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“THE STORY OF XL” my Larch Yamadori Bonsai Part II is online!

Hi every body,

just to let you all know that Part II of “The Story of XL” my Larch Yamadori Bonsai is on line! And that part III with moving footage of styling, repotting and shows is in the making! So watch this space if you are interested in my work! I hope you like it this far?!


Hans van Meer.


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“THE STORY OF XL” my Larch Yamadori Bonsai Part I is online!

Hi everybody,

after a lot of work I just posted “THE STORY of XL” my Larch Yamadori Bonsai Part I on YOU TUBE!!! This progressive story in words, pictures and film follows this tree from collecting it as a Yamadori in Austria in 2004 right up to the present day 2016 as a Bonsai in a major Bonsai show! In short…the live of a tree that becomes a Bonsai in 12 years time told as a story for you all to enjoy…hopefully?! 🙂 Part II will be uploaded soon (I hope ?!)! It is a lot of surging trough and improving old pictures, text, film and music and than the editing!! Boy o Boy! But seriously I enjoyed doing it and it is fun to see for myself  just how much happened in the life of this old tree in all these years! And how amazing that process actually is! So I hope you will enjoy this story as much as I did making it?!


Hans van Meer.


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Hi everybody,

I am happy to say that the “MOSHI MOSHI” Bonsai video that was lost after the Dutch television organisation N.C.R.V. stopped with the site that showed all the famous video’s from the Dutch television program “Man bijt Hond” (man bites dog) that was broth casted for years around diner time on the Dutch television and showed unique normal Dutch people and made them stars for a few minutes, is found again and translated by me, so that I can show it to you all!!! This funny video was shot in 2000 because our than still Prince Willem Alexander visited Japan because of the 400 years friendship between Holland and Japan and shows Carlos van der Vaart en myself working in Danny Use his Bonsai museum and his “GINKGO” Bonsai centre in Belgium! Well you have to see it for your self and I hope you enjoy it as much as we did making it?!


Hans van Meer.

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Hi every body,

after a lot of hours of editing all the footage I shot last weekend at the “KEI-BONSAI-KAI” exhibition in the famous “GINKGO”Bonsai centre in Laarne Belgium, I finally managed to get the 2 parts on to youtube! It was a disaster to discover after I finally finished the video’s that my old camera used a system (MMP) that was not compatible with youtube! Wat ever I tried, I could not get it on there!!!! So I finaly managed to convert the video’s back on to my computer and from there managed to get it on to youtube! Man I was relieved that this finaly worked! I was so affraid that my hard work was all for nothing! You must understand, this was the first time I ever posted something on youtube…yes I know…. I am a dinosaur! 🙂 Any way, here are the 2 links to the 2 part video! I hope you enjoy them?!




Hans van Meer.


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First impressions from the “KEI BONSAI KAI” exhibition in Belgium.

Hi every body,

today it is the Sunday after my visit to the long awaited “KEI BONSAI KAI” exhibition that my dear old friends Danny Use his wife Ingrid and their amazing club members staged last Saturday in their famous Bonsai Centre “GINKGO” in Laarne Belgium! Danny staged this unique Bonsai show to commemorate the first friendships that were made when he, almost 20 years ago, staged his now legendary first “Ginkgo award back in 1997! In February this year, some 10 years after the last “GINKGO” Award was staged, friends from these early hours and from all around Europe were called by Danny and were to their surprise invited to exhibit their by now matured work at this “KEI BONSAI KAI” exhibition and one of them was little old me! So I prepared 4 of my show worthy Bonsai for this one off show, from witch 2 Hawthorns had to be cancelled, because they were attacked by insects that caused bums on most of the foliage! But XL my big Yamadori Larch and Wolfie my Mugo Pine were show worthy! On the Friday before the show both trees, tables and other accessories were carried into my car to arrive some 2 hours later at the “Ginkgo Bonsai centre”! I had not seen Danny and Ingrid for almost 10 years, but was greeted by them as if we had seen each other only yesterday…..that was very hearth warming!!! We have a long and intense history together and it was good to see and feel that nothing has changed since then!!! From all sides Danny’s helpers jumped out to help me lift the big Larch and heavy table chest on to trolleys and they drove them for me past the hundreds stunning Bonsai that were all ready on display…..I was immediately amazed by all their quality!!

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Danny had saved a beautiful Tokonoma for my big Larch and it was the first time for me to be able to do that!!! Creating my composition in this special space was a first for me and there for very exciting and a real honour! As you can see here, I am happy with the way it all looks! And I am especially proud that this is a Bonsai from a tree that I collected my self all those years ago and that almost all branches and the top section were created from nothing! Later that evening my friend Mario Komstra, for who I have the highest regards, discussed with me this tree and he gave me a honour that surpasses for me every award there is to win! He called this old larch a Bonsai and a important European tree! Coming from him, I think this tree and me did all right up to now! But he also pointed out that there are still things that could and should be improved! Like thickness of some off the branches and the top trunk section and may be a shallower pot in the future! Points taken Mario and thanks for the discussion and talk we had…you are a inspiration in many ways my friend and I do hope to visit you some time, when things are better!!! 😉

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This is a picture of the second Bonsai that I brought along with me! This is “Wolfie” the Mugo pine that I swapped so many years ago with a other old friend Wolfgang Putz when my dear friend Tony Tickle (UK) and I visit him in his beautiful place in Austria! The beautiful accent stone is yet a other gift from a other old Bonsai friend from the UK, Terry Foster!

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It was very intense and hot work building up my compositions under neath all that glass of the greenhouses that make up a large section of the “GINKGO”Bonsai centre! So I was glad to be able to sit down with old friend Danny and new friend, the very talented Frederic Chenal from France! This picture is taken in front of Danny’s unique “Route 66” road house music bar that is build right in the middle of his Bonsai centre! Above the entrance you can see one off Danny’s many hot rods bikes that he collects along with all kinds off paraphernalia that has to do with it! You got to love this guy!!! 🙂

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Across of the road house, above the entrance and  the pay desk, there is loads more off Danny’s collected stuff! Ranging from petrol pumps to children’s miniature cars and bikes!

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More to the left even more collected stuff! Just under neath this you can see the entrance to a space were Danny’s students made a very inspiring exposition of Bonsai in the dark!

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Imagine this composition in complete darkness, witch was impossible to capture with my camera, because it kept on using it’s flash light! But I hope you get the idea. It was all so inventive and uniquely made, really breath tacking and inspiring!

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And here a other picture I made in that dark room! just look at that amazing old wood they used to create that Tokonoma and the contrast it makes with that modern lighted base were the Bonsai stands on…great stuff!!!

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Lunch among friends during the show on the Saturday. Danny is here telling the great story, how he, me, Ludo and Carlos drove all trough the UK to convince and invite artist like Colin Lewis, Harry Tomlinson, Dan Barton, Salvatore, John Henby and Marco Invernizzi to come to the first “GINKGO AWARDS”in 1997! We drove about twice the distance than was realy necessary and the way that happened is a classic story that still makes every body who hears it laugh! It was good to hear the adventures Danny and I had all those years ago! I am so glad we got reacquainted again and that nothing has changed, besides the colour off our hair and the shape off our bellies!! 🙂 He and Ingrid are indeed great friends and I am very grateful that I had the change to spent this wonderful weekend with them again!!! Thanks Danny, Ingrid and all who made this wonderful show possible…..and I will see you soon!!!

The next couple off day’s I will work on a video that I shot off this great event and off all the wonderful trees on display! This is a first for me so it might take me a while….but watch this space for the link!

I was smiling when writing this! Bonsai, Bonsai friends and everything thats got to do with it is so special and up lifting! I wish the whole world could do it! Keep them small!!


Hans van Meer.






















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Hi every body,

while planning my 2 Bonsai displays for the  “KEI BONSAI KAI” exhibition next weekend in Belgium, I was surging trough my old pictures of earlier displays to look at the accents, scrolls, tanzaku’s and shikishi’s that I have used in the past to accompany my Bonsai in shows were that was allowed. Doing this I rediscovered a early “van Meer” that I would like to re share with you all….because it made me smile and I hope it will make you smile too?! 🙂


Only 6 more night to sleep before I have to carry my two (one heavy) Bonsai, tables and other accessories into my car and drive to the “Kei Bonsai Kai” exhibition in Laarne (Belgium)! More than 125 top class Bonsai will be on display there and I am really proud to be a small part of all that!!! If you want to see lots of pictures of how Danny and a amazing group of volunteers are building and preparing everything for this amazing show go HERE!!!!

When I get back from the show I will post lots of pictures of it all and later on a short film about all the Bonsai and the reunion of old Bonsai friends!!! I hope to see you all there on Saturday the 28th of May from 10h to 18h !!! And remember: FREE ENTRANCE !!!!! 🙂


Hans van Meer.


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Air Layering (marcotting) A Prunus Mahaleb Yamadori.

Hi every body,

today I would like to share with you the Air Layering or Marcot that I preformed yesterday on one of mine Prunes mahaleb yamadori’s.

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Remember this picture? This is the Prunus mahaleb that is about to be air layered. The left (yellow) section needs to be separated from the right (red) section! This beautiful left section, full off age old death wood, goes to my dear friend Tony Tickle (UK) and the right trunk/tree section stays with me in Holland…if all goes well that is?!

bark hans van meer 500Before I start a little explanation about the different layers that make up a trunk and branch.

Just look at the quick drawing I made to explain. The bark on the outside of the tree protects the living cambium layer that lies under need it. This cambium layer produces the growth rings adding each season new layers of phloem and xylem to the tree. The cambium layer is a very thin living layer that produces phloem to wards the outside were it eventually becomes bark and xylem to wards the inside were it becomes sapwood. This all important cambium layer is responsible for the growth of stems and, important for the technique that I am going to use, the roots! The phloem transports all the food and hormones that is produced by the leaves down wards to the roots. The xylem is basically vascular tissue that carries the water and other dissolved nutrients all the way up to the leaves. 

So now we know this, how those air layering work?! Were new roots are wanted a strip of bark is removed with the help of a sharp knife or in my case a small iron saw! After the strip of bark with the phloem is removed with the help of a sharp chisel (this was very easy on this Prunus) the thin layer of cambium is scrapped off with a sharp and clean knife! This is very important to do because if the cambium layer is left intact the tree or branch will not be fooled because the flow is not disrupted and most likely will not produce new roots if only the bark and phloem is removed! A sticky paste is made by adding rooting hormone to water and that is then applied generously around the edge of the wound (on the side closest to the top of the branch or trunk). Than a thick layer of moist (but not soaking wet) sphagnum moss is applied all around the wound. This all is packed inn with a piece of transparent plastic that works as a water barrier and allows the sun light to come trough. Holes can easily be made in the top of this plastic if watering of the sphagnum moss is later necessary! When enough roots have grown from the wound, this depends on the species and the vigour of the parent tree, the trunk or stem is removed carefully with a saw from the mother tree and is then planted in a training pot. So now we know how, lets see what I did with this old Prunus yamadori?!

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The red arrow shows the point were the air layering needs to be made. This is a thick and old side branch that grows from the lower left side of this massive trunk. This long branch or almost trunk is full of old deadwood and although it those not fit into the design that I have planed for this tree, it would be a shame and almost criminal not to try to save it to become a future Bonsai of it’s own!! 

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This is more or less were the marcot will be made! This is the widest part of this trunk and there for will be the best future root base of the new tree when it is separated! This side consist mostly of deadwood and the 2,5 Inch live fain grows mostly on the other side!

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A look at the future marcot from the other side of the trunk. The red arrow points at two branches that need to be removed because they are in the way and because the don’t have a future growing near the future new root base!

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With a concave cutter they are cut flush with the trunk line and sealed with cut paste. I don’t want any change of infections that close to the new roots!

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The wound properly treated and sealed with cut paste! The red arrow points at a Jin that is also in the way of the future marcot and there for also needs to be removed! Here you can clearly see that this section of the trunk is the widest and there for the logical choice!

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Red arrow points at the Jin that is just removed. The old Jin just above of it proved to be almost completely rotten and broke off easily when I checked it with my hand! A little stump that still was hard is left for Tony to decide if he wants to use it in the future when this trunk is separated and starts its new life in his garden in the UK…if all goos well that is?!

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Here that rotted old Jin is removed up to were the hard wood started! The branch growing to the right side of it is left as a engine for the new roots that hopefully will grow below of it! It is again up to Tony what to do with this branch in the future?!

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A closer look from the other side. That jin stump could be interesting in the future and that branch that is left can be left and used in a design or be transformed into a Jin as well in the future?!

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With the use of a wire the angle of the marcot is checked from both sides until I was satisfied! Red arrow: Than with the help of a thick black marker two lines were drawn, one next to the wire and the other one about 2 Inch further down the trunk.

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With the help of a small iron saw I carefully sawed trough the bark! using this saw was a experiment, because in the past I had struggled to make a clean cut when I used a sharp knife and I was right…it worked like a charm! Straight lines and a clean cut with out the chance of cutting off a finger or damaging the bark! Red arrow points at the bottom cut!

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With a just sharpened chisel the bark was piece by piece carefully removed. At the top of the fresh marcot  you can see were the life section stops and the (brown) deadwood part starts!

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With a sharp and clean knife the cambium layer is carefully scraped away everywhere along the top incision! Making sure that nothing is left so that there will be no cambium flow possible between the top and bottom incision! This now will trigger the tree to make new roots along that top insision….if all goes well that is?! 😉

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Then a paste of rooting hormone and water was applied to the top cut and below it. This was left to dry so that it would stick to the surface even when the wed sphagnum moss is applied! This rooting hormone powder (from Bayer) will stimulate and help the production of new roots!

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First a layer of in water and rooting hormone soaked sphagnum moss is applied and hold in place by a strain of 1 mm aluminium wire. Than a second layer of in water soaked sphagnum is applied on top off the first layer and is also hold in place with wire.

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Then the sphagnum is completely covered by a double layer of strong transparent plastic that is tightly hold in place with aluminium 1mm wire. Both the ends of the plastic is tightly taped shut to make sure that nothing will move. In the future when the sphagnum gets to dry, small holes can and will be made in the top of the plastic ball to be able to insert water to wet the sphagnum!

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The whole air layering seen from the front side of this old Prunus. From now on it is fingers crossed and anxious waiting and watching until  the first roots appear trough the plastic! I forgot to tell you that all the foliage above the air layering is cut back to 2 leaves to minimise the need for water! I will try to keep this heavy monster and it’s air layering out off to much direct summer sun heat and hope for the best!! 🙂

I will keep you all informed if there is any progress and I hope you enjoyed this little story this fare?!


Hans van Meer.






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