Finland hosted the first bonsai workshop, with Chris Thomas

…at least according to the data I have, this is the first official bonsai workshop in Finland with the teacher beside the shorter visit by Tony Tickle around 2 years ago πŸ™‚

7 of us participated on 21-22.04.2018 in the workshop and it was really a pleasure getting the feedback from someone who actually understands the subject and sees at once where we are making mistakes. Learning does not proceed without making mistakes, right?

At once when Chris saw my trees he noticed that more fertilizer is needed. That showed to be a generic problem with all of us and the lack of fertilizer was mostly visible with junipers. Already by watching several videos on bonsai Mirai I was of impression that I underfeed my trees. Had no clue that the word “under” is heavier than I thought. Now we got direct suggestions from Chris so we hope it will fix at least some of our problems.

In the beginning I was concerned that we will “eat Chris alive” with our demands/questions/wishes. In the end it was us who were exhausted πŸ˜€ The working day was 10:00-19:00 but Chris would start already at 9 and on Sunday he “forced” JanTam and me to visit the nearby area under the power lines and collect a couple of pines. It was good to see how he does it. Looked like we are not making a mistake in mechanical procedure of collecting but the aftercare might need some modifications.


Here are just some:

Chris with all participants






More photos behind the links:

Puuhaalijat flickr

Juhos photos


I reserved 2 of my trees for the workshop but agile Chris helped me with more than just the two πŸ™‚

The main I wanted to do something about was a small mugo pine, an urban yamadori. It has nice deadwood but weird branches I never managed to fit into any of my design ideas. The tree was long and stretched and it all the time suggested the cascade which I didn’t somehow “see”. Chris at once saw the parts which are making sense and I am more than happy what we did with it (well, we can say “what Chris did”, I just wired and suggested what I do/don’t like and he followed my own opinion. I liked that!).





Someone mentioned that it looks like an elephant due to the tusks and I agree. I guess it just got the name πŸ™‚

It still needs carving the “tusks” and the main deadwood of the trunk. Nothing was done on them yet.

The other tree is the ball silver spruce (Picea pungens “Glauca Globosa”) I got cheaply in a garden center. A tree which was somewhat bent and didn’t fit into anyones garden design, a better match for us πŸ™‚

The photo of at that moment not yet completed spruce, not a good photo:


In the middle of the work

With this one I had an opinion what to do but I think what Chris did is much better. I continued to prune it down after the first structural styling. A long way for this tree but I am happy with the results.

The end

Thank you Chris! The workshop succeeded the best way it could. Now is up to us how to continue. Only 1 possible way I see: continue learning via this kind of activity, a group activity, on a local ground!

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  1. Jani

    What a great time we had! Can’t wait to get the next one!

    • tato

      Lets do it soon, coming hopefully September this year! πŸ™‚

  2. Viherbonsai

    Thanks again for organizing this! After the workshop pruning & bending I can start calling my trees bonsai – not just trees in a pot.

    • tato

      Thanks for participating! It is very important we have more people interested. In a group is way more fun and way much easier to handle our trees locally πŸ™‚

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