June Meeting MBC

So on the 23rd of June which is also Bonfire night in Cork, we had the June meeting of the Munster Bonsai Club. A small gathering but a gathering none the less. And peter back from his honeymoon, Congratulations.

Heres the substitute room ready for the night.

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Now with a few of the lads after arriving.

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It didn’t take long before we moved the operation outside.

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Piotr looking fine and relaxed, again 🙂

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Peter tipping away.

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And now some of the trees we worked on during the meeting.

Piotr’s Trident Maple

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Peter’s Black Pine

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Mark getting the lighting just right 🙂

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Mark’s Beech grouping. Still deciding which is the front. Option 1

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And Option 2. I like this one.

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My little juniper got a Jin.

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Mark’s Silver Birch, which he grew from seed.

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And Piotr’s Little Pine. looking lovely

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So it was decided that we would meet during the summer to keep our club alive 🙂 We will be meeting next on the 14th of July.

 

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My Hinoki Cypress Update

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This is my Chamaecyparis Obtusa Nana Gracilis. I acquired it just over a year now from a small garden center in the middle of no where, it was just sitting in the corner minding its own business until i came along. The garden center owner was more than happy to sell it cheap, I think I paid 6 or 8 euro in the end for it.

I have not attempted to style it in anyway, only keep it alive and healthy. When I first got it I reduced the size of the pot it came in by cutting the top down and removing a small amount of top soil. On doing so I revealed the second trunk and a nice enough small natural shari. I reduced it further this year to get to the base of the trunk.

I just pinched the new growth to allow sunlight to penetrate to the inner branches, as I have heard a Hinoki will never back bud on old wood. I was hoping to maybe begin to style it this summer and repot it next summer as I don’t know how long it has over stayed its visit in the pot it is in. Anyway here is some photos I have been meaning to up load a while since starting the Blog.

I really like this shot from underneath

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Some growth I am trying to protect and encourage

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From above

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Just need to decide now where to start with styling. Plenty of thought and research before hand ;)

At the Munster Bonsai Club workshop, i had the oppurtunity for Ian and Phil from NIBS to have a look at this and see what they thought.

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After some discussion it was decided to remove the lower branch and begin to wire it.

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It was decided the whole tree needed to be wired in the end, with help from Ian it finally got done, Here me grooming my balded tree 🙂

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The before image

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The after image, Finally 🙂

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So that’s where the tree stood after our workshop in January 2014. And heres how it looked after a few weeks..

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And here it is in May 2014. Starting to fill out a bit.

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Here is the pot i have recieved from Phil In the Northern Ireland Bonsai Society.

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So after a bit of deliberation we decided to have a look at the roots and see what can be done to get one step closer to this pot.

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There was quite a lot of long roots wrapping around the pot. So we removed any heavy roots that we didnt need,

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Me and Piotr getting stuck in.

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When we got through a lot of the roots we could move out of the way the main tap root was quite strong and hindered the potting chances of going into a shallow pot. Just like what i have. The decision was to remove what we could without compromising the health of the tree. As we removed earth and roots we discovered what we had originally thought was the nebari was just the beginning of the nebari. It turned out to be quite powerful. A major bonus. Although what i had originally set as the front may be changed due to the find.

Here is a shot of the newly discovered nebari.

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It was decided to cut down the original pot and place it back in their untill new roots had developed and we could look at removing more of that heavy main root. Probably next season. Anyway i was able to put the tree into some nice akadama i had recieved also from Phil (Major plug for phil, top man for supplies in Ireland)

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it turned out we had cut the pot too short so we had to put some of the trimming back on.

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So here it is after stage one of root trimming. Quite happy to have found that inside the pot.

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So thats how the tree looked after the club meeting. A few days later i decided the time had come to remove the wire that was on the tree since january as i was quite close to biting in. Here was the tree in the end of may 2014. Ready to remove the wire.

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A look at some of the wire

 

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I think this is the first time I can truly say that i badly need proper tools. I have seen how nothing compares to proper concave cutters or wire cutters that snip right at the tip of the cutting blade. It makes a massive difference and I am in the process to get my hands on a decent kit, especially after the time it took me to carefully remove the wire without damaging the branches. I should have known from being a mechanic that the right tools make all the difference.

 

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Heres the tree with the wire removed

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And a look around the side and back

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A closer look at a jin that hasn’t recieved any lime sulphur yet.

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When we removed the hinoki from its pot and rmoved some roots and soil, we discovered this lump of nebari. since its not wet and dried since the last photos i said i would take some photos and show you it a bit closer.

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So thats the newly acquired nebari, that we didnt even know existed. That were the tree stands at the moment.

 

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Next step now is to re wire the tree the coming week. Should be fun 🙂

 

 

Munster Bonsai Club May Meeting

So that time of the month has rolled around again and we were not lucky enough to have acquired a room in our usual location. In the end we ended up having the meeting in my house. Which is only two mins from the original destination, which makes it easier as everyone more or less knew where to go and we saved a few bob (money) in the process. Anyway it turned out to be just four of us, and it was still quite a busy night. We had plenty to talk about and had a bit of time to get our hands dirty. Thanks to my little Hinoki. Everyone had a tree to work on, and some got a nice few haircuts.

I was gutted that i missed the workshop last month, and felt the effect of not having a regular meeting regarding bonsai. It really does give you a jolt and a buzz about the trees that may just be sitting there not getting any attention in our busy schedule. The last two months for me felt as if there was no bonsai club, but it really does show you how lucky we are to have it. Just a space to talk bonsai, and nothing else for 2 or 3 hours. You feel on cloud bonsai afterwards. I felt like going straight out afterwards and dig up that juniper down the road. I had to restrain my self. Believe me. It really is brilliant that we have this club. Especially when i see Ray drive over two hours to get to the meeting, Fair play to him. I have it easy, but most the lads have to travel.

When i think back over the course of the past few years and having no club, especially when i am so new to bonsai it makes a huge difference to have a club. It can really drive you on. Anyway rant over, I am going to show some of the photos i took the other night of the meeting. Which i must say i find hard to get time to take as all Im interested in is talking and looking at trees.

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Ray and piotr getting settled in.

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Where to start?

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My Hinoki and its future pot, thanks Phil 🙂

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Out of its pot and ready to get a trim down below.

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Look at the new pot

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Piotr getting stuck in

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Getting raked

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Well that was unexpected

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Back in the room in its original pot halved.

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Ghostly Ray and Peter

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My tree stage one complete.

March Club Meeting

Yet another month has passed, and another bonsai club meeting. We met in the usual place as we always do and had small enough numbers with 5. But all in all it didnt matter there was plenty of chat and craic about everything Bonsai.

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We then had a talk about everyones trees individually against are great backdrop. Will have to get a proper one for the next meeting and some decent lighting. I hear blue is the colour to go with 🙂

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Big Squamata Juniper

Well the juniper which was in my wifes parents house has been finally taken out of the ground. I had originally taken photos of where the tree was originally planted but cant seem to find them at the moment. What i do have are photos of the tree planted in its nice new soil.

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Making new Drain holes

 

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Need to wire tree in place

 

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Tree in Pot Wired down from different angles

 

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A closer look

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Nice natural sharis everywhere

 

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Natural little Jin

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So thats my juniper, that will hopefully make quite a nice bunjin at some stage in the future. The plan is to allow it to survive hopefully in its new environment. I will leave it for a year or two and then look at some options then.

 

 

Our First Club Workshop

Well Bonsai Christmas in Cork has passed for another few months. All the excitement packed away into the back off Phil’s van back up to Belfast. The build up to this workshop felt like it lasted forever, and of course the weekend just flew. There was so much anticipation on the run up the our workshop it was hard for it not to drag. But the wait was more than worth it.

Ian and Phil drove the long journey down from the Belfast to get us started on Friday night. The lads began with setting up the room with loads of bonsai goodies.

I have put up my own photos taken during the two days, and some from Ian, Ray, and Piotr. Hope ye dont mind lads 🙂

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Ian having a quiet moment to himself

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Phil sorting the tables

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Everything from trees, soil mix, pots, tools, wire and even bonsai magazines.

Then the club assembled for the start of two days of everything bonsai.

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I arrived late from work and didnt hear the end of it till i was going home on sat 🙂

What time do you call this?

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There was a critique on club members trees and a demonstration on a pine the lads brought down from the north.

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Mark and Peter look for styling options with the tree.

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After the pine was fully wired by Phil, we were asked for our own interpretation on what way the tree should be styled.

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We all got a chance to demonstrate our artistic side and draw what we thought, and stick it in the pot.

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Phil goes to work

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And shows us multitasking

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It turned out everyone had a different interpretation. Even the way the tree ended up none of us had before hand envisaged.

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Just to sit there listen was enough. I had a smile on my face that a slap of a pineapple wouldn’t remove. But the second day came where things were getting serious. Where we had to bring our own trees and work on them. This is a great way to learn new techniques and skills that are just difficult to read from a book. At first everyone introduced there tree and gave a brief history on it.

Marks Larch

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Peters 5 needle pine

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Rays Big Pine

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Matt’s Lonicera

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Piotrs Yew

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My Hinoki

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Than Ian and Phil looked over it and asked us what we wanted from the tree today. I must say there was such a variation of stuff it was great to get such a vast spread of trees in one room.

After the evaluation we sat at our benches and began to work. What a great experience.

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Ian and Mark working on Mark’s Larch

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Ray with the pine

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Phil just cant wait to bend this beauty

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Matt and Peter working hard

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Piotr grafting away with his yew

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Me with my chopped hinoki

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Group shot

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Ray with his pine

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Ian and Piotr

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I had decided to work on my hinoki cypress which i have been looking at on my bench for two years unknowing what to do with it. It didn’t take long before the lads gave me the encouragment i needed to start cutting.

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I cut a branch which i was determining to remove for two years in two seconds.

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The lads helped with decision on wiring and Ian got well involved, to the point i thought it was going in the back of the van to belfast as well 🙂 I was so impressed with the finished product. Even though its just the beginning of this trees life as a bonsai.

Some before and afters

Peters 5 needle pine before

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And After

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Matt’s Lonicera before

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And after

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My Hinoki Cypress before

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And after

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Piotr’s Yew before

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And after

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Ray’s Big Pine after

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Mark’s Larch after

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Everyone worked on one or more trees that day. And everyone came away with something. I must say i thought it was a great two days,and i must say a massive thank you to Ian and Phil for the long journey, and all the help and advice over the two days. Well done lads, you have just helped the bonsai addiction reach epidemic proportions for us down here in the Munster Bonsai Club.

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The Irish Interest In Bonsai

For the last two years I have been engaged in Bonsai, I have wondered why there is such a lack of Interest in relation to Bonsai on the Emerald Isle. I was confused when i discovered the amount of clubs in our neighboring United Kingdom and yet we had not a single club in The Republic of Ireland.

You see when I got bitten by the bug, i looked for anything in relation at all to bonsai here in Ireland. I was expecting shops, nurseries, clubs and societies. But with all my enthusiasm I was left as a spectator to nurseries, workshops, club meets and more just across the narrow Irish Sea. All I could find was the cheap mass produced stuff in Tesco and a few local garden centers. So why the big difference?

Has it something to do with demographics? The fact the population is much greater? No I cant imagine that being the reason there is no club in the South of Ireland. Tenerife has quite a large bonsai community and has less than 1 million inhabitants. So it must have nothing to do with Population.  Are we Irish just cautious of anything that originates from outside the Island? Quite possible, but why since the spread of the art form from east to west the past century has bonsai been so poorly received in this country? I thought Mr Miyagi would have been a good ambasador. But even Mr Miyagi himself couldn’t spread bonsai like it is in Great Britain. That’s not to say there is no love of bonsai in Ireland, quite the contrary.

When i did a bit of research, I discovered there was a Bonsai Shop in PowersCourt Shopping Center, Dublin. Worth a visit as there is no other shop in the country dedicated solely to Bonsai. On more investigation I discovered there was an Irish web page named bonsai.ie. Bonsai.ie is mainly dedicated to Japanese Culture, but had quite a good few articles and contacts regarding Bonsai in Ireland. The man behind Bonsai.ie Paul Masterson put me in contact with many people around the country who were interested in bonsai. And he continues to be a great ambassador for spreading the art of bonsai around the country. But what I really wanted I suppose was a club, shop or nursery in Cork or somewhere close. I know you might say I’m asking a lot. But then again am I really asking to much?

When I discovered Ian’s Bonsai Blog I found that there was a club in the North of Ireland in Belfast. The Northern Ireland Bonsai Society, aka NIBS. Its only then I realised Ian was quite famous 😉

 

I then realised there was a bonsai Scene in Ireland. It might be 400 km away but there was a place that had regular club meets, workshops and enthusiasts. I couldn’t believe it. Again there was a club but quite a journey to make the meets. I watched the videos that Ian uploaded to youtube of workshops and Bonsai schools with Peter Snart from Willowbog Bonsai. I thought that NIBS was brilliant and wished we had something like this down south. Here is quite an interesting video on the history of The Northern Ireland Bonsai Society.

 

I remember being in Venice on my Honeymoon a year and a half ago sitting inside a internet cafe, checking my emails to see had any more people contacted me in relation to starting up a bonsai club. Myself and Piotr met this summer discussing plans to get something off the ground. We both started blogs, to further the attention bonsai may receive in Ireland. And to great extent it helped to gain momentum in laying a foundation. The blog helped me not only to get in contact with other bonsai enthusiasts but also to keep my motivation to gain knowledge and constantly learn.

A couple of months ago I posted a link from Bonsai Empire, showing a map of Bonsai Interest worldwide. And to no surprise The Republic of Ireland showed to have no interest on the map. Here it is below.

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But only recently I have looked back at the website,and there has been an updated version of the map. And now Ireland is in the shaded. I thought this Indicated that Bonsai Interest had risen in our country. But it turns out its by continent. Still though its good to see us in the shaded area 🙂 oh what pleases me.

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Well even though it might just be by continent I believe we deserve some shade in the next update. Partially due to the fact e we have started to get the ball rolling in the south. With the help of Ian from the Northern Ireland Bonsai Society, Paul Masterson from Bonsai.ie, and myself and Piotr down in Cork. In September the Munster Bonsai Club was initiated

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We have people travelling from all over Munster to the club meetings. All the contacts that have been floating around the past few years have finally come together to create something. Something which hopefully in 20 years can have the experience of the NIBS. Something that will be a foundation to build on for the rest of the country.

Only last Month the Bonsai Ireland Hub was set up by Paul Masterson. It is a base for the whole country to discuss everything bonsai.

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From the four corners of Ireland there are enthusiasts, waiting for a club to begin in their own region. There has been people coming out of the woodwork the past few months that have been involved with Bonsai for 20 years. Like Mark in Cork, who was part of the original Cork Bonsai Club, which we didn’t even know existed. Here i have been searching for people the past two years and this gentleman only live ten minutes from my house and has a vast collection of bonsai. In two weeks we have our First workshop thanks to Ian and Philip from NIBS. In the space of a few months we have come along way.

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So the conclusion I come to regarding the interest of bonsai in Ireland I believe comes down to one thing. Spreading the Art of Bonsai. After World War 2, if bonsai did not spread to the western world, its popularity in Europe, Asia, and even America wouldn’t be what it is today. We probably wouldn’t be speaking about this topic right now. It all comes down to word of mouth, shows, bonsai clubs, societies, advertising on and off the web and just causing a fuss about bonsai. Our sister club NIBS started the ball rolling in the North and we hope to continue that passion in the South. We have a lot more work to catch up with the UK in terms of accessibility to clubs, nurseries and workshops. But with the right communication and organising we can put Ireland even more on the Bonsai Map.

Heres looking forward to what 2014 has to offer and what we have to offer Ireland in regards of Bonsai 😉

2013 A Great Year in Pictures

Well this year like any year had its ups and downs. But this was a great year where the ups surpassed the downs. There were new people brought in to the world and many left. There were many smiles and laughs, even though sometimes accompanied by tears. My family this year not only increased in numbers but changed for the foreseeable future.

Early on in the year my Wife and I discovered we were expecting our first child for October. That 9 months couldn’t have went fast enough (although my wife might disagree there 🙂 ) Within the 9 months we had many great days and nights awaiting the arrival of our son. 

Here he is at 3 months

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In April Brad our family Dog at home died at the age of 15.

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Within the 9 months waiting for the baby I tried to keep myself occupied with bonsai and photography. With the photography I went out many times with a friends of mine Dave Linehan and Stephen Hackett. Dave Showing us the ropes :). 

Blue Bells at Ballyannan Woods.

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Blackrock Castle

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Carol and the Bump, Ballycotton

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There are loads of photos from this year but probably already uploaded. But when the summer came so did the good weather. And my Pool 🙂

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During the Year I was trying to establish contacts in Cork and the surrounding areas. I had many contacts with people up the country but not so many in Cork. Of course Ian http://bonsaieejit.com/ in the North was more than encouraging in the area of spreading the love of Bonsai in the south :). He helped very much with putting me in contact with more people around the country and laid the foundation for a club to be built on. 

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Early on in the Year I met with Piotr http://twinsratbonsai.wordpress.com/ and we discussed how we could reach out to the people of munster who love bonsai to form a club.We took the summer planning and discussing Bonsai. Piotr set up a blog and then I followed suit. Hoping to get more people involved. And slowly but surely we did. We gathered a lot of interest and made new friends. And since we had a number of people from munster who were interested, and we formed the Munster Bonsai Club.

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In September we had our first meeting.

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And on the third friday of every month the club has met. Now since then i was not able to go as our little man came in to the world on the 4th of October. And that was the focus of my attention for the last 3 months.

It was the most amazing Experience of my life. Watching Noah come in to this world. What a gift. After he was born it was discovered he had pneumonia. We had to stay in the Neonatal Unit for a week. It was some experience. I must say the nurses and doctors that work there really have a calling. During our stay which was quite emotional at the start turned out to be a great experience as we met many wonderful parents and Noah made some new friends.

The Day he was Born

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In the Neonatal

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And Noah now.

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Now since the Birth of Noah, he has kept us on our toes. But every morning waking up to see his smile is worth every scare and sleepless night.

In January Munster Bonsai Club will have its first workshop. Being headed by Ian Young and Phil Donnelly. This I cant wait for.

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Anyway this has been an amazing year, and hopefully 2014 will be the same. I just want to wish everyone that checks and follows my blog A Very Happy New Year.

Regards Adam

Munster Bonsai Club Demo/Workshop

Munster Bonsai club will be having our first demo/workshop on the 17th and 18th of January. This is a 1st of its kind in the south of Ireland for quite a long time. It will be lead by Ian Young and Phil Donnelly of the Northern Ireland Bonsai Society. It is shaping up to be a memorable two days.

If you are interested or know of someone who might be, no matter what experience don’t hesitate to ask or get in contact.

For more information check out the flyer below.

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Our First Club Meeting

Well the first bonsai club meeting to happen in Cork in the past ten years, took place tonight, and what a night it was. Ten people came to our meeting from all part of Cork, Kilkenny and Clare. There is a great mixture from Novice being myself up to people doing bonsai for years. The night started with everyone getting to know each other, and then we moved on to talk Bonsai. We discussed each others trees and shared our thoughts on them. It was a great bunch of lads and the next meeting will be only better.

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Discussing Trees 🙂

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Adrian and Piotr discussing his tree.

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Owen, Matt an Peter looking at Matt’s tree.

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Matt’s little Tree

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Matt’s Cypress in his patented pot 🙂

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Peter’s Common Beech

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Ray’s Scott’s Pine

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Peter’s Little White Pine

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Marks very nice Larch

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Nice little Cone (not acorn thanks Ian 🙂 ) on the Larch

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Adrian’s Scott’s Pine

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Piotr’s Cypress on a slab

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So all in all we had a great night, and many more to look forward to. Our next meeting will be on the 18th of October. We will meet on the third friday of every month. If you are fanatic or just have an interest, you are more than welcome to come and join our club. Well done lads we finally have a club and this is the first step to hopefully a great club. Thanks to everyone who came and made it their club and to Ian in Belfast for all his advice. Roll on the next meeting 😉