1 to 1 with Bonsai Eejit – The Eejit Pine

This bog pine started life with me around 4 years ago. It was collected from a peat bog and planted into a crate with stone grit. Although the tree has always grown well it was time to repot.

bog pine yamadori

The tree got it’s first styling from Ian Young in September 2017, hence the name.


It continued to thrive during 2018 and needed bit of editing in autumn 2018.



Although it looks harsh in the pictures the tree is packed with buds.


Again, the re-pot was very successful with no nasty surprises. It went straight to the tunnel like the rest for protection over winter/spring.

1 to 1 with Bonsai Eejit – PW Bog Pine

This tree was unstyled until a Peter Warren workshop in late 2016. The initial focus suggestion by Peter was to style one or two branches but mainly to strengthen the lower right hand branch, the main feature branch. During a workshop one year later, again with Peter, some bud selection and light pruning was carried out and the tree continued to look good over the autumn.



When we removed the tree from the pot, we discovered a good but extended root system. Again the roots were minimally pruned where appropriate. The pot used is quite deep but this was necessary to accommodate all the roots at this time.


We used a 1:1:1 lava:pumice:akadama mix with a thin shredded sphagnum dressing,


1 to 1 with Bonsai Eejit – Large Hinoki

During a two day session with Ian Young, we worked through a few repottings that I would have found challenging alone.


The first was a Hinoki Cypress (Chaemecyparis obstusa ‘Nana Gracilis’) styled about a year previous. It originally was a nursery tree with a lot of crossing and looping roots which had been partially unraveled in a previous re-pot.


Un-typically for a conifer a hose was used to remove grit, peat and field soil to allow us untangle the roosts.


Many roots were shortened where possible, a few removed but despite reducing the apparent bulk of the root ball we managed to retain a really good contingent of roots.


Due to the success of the root preparation work, we were able to put the tree into a much shallower pot than I would have initially expected.



The finished product (on the day) went into my tunnel for some protection during the remainder of the winter and spring.

NIBS Peter Warren Workshop November 2018

I was very fortunate to grab a last minute place on this Northern Ireland Bonsai Society workshop with Peter Warren of Saruyama Bonsai in Newtonards last weekend. A 500 mile round trip in 24 hours left me physically tired, but the experience of working once more with Peter was educational and energising.


My tree was a larch clump collected in late 2014, it was first worked on in early 2016 at a Munster Bonsai Club workshop. It has a main trunk and several smaller trunks radiating around it, which emerge from beneath the surface. Part of any future re-potting will be to explore these secondary trunks and try to make more explicit their connection to the main trunk.


Because it had grown so well over the past few years it was quite dense and cluttered looking. I had expected a lot of growth to be removed and while quite a few were shortened and some removed it was remarkable that there was much less chopping than I thought there would. This is probably due to the input of Ian Young during a one to one session where we did some summer shoot pruning (but allowing some areas to strengthen where required).


After the initial critique, I was set to wiring branches which Peter then positioned. Next he talked me through the next set of branches and so on. As the day progressed I was a little sorry I hadn’t brought a smaller tree, and it was easy to get distracted and look on as Peter worked on other trees, which were quite diverse with Pine, Hinoki, Spruce, Maple, Juniper and Beech all present at various stages of development and re-development.


Fortunately, our host, Ian Young (Bonsai Eejit) assisted with some wiring to catch me up along the way, while also doing likewise for the other participants.  It was great too, to catch up with bonsai nuts from the NIBS club and from the Leinster club.


The ‘finished’ tree of course is not finished. There are a few relatively weak areas on the tree which need to strengthen including another secondary trunk which has quite a lot of free growing to do thicken up.  I look forward to its continued development.

Workshop with Peter Warren, September 2018. Pinus ‘Beuvronensis’.

This pine (Pinus sylvestris ‘Beuvronensis’) has been in my possession for about 8 years. In that time, I’ve made some mistakes with it, but it’s a strong tree and always forgave me. It was once a triple trunk. One of my first mistakes was a learning experience about how far you can or can’t bend thick branches. Gradually a trunk and primary branch structure has emerged and it was decided to refine this. One of the main issues, not clearly visible in the pictures is that the tree leans back quite far. This led to a useful discussion into the subtleties of how far forward a tree can lean forward. The tree should not recede nor should it feel aggressively in your face. The next re-pot will be to a more appropriate angle and into a smaller pot. Some of the foliage pads are well developed, while some require more growth, both longer and denser (mainly on the right of the tree).  I look forward to presenting the tree to Peter for further refinement in future.

Thick trunk boxwood

This is a boxwood collected about 3 years ago by Andrew in the woods. It has thrived in past year and it was time to make some decisions. I repotted to the smallest pot I dared and removed some shoots, wired some others. I reduced the dead wood also and tried a bit of carving. I’ll let it recover for the next year.