Club meeting in pictures 15/08/2020 — Munster Bonsai Club

Club meeting in pictures 15/08/2020 — Munster Bonsai Club

Well it has been a number of years since I last attended a Munster Bonsai Club meeting and I must say that it was great to see some old faces and meet some fellow enthusiasts also.

It was great to walk around Marks really impressive Bonsai garden again and to get an insight to some of his trees. It was a really good and friendly meeting. It has been a credit to the lads in Munster Bonsai to see the development and progression over the last number of years.

I look forward to being a part of this club again and learning through workshops and the monthly meetings. And of course, having the craic.

Which pine species can I decandle? — Bonsai Tonight

Decandling is a great technique for refining selected pine species trained as bonsai. At its most basic, decandling refers to the removal of spring growth with the aim of stimulating summer growth (see “Decandling” for details). Decandling a Japanese black pine As great as this technique is, its application is limited to a small number…

Which pine species can I decandle? — Bonsai Tonight

Gougane Barra

Recently went for a walk with the family in Gougane Barra. It is the place where the famous River Lee begins its journey into Cork City and the location where St Finbarr built a monastery on the little island situated to the left of the lake. This was constructed during the times of Penal Law. One of the items within this law which was prohibited, was to celebrate Roman Catholic mass. Being so remote meant it was very popular with Irish Catholics who could celebrate mass with possibly less of a fear of being apprehended and punished for doing so.

When people ever visit cork i always say you should take a spin down to Gougan Barra. The scenery is suberb especially on a clear and sunny day. And it is a photographers dream for capturing beautiful shots with so many elements in one place.

What is really interesting is the forest walks. Now being with 6 children there is only so far you can venture. As what is always in the back of your mind when walking with kids is, how far you travel, it seems twice as long on the way back. Everyone is tired, looking for hiddybacks, plasters, water. You swear you were traveling through the Sahara. So taken the short distance we could travel I managed to capture some nice shots on the phone of the walk into the woods. I didn’t take any pictures of the lake or church. As I have done so many times in the past and with the chaos of walking with 6 kids all under 6, you can imagine you are pulled from pillar to post. The kids thoroughly enjoyed the walk as it was a lovely day and they love looking at trees and letting their imagination run riot of bears and wolves in the forest. Now myself and the wife may have had something to do with that, but its all part of exploring the woods as kids.

There are many native species of flaura and fauna and over 20 species of trees. Notably Scots pine, Japanese Larch, Sitka Spruce and Lodgepole Pine. On reading more on the woods i discovered that in 2014 the woods was temporarily closed to allow for the felling of over 16,000 trees mostly larches, infected with or susceptible to Phytophthora ramorum a pathogen responsible for Sudden Oak Death (Thank you wikipedia). Some of which you can see in the below picture.

If you ever manage to get to Cork in the south of Ireland I would definetly recommend a trip to Gougane Barra. I hope you enjoy the pictures of some of the trees and landscape.

Some sheep finding shelter, on the banks of the lake.
Inspecting a little waterfall.

5 Years of Absence

You often hear the term “Absence makes the heart grow fonder”, well this is certainly the case for me.

I haven’t posted a single item in 5 years and 1 month. I couldn’t believe it when I went back to check my last post. They also say, (whoever they are…) that “Time flies when your having fun. During my 5 year leave of absence from bonsai and writing on this blog, there has been many times of laughter, times of joy and also times of difficulty, everyone can relate I am sure. But these past 5 years have seen a change more specifically, regarding my own family. When I last wrote a post in July 2015 I had 2 children, Noah and Maria. Since then our family has grown with the arrival of 4 more beautiful children, Aaron, Nathan, Samuel and only three months ago, in the height of the Covid-19 outbreak along came Sienna. Many other things have happened, but this I suppose has been the highlight of the past 5 years for my wife and I. So to say we have a busy house is an understatement. It is complete chaos at times but it is always vibrant and full of noise and full of life you might say.

The past few weeks though I started to look back on this blog. You see, even though life seemed full and always 100 miles per hour some days, I always missed bonsai. Just the ability to switch off and go out to the garden and water the trees in the evening. To listen to the water drip off the bench and experience the aroma of pine and juniper when admiring them up close. The ability to go and sit down in front of one of my trees and get lost in the possibilities and outcomes time could have on it. The excitement of discovering some raw material in a nursery. The desire to learn as much as you possibly can in books, club meetings and youtube videos. And the one that always stands out with me, is the spotting of potential yamadori while driving through the mountains or in the country side, even walking through the local forest. Even though I may not have been practicing our learning bonsai during this time, that never leaves you. Once bitten, I think it is true to say, you are left with a mark. All the above is laughable by someone who has not discovered the beauty and just how addictive bonsai can be.

So you could say I have been pining, pardon the pun over the chance to start fresh again. To start building a collection of bonsai slowly. To take time to learn and practice. To do it right. Any of the trees I had before I put away the scissors, was given to one of the lads in Munster Bonsai Club. And to be honest I hadn’t anything special to look at or of great value, but they were more sentimental as I had spent a a number of years working on, learning, making mistakes etc.

So now I have an opportunity to start again, and begin this journey of learning bonsai and hopefully with time developing my knowledge. I look forward to hopefully attending the club which I had helped to start way back with Piotr. Which is still going strong due to the dedication, consistency and love of bonsai by its members.

And of course I look forward to recording the journey, one step of a time, as I do believe there are so many people in Ireland looking to start or like me, maybe looking for that little push to get back into bonsai. The more that we can share and write about this passion on our little island the greater the possibility more people will hopefully follow.

Hopefully the next post wont take another 5 years……