Hi, everybody,

yesterday I took  a picture of one of my Dutch Yamadori Hawthorns that I would like to share with you. I collected this trees a long time ago in the dunes close to were I live. Back than it was about 1.60 m high and now, after I chopped it down in several stages  that I spread out over several years, it measures about 82 cm in height. I am especially pleased with how it’s new top that I created is developing. The earlier too wide top without any taper now shows great taper and in some more years, it will look pretty convincing! The branches need much more growth and styling before this tree will fully reach what I have in mind for it, but it is already showing a lot of promise for the future. Dutch Yamadori Hawthorns, like any kind of Yamadori, are pretty hard to find and collect, so I am really happy I found this one and that it is doing so great. Especially the large natural deadwood section is unique on a small tree from Holland! I just love working on these Hawthorns, they are just perfect to creat Bonsai from!

13-9-2009 016 Hans van Meer

Above: There is hardly any wire in this tree at this moment, it will be rewired in early spring. As you can see, I use whatever is at hand to position branches in their place! The stick on the left that I used to hold that branch up,  is half a cloth hanger. 🙂

                       IMG_0002 Hans van Meer

Above: These Hawthorns grow in the dunes next to the see so only the top few inches are actually soil, under need that it is all sand. To free it from the ground,  I only had to use a small hook and my hands. I can clearly remember that while I was sitting on my knees concentrating on freeing the roots, some very big black highland bulls that room these dunes, thought it would be funny to suddenly appear right next to me and scare the shit out of me. We never saw or heard them coming!

                       IMG_0003 Hans van Meer

Above: After I cleaned my trousers, I proceeded to shorten the unwanted branches. This is by now means a simple task with all these very sharp needles!

                      IMG_0005 Hans van Meer

Above: The tree in my back garden. It is planted in a large tube, where the roots can grow freely in. The yellow arrow shows were the present day top is created.

                    IMG_0007 Hans van Meer

Above: A year later the too long and useless branches are shortened again. This forces the tree to back bud all over the lower parts. Then I only have to wait and hope that they will appear from just the right places to use in my design. This procedure is spread out over as many growing seasons as is necessary to keep the tree safe and healthy

acdc 094 Hans van Meer

Above: This is how the top section still looked only a few years ago. All these tiny branches you see here are new ones. As expected, they appeared after cutting back the thick top branches. Just look how ugly and too wide the top section looked in this picture. The green arrow shows the then still tiny present top! Amazing what you can do with some optical illusions, don’t you think?!

acdc 101 Hans van Meer

Above: Forgive me for not having all the dates of these pictures at hand, but this one is made the winter after the old top section was reduced. The tree looks so fragile in this picture if you compare it to the first picture! I still find the metamorphosis that a tree has to go through to become a Bonsai, unbelievable. It is good to keep taking and saving pictures to convince your self and others what really happened in the pre-Bonsai live of a tree! Although it takes forever to style a Bonsai, I would not want to miss it for the world! Patience will be rewarded in the end!


Hans van Meer.




  1. Hello Hans Great Bonsai Congrats, may I ask how old is it? I don’t wish to be disrespectful but don’t Oak tree grow very slowly? Thanks for updating


  2. Hi Justin, I have no idea how old it is exactly. I counted more than 50 growth rings on the thick top branches I removed.
    And yes oak trees grow very slow, but this is a common Hawthorn ( Crataegus monogyna) and they grow a lot quicker. Hope this answers your question?
    Hans van Meer.


  3. My friend, there isa saying, that one should never ask a pretty woman, what her age is.(Don’t ever dare asking her ‘How OLD are you’… A good bonsai is like a pretty woman.

    Liked by 1 person

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