yes, maybe one thing…and that is the realisation that Bonsai are very precious to me and mean much more than just a little tree in a pot! And that it is, although in this case painful, also a very enriching feeling and that makes it even more special than it already was to me!!!
Like I sad just a few weeks ago to my dear friend Tomaz in Slovenia:
“Little trees cause big things!”
Hans van Meer.
here are some pictures I made a few weeks ago when I repotted my old Chinese Ulmus parvifolia that I have been training and styling for some 27 years now. Most of that time was spent on first building a solid and old looking basic branch structure and that meant letting grow a lot to thicken and then cut. That took at least a full decade to accomplish and then it was more working combined with creating the secondary branch and later even tertiary branch structure! Letting grow and cutting back and sometimes cutting back hard or compleat or partly defoliation everything was don during all those years to create a natural and old looking branch structure that was best seen during the dormancy winter time! And of course, during all those years I worked on the roots and base of the tree! It started with not many roots at all and what was there was to fat or tiny and grew from the back side of the tree! So after a few years growing as soon as there were new but tinny roots showing I started to wire them carefully into the desired position and from there kept on guiding and coaching them for all those years until I was left with great old looking roots and a firm root base! Years of cutting back every root that grew downwards made it possible to stay in the same shallow pot that it grew in for the better part of its Bonsai live in my garden and that is great because I really think that this pot suits this Bonsai in colour, shape and size! This species is really a bit looked down upon because to are still associated with indoor and Mall Bonsai (mallsai) and that is a shame in my opinion because the can be shaped relatively easy into very believable Bonsai! They have amazing flaky bark and grow stunning root base and branch structure! They are winter and summer hardy up to a point and tolerate hard pruning or defoliation without any problem. They are not easily receptive to insects or fungi and grow in almost anything! This little Bonsai was some 10 years ago even proudly shown in the prestigious “Noelanders Trophy”…so it can be done! So my advise: if you can find a nice promising one..give it a try! And I promise you that you will be surprised just how suited they are to a life as a Bonsai and just how pretty the can become over time!!!
Below: close up of the Ulmus back side Nebari.
Below: back side.
Below: close up of the front side Nebari.
Below: And the front side of my Ulmus. Height 56 cm.
Hope you enjoyed this little Ulmus story?!
Hans van Meer.
two weeks ago we had some record-breakingly warm weather so it was a great opportunity to do some wiring and deadwood work on one of my favourite Prunus Mahaleb Yamadori’s from Slovenia. This pre-Bonsai is full of naturally burned and sun-bleached deadwood and I want to recreate that in the Jin and Shari where I am going to work on. Almost all of the branches of this tree are newly grown by me and need more fine branching and ageing, but I am not in a hurry! I was a bit laid with wiring it almost completely and had to take great care not to break off any of the new growth that was emerging fast because of the sudden warm weather of the last few days! We went from frost in the night to almost 30 degrees during the daytime in one week time…really crazy weather!!! After I finished the wiring and styling it, for now, I started to work on the front Jin and Shari with a power tool. The main focus was on reducing the Jin and Shari because there is a reverse taper and bulging section on it that needs to be reduced and shaped as natural as possible so that it will fit in with the rest of all the natural deadwood on the tree!
Below: The Prunus Mahaleb after I just finished the wiring. Height 67 cm. I kept it as natural looking as possible and preserved the second small trunk on the left bottom side of my design! I allowed it to grow freely to create a for now still young looking small secondary tree to accompany the larger tree on the right! I guess you could call it a Mother and child design?!
Below; the red arrow points at the deadwood part that is thicker than the section below it. The Jin is to thick and the section below it is somewhat bulging and forms a reverse taper!
Below: Taking my time and enjoying it while I am tacking away excess wood and shaping at the same time. I love this faster creating and result part of doing Bonsai!
Below: The result is that the Jin is less bulky now and looks like the remainings of a large branch/trunk that has been torn off by a storm that created a long wound that runs down through the bark below it. In that way, the reverse taper or bulge is less obvious! Now the fresh deadwood needs to be scorched with a small burner to mimic the crackly image of the originally burned deadwood on this tree.
Below: after carefully burning the fresh deadwood it looks just like the original deadwood of this tree. I will not brush it to preserve the cracks that look just like the ones on the natural deadwood on the right side of it! There is a forecast of rain for the next couple of days so I will bleach it with diluted Lime sulfur to mimic the original lightly bleached deadwood! I will post pictures of it later.
Hope you enjoyed this little story?!
Hans van Meer.