We are pleased to announce this years judging line up at our winter show is going to be a little different, first off we’re thrilled to have Jake Hobson, garden tree specialist and author will be joining the judging panel. For those of you who don’t know him here is a bit of background.
How it all began
In 1997. Jake goes to Japan as a wannabe sculptor, to investigate the cultural phenomenon of the cherry blossom season, hanami. There he discovers the gardens, and the trees, and vows to learn more. Back home in England, he trains as a TEFL teacher, meets Keiko, and drags her back to Japan. Year one is spent teaching, year two working at a traditional plant nursery in a rural part of Osaka, learning all about tree training, pruning and rootballing. Back home again, Jake gets work at Architectural Plants in Sussex, where he is shocked to find people using FOUR LEGGED LADDERS (Can you imagine?) Brother-in-law Haruyasu is enrolled to ship over a couple of tripod ladders (still going strong today) which together with the robust Okatsune secateurs and topiary clippers Jake insists on using, cause quite a stir. And so begins the business. What everyone starts to appreciate is that although these things are all Japanese, they work just as well in western gardens, and on a whole range of plants. Tripod ladders, it turns out, are just as useful for hedge trimming as they are for pine pruning; and of course topiary clippers work just as well on box topiary as they do on azalea karikomi. Don’t be put off – you don’t need to grow bonsai to enjoy these tools.
The name Niwaki means garden tree. Niwa means garden, Ki means tree and Niwaki would sell the stuff needed to prune the garden trees. So, the name. Hard to pronounce (ni-whacky) and tricky to remember, but we like it because of its implications
Great stuff from Japan
Naturally what started off as Tripod Ladders and Fine Pruning Tools from Japan, has rapidly grown to cover Other Great Stuff, to the point where it’s now simply ‘Great Stuff from Japan’ and the enthusiasm for practical and hard-wearing, yet highly covetable products can be seen in the catalogue.
Topiary specialist and leading authority on cloud pruning, Jake works worldwide (as well as at home in Dorset) creating his brand of Organic Topiary – a fusion of Japanese cloud pruning and more traditional topiary. A background in sculpture at the Slade in London has married perfectly with a passion and skill for pruning, and a love of landscape. When he is not jetting around some of the world’s most incredible gardens, Jake shares his passion at his pruning workshops and lectures – and he’s found the time to write two books ‘The Art of Creative Pruning‘ and ‘Niwaki‘. Find out more information on his website niwaki.com