Image of a Dutch sunset.

Yesterday late afternoon I decided to take a long walk along the “Haringvliet” river and follow the long “Zee Dijk” (sea dyke) that runs along with it! This river is the last link between melting snow in the Alps and the North Sea (NL). While climbing up the stairs up that dyke, I was pleasantly surprised by a beautiful multicolour sunset! Luckily I had my old cellphone with me to take some pictures of some distant people that were running their dogs before dinner. They were all standing still to stare at that constantly changing colourful spectacle! I hope that this picture can convey that feeling that I had to you ?!

Cheers and stay safe,

Hans van Meer.

Hawthorn with 2 great posible fronts!

Below: Remember the post before this one about this Dutch Hawthorn and its amazing deadwood?

Below: Well as you can see, it has another great possible front with lots of natural deadwood (Shari) all along the massive trunk and great roots (Nebari)! The middle section of the top trunk section needs more side branches, but that is just a matter of time! But those roots, Shari and Jin make this side as the front a very promising possibility!

Below: The wide base with the star-like shaped massive roots are spectacular from this side! And all that deadwood isn’t too bad either!

Above and Below: Massive roots all around the base of the trunk!


Hans van Meer.

The story of my old Celtis sinensis.

This 111 cm high Chinese Hackberry (Celtis Sinensis) that was imported from China came into my lucky possession in 1993 when I won/bought it for only 875 guilders/ 350 Euro in a foreclosure Bonsai auction nearby Rotterdam in Holland! I could not have been happier to have won this amazing 111cm/43.4 Inch high Tree-like Bonsai! The only problem was that it had to be out of there right after the auction…and I drove a very small fiat these days?! Luckily a befriended Bonsai trader (Ed de Groot) transported it in his large truck to his EDO Bonsai centre in Blijswijk (NL) where he kindly offered to keep it in his warmed greenhouse during the upcoming winter period! Later in Spring, I rented a truck to transport her to my house. Getting it into my garden was a difficult adventure and I had to remove my garden door to get her inside!

Below: Repotting it later on my own from its massive Chinese pot into her new beautiful huge Walsall pot was a pleasant challenge, to say the least!

Below: Quiz: Can you tell why I named her the “LION CRUSHER”? 😊

Below: In 1999 I entered the ”LION CRUSHER” into the second famous and now legendary “Ginkgo Awards” in Belgium. Where she received a lot of praise!

Below: Jan. 2001. In the specially made for her makeshift winter shelter in my small town garden! But she was so worth it!

A few years later because she was so difficult to handle by myself and took up so much space in my very small garden, I brought her all the way back to the “Ginkgo Bonsai Centre” in Belgium to swap it or sell to my dear friend the owner/Bonsai artist Dany User! Danny was kind enough to swap her with me for a mid-sized Juniperus itoigawa fresh from Japan. It hat a promising trunk with a large Shari and Jin (deadwood) and tons of new short unworked foliage all over the place. Later I took it for days with me to our record store that we then run in Rotterdam (Holland) and styled it in a few days on the counter there!

Below: Not much later I entered her in the famous “Noelanders Trophy” in Belgium where she earned a nomination! 🙏🤞👍

Now looking back, it is funny how these Bonsai things can go?!


Hans van Meer.

Kara Motto Bonsai.

The natural-looking deadwood on my Dutch Hawthorn Bonsai in progress.

The below Dutch Hawthorn (crataegus monogyna) Yamadori was collected by me in the early nighties in a seaside wed dune forest not far from where I live. Over the decades the wind coming in from the very nearby beach/coastline of the North Sea brought in fine sand in the place where the Bonsai of this story lived and in some places, it looks more like a Dunn than an actual forest! That and animals and walkers had covered her half! She had to grow fast and straight upwards through the sand for decades to stay above the ever-growing soil line! In the end after who knows how long only the (now much shorter and Jined) right side straight trunk was sticking some 60 cm/24 inch out above the actual soil (sand) level when I found her! At the end/top of this straight old trunk, it only had just a few very short but old branches, because for years it was used by the big black highland buffalo and ponies that live here as a scratching pole! The top section was all deadwood ending in a Jin that was nicely polished from all the scratching! I witnessed that scratching ritual someday and that brought her to my intention! But it was surely strange when I found out that I had to dig so deep to reach her original base! This old above ground periscope trunk section was later successfully air-layered and removed. The 15 cm/6 Inch that was left on purpose on the tree, was turned with some hand and power tools into natural-looking deadwood (Jin).

Above: Not the best of pictures, I know…but she looked so pretty in her Autumn dress! Height: 42 cm/ 16.5 Inch. The beautiful pot is by my friend John Pitt (U.K).

Above: 3 days later! She is built up with only 5 branches that after collecting luckily sprouted lower down on the section that used to be buried under the sand/ground! I wanted her to look just like the mature Hawthorns that live where she was found. They almost all live in mostly poor sandy ground and so close to the sea it storms a lot and because of all the sand in the Summers, it can get very hot and that’s why they grow sparsely and are very gnarly/spooky branched!

Above: Close up of the uniquely natural split trunk and the roots/nebari. The left section of the trunk feeds the left branch and the right section the right and top branch. Beggars can’t be choosers…so I take those two opposing bottom branches for what it is! Those are Bonsai rules and I gladly take/see her as just a small Hawthorn tree in a pot…because that is just what I was/am after! A believable but small old Dutch Hawthorn tree!

Above: Close up of what is left of the former live top part that grew above the sand! I am really happy how natural it looks after all those years since I created this deadwood top/Ten Jin! Especially the natural whiteish colour of the cracked wood is priceless!


Hans van Meer.

My Acer palmatum “deshojo” in stunning fall collars.

This old girl friend of mine lives with me since 1990 and in those 30+ years it has grown good radiating roots/Nebari and has doubled her overall Hight and her trunk circumference! And to show her self off this year, her colours are seriously beautiful! So I just hat to make a quick picture with my old cell phone before the sun had disappeared completely! Hope you like it anyway?

Height: 74 cm/29 Inch. This (in my eyes special) pot is by Isabelia.

Below: close up of the delicate and beautiful multi coloured foliage.

Cheers and stay safe,

Hans van Meer.

Bonsai Tip: Using tubing to prevent wire from cutting into a branch.

And then now another (I hope) helpful tip! A lot of us use aquarium tubing (see the picture!) to prevent the wire from digging into the bark of the tree when we are bending thick branches toward each other with the help of a tension wire between those two branches!

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See example below: Imagine that the right side tubing is bended around a tree trunk or branch! And now we want to bend that left side tubing just like the right side around a trunk or branch, but then we have a problem because we cant stick the wirers trough the tube to tightened them together (red arrow)?!

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Below: Well here is the solution to that problem! With the help of a concave cutter (see the picture!) cut out a small bite off one side of the tub!

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Below: So that you are left with a piece of tube that looks like this (see the picture!)!

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Below: Now you do can run both ends of the wire through both ends of the tube en run them through the hole you just cut out! Slide the tube down the wire as tightly against the bark as possible and with a tong twist both ends of the wire as tight as necessary to bend and hold the two branch/es or two trunks in position!

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Hope this will help you!


Hans van Meer.

Trident maple “Acer buergerianum” in full fall colours.

The last two days this Trident maple was trying hard to hold on to it’s leaf’s, while I was waiting for some sunlight to make a decent picture! And this afternoon there finally was just enough natural light to shoot some quick shots of this amazing coloured foliage! And just in time because now, just a few hours later, the wind has blow off a lot of the orange/red leaves! I hope you enjoy this picture of this colourful messenger of coming winter?!

Below: The fast sinking sun creates surreal colours!

Below: After two nights of low temperatures almost all leaves dropped off , creating a different scene and feeling!


Hans van Meer.

Deadwood spiral on my old Hawthorn.

Now that I cant work for long on my trees anymore and have to sit down for a while when my knees and back give inn again! I find that I have much more time to really, really look at my trees and try to enjoy them as if I would see them for the very first time! More annalistic and aware! I most often do that while making pictures and then end up completely overlooking all details and the whole some of those details, the Bonsai! Doing so I got stroked again by the upwards twirling old deadwood (Shari) and the beautiful aged bark with all it cracks! The Shari in the right top of this picture was made over 25 years ago and was during that time bleached several times with Lime sulphur with a few drupes black inked added to leave more of a greyish white after it did it’s bleaching work! But it still those not have the right greyish/white colour that the twirling old natural Shari has! So I shell have to bleach it again and again until it has the right colour !

Below: That’s how old Hawthorn bark and deadwood (Shari) looks!

Below: She looks a bit top heavy with all those red berries and the old cell phone those not help much in this case either! 😉


Hope you enjoyed these quickly made pictures of my baby and forgive me for the poor quality?!

Hans van Meer.

New tiny mushrooms neighbours to keep my Taxus yamadori company.

This morning I discovered these very lovely tiny shinning white mushrooms growing in front of my Yamadori Yew/Taxus and I just knew that I had to make some pictures of this magical scene with my cell phone as soon as the sun came out!

I hope you enjoy these images as much as we do?!


Hans van Meer.