About admin

Hi, my name is Greg Watson but just about everyone calls me Watto. The nickname comes from my sporting life and my work. I have been active in bonsai for more than 20 years, but the level of activity has been determined by how much time I had to devote. Work and sport did take me away from this fine art on and off over the years but I have always come back. I am a lover of decidious trees, both flowering and non-flowering, and I am particually interested in trees that are dug from either the wild or from gardens. I believe I should firstly ensure dug trees grow and prosper and then try to enhance the beauty that Mother Nature has given each plant. Not change them too much, but just highlight the beauty that Mother Nature has started. I have a collection that is too big (probably over 100 trees) and a passion for bonsai pots that my darling wife calls "worrying". Of course if you have trees, you need pots - its that simple. I am a member of the Goulburn Bonsai Society Inc and a member of the Ausbonsai family. I really enjoy getting out and looking at bonsai, talking about bonsai and being engulfed by the bonsai spirit. I hope you enjoy my trees.

A Few New Pots

One of the great things about making pots is the opportunity to make a pot for a specific tree, and the thrill if that comes true. You know, the tree actually looks good in the pot made for it.

So a kiln opening brings much anticipation as well as excitement and when you see your work come out you are either proud or think you could have done better. Under the tutelage of my teacher I think I have improved and I am really enjoying the process.

The results of this kiln opening are an improvement and I am pleased, and as such here are a few photos.

The rock wall look
Another rock wall look
This is for an Australian native and has a mulberry ask glaze
More classical style
A small classical look pot. I think the glaze turned out quite nice

It will be a few months before another kiln opening so that will teach me some patience.

Taxus Baccata – English Yew

One of the great benefits of being part of a bonsai society is the opportunity to talk with other members about trees you are having difficulty with. This Yew is one such tree.

It was purchased from the owner of a closed nursery and they had no further use for a couple of yews and this is one of them. When I first bought them the height was about three metres and I had to cut it down to two metre just to get them home. After that this one was cut down again to about one metre and some branches that were unhealthy converted into jins. This tree then sat for a couple of years gaining strength.

The growth pattern of this tree caused me to wonder how best to style it so I took it along to a meeting of the local bonsai society and a couple of people assisted me in finding a style and direction. That was a couple of months ago and I only got around to commencing the styling recently but I think it now has a future and I hold great hope for its continued development. As all bonsai demonstrators say now, just five years of refinement before it will be anything.

So on to the few photos of a very enjoyable day.

How it looked before work started. I was thinking this might be the front prior to the discussions at the bonsai meeting
I thought the nabari looked OK and if I removed a couple of old jins the taper would be improved
The other side showing all the old jins. Either of these two sides could have made a reasonable front, one with the jins peeking through the foliage and one with the jins dominate in the front of the piece.
After much discussion it was decided this would make the best front, jins on one side and the foliage on the other
Interestingly it comes with its own accent plant!
A tilt, a trim and some wire and it was on its way
More trimming and more wire
The first stage completed for now. Time for it to recover before winter hits. The next stage will be to put it in a pot to reflect the new angle and then the next trimming in about December
The standard size conparison

Australian Plants as Bonsai Exhibition – Part 3

This is a short post and only has my display that was in the exhibition. I went to considerable lengths to design a display that was different to the usual and to put it mildly was quite “miffed” when I saw it set up around the wrong way, completely destroying the feel I wanted to engender. It was set up correctly in the staging area but some how got messed up in the process of moving. That said you would imagine that the experienced people who set up this exhibition would know the subtlety in how a box stand must look but alas I was very disappointed.

Anyway, here is my display for the exhibition even though it is set the wrong way around.

Bottlebrush and wattle with an Australian flowering accent.

The box stand was made with the Shou Sugi Ban technique and the colour of the stand is the natural effect of that process and although it looks black in the photo up close you can see the natural indentations and wood grain.

Australian Plants as Bonsai Exhibition – Part 2

There was robust discussion amongst visitors about the use of figurines and other accents that were used as part of the exhibition. While I am not a big fan of plastic sheep and cows being used I personally didn’t really see these “additives” and just concentrated on the trees first, then the pots and onto the stands. I think that might put me in the league of an old timer?

Eucalyptus nichollii – this told me a story
Melaleuca “Claret Tops” – I have seen this bonsai before and every time it gets better
Coast banksia – I think this has a lot of potential and look forward to seeing it displayed in the future
Saw banksia – I liked it!
Three different Eucalyptus all with exfoliating bark. A very unique and interesting display
Kunzea – a very Australian display
Kunzea – a very artistic display and could only be improved by a new pot. Loved it.
Sticky wattle – interesting tree and great rock but I wasn’t sure if they were a match, only time will tell as it matures. This won the peoples choice award.
Eucalyptus elata – the tree of the show in my opinion

Australian Plants as Bonsai Exhibition

This event was held at the Australian National Botanic Gardens in Canberra on 27 and 28 February 2021. I have been to most of these exhibitions over the years and I thought the quality of the trees on display was the best so far, so well done to the artists whose trees we all enjoyed.

Following are a few of the trees on display. I was curious why there were quite a few bonsai where the apex moved away from the viewer, it made the displays appear to be falling over (backwards) but maybe that was just me.

Lilly Pilly
Blueberry ash – a really good bonsai in my opinion
Coastal tea tree – I liked this one too
Banksia – I thought this would be improved by a new/different pot
Eucalyptus cinerea – loved the wild bush look of this display
Kunzea
Tea tree – I really liked this one too
Sticky wattle – very different but it had something going for it
Kunzea
Tea tree
Saw banksia
Kunzea
Forest she oak
Kunzea
Eucalyptus
Eucalyptus
Bottlebrush
Banksia

Hawthorn

One of my favorite trees and took a photo just for fun. I particularly like the nabari and the aged bark. The ramification is improving each year and now looks quite good in winter. I enjoy this tree at all times of year and I hope you enjoy this late summer photo.

As this is the last day of summer this is the last photo in the series. I hope you have enjoyed these.

Olive

This olive came from South Australia and was a gift from a friend, good friend.

I have been trying to develop this for a few years now and I recognise it stills needs work but it is on track to being better. Removing the straightness of the first left branch would be a good start.

Azalea

This poor old thing is wild and bushy so therefore in need of some love and attention.

I took the photo so I could keep a track of its progression over the years and also as a reminder to take better care of it. In saying that I appreciate that some times you need to let a tree “grow out” to get some strength and hopefully it will be better off for that experience.

It does need a repot and some new potting medium may also assist in its strength building.

Quince

I think this is a Chinese quince however I am not sure. It was dug a couple of years ago from a property in the hills, from what I would describe as an abandoned garden. Anyway I was very grateful to be able to get this stock.

Last year I planted it into this pot that I made and I think it looks OK. Many years of development to go but it is on its way.

Field Maple

I have three maples of differing varieties that sit on the same bench at my place, a Japanese maple, a trident maple and this field maple (Acer campestre) and I like the display that they portray.

They all need some work but when they sit up there side by side its like a family get together.