Revisit: Mountain Hemlock Branch

michael hagedorn

A few years have passed since this hemlock was styled, and it seemed a ripe moment for an update on its progress. It was collected by Anton Nijhuis, and is unusual being a naturally rooted branch off a larger tree.

The first styling was in December 2014 when former apprentice Bobby Curttright was here, and he is featured on the first post about this tree along with a cameo by Matt Reel.

The second post covered the potting in a low rectangle in April 2018, featuring current apprentice Andrew Robson and a few students.

This third post is the latest, and doesn’t feature anyone. I did the trim and detailing in the last photo, and yet there weren’t any cameras around for proof of this.

First styling, 2014

Potting up, 2018

How it looks now, April 2019

In a year’s time the moss has engulfed the akadama-laden muck, and also the…

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MBBD – Call for Participants

Hermanus Bird Club

Once again, I urge members to please join in the fun of the Mini-Birding-Big-Day.  All birders should enjoy the fun of spending a day searching for and identifying our local birds.  You don’t have to do it for 12 hours – just take part – even if for only half the day.  Stop off somewhere for breakfast or lunch, but enjoy yourselves, and then join the other participants for a picnic at Fernkloof afterwards, when you can exchange stories about the day and compare notes!

Ronnie Hazell

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Outing to Meerensee

Hermanus Bird Club


Lester and Ian Glenn led a very enjoyable outing to Meerensee and the surrounding estates this morning.  There were no less than 30 members present and the parking lot reflected this, with 11 vehicles taking up all the space!

We walked around the western edges of the Bot river lagoon and adjacent gardens and managed to record no less than 66 species, despite the cool, windy and sometimes rainy weather.  Perhaps our most interesting sighting was of an immature Cape Cormorant attempting to devour what looked like a snake, but could have been an eel.  It really struggled to swallow the c. 60 cm reptile and even regurgitated it at least once, before making off into the deeper water with its catch.  We never did see how the episode ended.

Our list, which includes birds seen at the Hawston Settling Ponds on the way home, comprised;

African Oystercatcher; African Pipit…

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Some Autumn Colour

Robert Nocher Shohin Bonsai

The autumn colour is over now, for this year, but here are some pictures, which show the best of it in recent weeks.

This Zelcova Serrata never disappoints me


Here are some hawthorns which have performed well this year.


2 maples in development.


My large Japanese beech is starting to look good.


The cotoneaster landscape.


and finally my favourite larch


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Spring is here at last.

Robert Nocher Shohin Bonsai

After last years long cold winter, which went on until May in the hills of southern Scotland, immediately followed by the hottest summer on record; far from ideal growing conditions for small trees in small pots. I’m pleased to say that this year spring has returned when it should do, and even though it can still be very cold at night, most of my trees are beginning to awake from their winter sleep. The tougher species are all outside now in the display area and on the benches but most of the shohin trees are still inside the greenhouse.


Many of you will have noticed that I haven’t posted on the blog for a while. There are a number of reasons for this but the main one is that with advancing years I am not as able as I was to spend  long days outside, working on trees in the…

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