This other April highlight deserves a post all of its own! I was really looking forward to having my Bonsai friend Dirk Mundorf over again from Germany, for a long Saturday of, one on one, Bonsai fun! It had been a long time since we have seen each other, so it was good to finally great him back in my garden! Dirk brought his stunning Hawthorn along for its first real styling. This Hawthorn has already some history to tell that made this reacquainting with Dirk and this Hawthorn extra special to me! Let me explain (to the best of my knowledge): Dirk saw this very promising Hawthorn for the very first time, 3 years ago, on Tony Tickle’s stand at the Noelanders trophy in Belgium. From that first moment on, he was in love with the amazing movement of this old yamadori and its beautiful old bark! But it was sad to see that he finally was not able to buy it. Later that weekend the tree was bought by Jeroen. He brought it along to my garden where we discussed it’s possibilities as a Bonsai. It’s future life as a Literati Bonsai was screaming out to me from day one, but I did not want to force my taste in Bonsai on my student. So I told him the other options first and kept the Literati one for last! After I was finished, he asked me which one would be the most special Bonsai? I answered: the one you will pick! I was really glad that he went with the Literati fantasy style! 🙂 This was by no means an easy decision to make because it mends that a lot of large and old branches had to be removed ruthlessly! When this was don some wire and guide wires were used to bend the new main branches into place and then the tree would be left to recover for the next growing season. Almost a year after Dirk had lost his hearth to this old Hawthorn, just a few day’s before the Noelanders, I heard that it was for sale. So I intermediate between the old owner and Dirk and this time when the Noelanders trophy was finished, Dirk drove home to Germany with his Hawthorn by his side! 🙂 So when Dirk decided to bring his Hawthorn along with him for its real first styling…well, let’s just say that it was a great opportunity for me to work with him on this unique Hawthorn! So after our hello’s and some coffee, we quickly started to discuss and plan the work ahead of us. But not too much though, I like to work without thinking to much. And I like to teach or show that way of working to the owner or the student, who trust me to work on his tree, with or with out his help! So we worked in stages, first removing the obvious dead and unwanted stuff! Then the trunk line and branches were selected. Then the selected main branches are shortened, followed by secondary branches. Then everything was loosely wired and all the branches were carefully brought more or less into their desired position. Were necessary, guide wires were used to secure tough branches in their place! Than the deadwood was roughly down sized and shaped with the help of a Dremel power tool.
Below: Front view: before the work started.
Below: Left side view.
Below: Right side view.
Below: Backside view before the work started.
Below: With the help of a blowtorch the fresh deadwood was slightly burned. This removes all fibres and makes the deadwood crack, which makes it look much older! In this picture, you can see that the amazing trunk movement is prolonged in the top section of the tree. This was created and started during the first branch selection 2 years ago.
Below: The burned and darkened deadwood is cleaned with water and a copper wire brush and a toothbrush and then lime sulphur is applied with an old paintbrush.
Below: Left side view after this styling.
Below: Right side view after this styling.
Below: Back side view after this styling.
Below: And finally the front side of this Hawthorn new front side!
These pictures do this unique Hawthorn no justice, it’s trunk movement is so radical in real life! In 5 to 6 years time, when the branches will be filled out and the deadwood will have more age to it…., well than I think, no I believe, that this pre-Bonsai will be an amazing and uniquely styled Literati Hawthorn! Dirk (and I) was very happy with this end result and after a great day of Bonsai and a lovely dinner, we sad our goodbyes. But this time not for so long! In Dirk’s garden, there is a nice Pine waiting for a new image, so he will be back soon for another day of Bonsai fun! 🙂
Hope you enjoy this little story?!
Hans van Meer.