In late March 2012, I was invited by my dear new friends from beautiful Slovenia to come collect in May. I was all excited because we here in Holland don’t have much Yamadori and not in the least place because I had to make the long 11 hours drive up there alone for the first time! Their welcome was just as heartwarming as the collecting experience the next day! They took me to a large field where Prunus mahaleb grew in between and over boulders. They were over many years roughly cut back which created tons of deadwood all over! And forest and or ignited fires had torched that deadwood just like we try to imitate on our Bonsai! They were truly amazing and I was over the moon when they asked me: choose anyone you like! They were all looking for the best ones for me and then after seeing a bunch of super ones, this amazing one was the first one they collected for me and the star of this post! The amazingly burned deadwood that runs all along the trunk was why I fell for it…BIG TIME!
Below: They had to move some pretty large and awkward rocks to get to the roots and had to use a large saw to cut the roots to free them!
Below: After a few more days of fun with my friends in beautiful Slovenia and the long drive home in a car full of angry ants, I planted it in a plastic training pot.
Below: 5-5-2012. YES!!! The first sign of life is there!
Below: 6-6-2012. And more fresh foliage has appeared! Just look at that stunning natural burned deadwood!
Below: 9-7-2012. Just look how much new foliage has appeared all over the trunk! Some of those lower small bottom branches that grow from just above the soil line will be bent down with wire into the soil to become new roots! This technique that I have done on my Hawthorns in the past is great to create the beginning of a good Nebari!
Below: 25-1-2014. With pain in my heart, I had to remove some of the beautiful but unusable Jins.
Below: 18-2-2015. The basic truck structure is more or less there already and the branches are allowed to grow freely to thicken.
Below: 22-4-2015. A new small branch has appeared from just above the soil line and is very useful to bend down to create a new root with! The red arrow points at one that I did back in 2012.
Below: With the help of two U-shaped pieces of wire the carefully bend down branch is held in place.
Below: The Red and Green arrow point at two other ones that I created in 2012. As you can see this is a very easy technique to improve the Nebari!
Below: 9-6-2015. The tips of these new roots are kept above ground so that they stay alive to change into roots and to thicken!
Below: 26-2-2016. The basic branch structure is getting there! It is a two-trunk or even better a Mother and Child future Bonsai!
Below: 26-2-2016. Up to now, six new roots are successfully created this way, that otherwise would have never existed! So when you have the chance to try it on any of your trees, go for it!!!
Below: 14-4-2018. This otherwise beautiful natural Jin is too bulky for the overall design so I will carefully reshape it with my Dremel power tool.
Below: 14-4-2018. I really love to work on deadwood because you can create and enjoy your work almost instantly!
Below: 14-4-2018. I styled the whole Jin thinner and with more details and lengthened it more downward!
Below: 14-4-2018. Then I carefully torched it to mimic the original cracked deadwood and then I applied pure Jin seal/lime sulfur over it to bleach it so that over time it will look just the same as the original burned deadwood!
Below: 13-7-2020. The new roots are slowly getting stronger and will be hopefully sufficiently thicker by the time the tree is ready to be shown.
Below: 13-7-2020. The contrast in this close-up between the colours of the amazing natural deadwood and the shining bright new foliage is in my humble opinion just breathtaking! Ying/Yang in a Bonsai!
Below: 13-7-2020. The branch placement and open spaces between them are very much to my liking, it already begins to look like a full-size tree!
Below: 13-7-2020. The final picture (for now) of my “Mother and Child” Prunus mahaleb Yamadori. Height: 70 cm/28 inch. Base: 38 cm/15.5 inch.
I hope that she will be show worthy in 4 or 5 seasons and the hunt for a beautiful pot will start as soon as these scary times are behind us! I hope you like this story of this Yamadori so far?! Stay safe and keep them small!
Hans van Meer.