Bonsai Gothenburg (SBR3 Sweden May 2019)

Page 1

The new Bonsai Book for 2019 by Harry Harrington
bonsai4me shop

Bonsai Books· Bonsai Tools· Bonsai For Sale· Carving Tools· Bonsai Pots· Bonsai T-Shirts

Page 1 of 1:

Before and after attending the Spring Scandinavian Bonsai Retreat 3 (SBR3) in Gothenburg, Sweden during May 2019, I had the pleasure of hanging out with bonsai artist Samuel Brierley, and bonsai potters Carina Jern and Thor Holvila.

spruce bonsai

We spent one evening sitting in the early Summer sun, while I styled this small yamadori Picea abies/Norway Spruce bonsai, collected by Thor Holvila near the Artic Circle.

spruce bonsai

Despite its diminutive size, this Spruce could easily be over 90-100 years of age. A tell-tale sign of its age is the dark/black mature bark of the tree that is very different than young Spruce. A life growing in a bog and a harsh climate will have resulted in incredibly slow growth each year over the course of its life.

Spruce bonsai

After styling. The tree is now approximately 8"/20cm in height. Bonsai pot by Thor Holvila.

Oak bonsai

A visit to the garden of Dan Petersson in nearby Boras, and an English Oak bonsai that I originally styled for SBR1 in August 2017. Designed as something of a raft or 'fallen tree' with the upper branches slowly becoming trunks in their own right.

oak bonsai

I took the opportunity to carve and dress some old pruning wounds and chops on the tree.

oak bonsai

After some pruning and detail wiring of new growth, the updated Oak bonsai. Dan has commissioned a bonsai pot from Thor Holvila that should be ready for Spring 2020. Something I am very much looking forward to seeing.

Spruce pine bonsai

Back in the garden of Thor Holvila in Gothenburg itself. Thor has been very busy collected Scots Pine and Norway Spruce yamadori over recent years. Despite the naturally small needles and short internodes, the trees were covered in a lot of extending growth!

spruce bonsai

Thor with a very interesting, but challenging Picea abies/Norway Spruce yamadori he collected high up in northern Sweden. Again, a very old tree.

spruce bonsai

A detail image of the trunk shows the black mature bark and a natural shari running up one of the multiple trunks. The contrast with the fresh green (and edible!) new shoots has great impact.

spruce bonsai

After styling the Spruce yamadori bonsai. I loved working on this tree; strictly speaking it could be seen as 'faulted' as the trunk divides too high up to be considered a traditional twin-trunk. But to remove one of them would have been to remove what made this a naturally beautful tree and my task was to embellish what was already there.

To that end, I gave both trunks their own apex and placed the branches in such a way that they gave the tree movement towards the left.

Relaxing after the SBR3 workshop alongside a large freshwater lake on a mountain above Gothenburg.

samuel brierley bonsai

Sam relaxing by the lake. Being in the mountains is good for the soul, and gives plenty of time and space for contemplation.

pine mountain

Our walk through the mountains themselves; here a large Scots Pine contrasting against a solid granite cliff.


Where trees have grown up near the granite boulders, some have taken on almost montrous shapes after many years of repeated rubbing against the stone during high winds. This oak had calloused so well that it had begun to grip onto the boulder it had been rubbing against.


Another example of an Oak that had begun to grip the rock after many years of repeated abrasion against it during high winds.

bonsai artists

High up on a granite rock overlooking the city of Gothenburg, with Samuel Brierley and Thor Holvila.

juniper bonsai

Just over the edge over the cliff face, a natural Juniper cascade bonsai. This was Juniperus communis/Common Juniper of which there were many on the mountain. All notoriously impossible to collect successfully.

Samuel Brierley

Samuel photographing the trees on the edge of the cliff!