Chicken proofing

We decided to get chickens again this year. Everyone who has the slightest experience with these animals and gardening will attest to the sheer destructive capability these little feathery assholes have. They are fun to have around, the eggs taste wonderful, but in essence they are pigs with feathers. They’ll eat anything, anywhere, any moment. Needless to say having a collection of Bonsai within their reach is not a good thing. The fresh buds for the coming spring taste like a nice autumn salad for them so they have to be protected.

The culprits, being all “I don’t give a fuck” in the garden:20161024_142211

Since it’s too much fun having them free and enjoying their life around the house, I didn’t want to have them locked up. Winter is coming and the trees need to be moved close to the house to protect them from the occasionally harsh Dutch winter anyways, so we devised a solution. It’s not pretty but it does the job. Coming spring I’ll make some nice Bonsai-benches out of their reach and post the result here. For now this will do, a bit of fence and a few sticks placed firmly in the ground so the young buds are protected from their ever prying beaks.20161024_142303

Autumn colours

As it is almost mandatory this season, some nice autum pics of the trees. I Always like seeing the leaves change.

Maples in particular always give a colour show.20161024_123852

One of the European Beeches looks quite nice this year too.20161024_123912

An American Oak that is particulary vibrant in the rain, wish the leaves would get smaller though but this species is really hard to make anywhere near Bonsai-like. I keep it for fun and giggles regardless.20161015_114907

And a Zelkova that is one of my favourites.20161024_124007



#Hipster Garden pictures

There’s nothing you can do about it, after summer comes fall. I personally like fall, it’s a nice time to look back at the growing season and to prepare for next summer. The work you do in fall pays off next year. To look back at a lovely summer I’d like to show some (heavily filtered) pictures of my garden this year.

Naughty little shroom.20160704_163758

The roses.20160624_203403

The corner under the apple tree.20160613_162554

The garden shed being taken over.20160612_161724

My (unused) anvil.20160612_153920


Mallsai Zelkova progression

It started two years ago. As a leaving present at my last job I got a scrappy little Zelkova mallsai. For those unfamiliar with the word, a mallsai is a mass produced bonsai sold in big garden centres that are generally produced in China by people wanting to make easy money. Obviously there is nothing wrong with that but these trees do tend to be barely alive when sold across the ocean. Most of the time they are grown in very bad soil with nearly no drainage and the pots are too small and heavily rootbound. When left untouched a tree like this generally dies within a few years. Garden centres call them Bonsai but in the state they are sold they’re as much a bonsai as I am a supermodel. Their style can be best described as what a uninformed person, say a child, would deem to be a Bonsai. I think the (horrible quality) picture below says enough.


Regardless of quality I was very happy with the little fella. Mostly because it was given by people I worked with for 6 years and getting something that lasts from them is a lovely gesture, but also because a little tree like this can completely transform when you give it some attention. Also quite often they are Zelkovas which is a really good breed for Bonsai that is very rewarding to work with and reacts well to pruning and proper care. Another upside of Zelkovas is that they have good ramification and leaf size to start with making it a lot easier to look Bonsai-esque than  most other european deciduous trees (Beeches, Oaks, Hornbeams).

A bigger pot, some light pruning, a nice root treatment and fresh well-drained soil with a bit of fertiliser. And within two summers you can see the effect already.


The tree is much fuller and is teeming with dense foiliage that is on it’s way to proper Bonsai quality ramification and form. The only thing I did was to remove the most bottom branch and angled the trunk a bit forward. The pictures below are from this summer, only 3 summers after I got it.


And there you go, on it’s way to be a proper Bonsai! And that for just €40,-, a bit of soil and a fresh pot. If you know what you’re doing it’s by far the easiest and cheapest (time-wise) way to get some good trees into your collection.


Weird Japan

Ok, just one more Japan post, for now. This time just a few assorted photos of things you’ll only find in Japan.

20150817_233252Tommy Lee Jones being all badass selling hot coffee, in a can, from a machine naturally.

20150813_182533A flushing sound machine for when you don’t want to fart throught the thin walls. A very common option on most toilets.

20150818_021634Obviously a secondary panel with the other toilet essentials can’t be missed. Even train station toilets are this advanced, and clean enough to eat from -every other country in the world, I hope you take this as a lesson.

20150820_195334Plastic food in restaurants to choose from.

20150809_215503And always a warehouse closeby where sensitive people can get their daily epileptic seizure. Nice and cramped with a shelf of fireworks somewhere in the back.