Note: considering that I live in Holland, then yes this is exceptional winter weather that did not happen for well over two decades! An extremely high air pressure system above the whole of Scandinavia is pretty unique believe me! And I do know that this weather is pretty normal in many countries around the world, but not where we live! And we applaud this weather because we are an ice skating nation! There is even hopeful talk that the world-famous 11-city tour a 220 kilometres long nature ice skating tour finally can be staged again after more than 2 decades! So yes this is extreme weather for us here!
Yesterday’s weather forecast of at least a week-long snow and very cold weather was not wrong for a change and I have today’s picture to prove it! I woke up this morning to discover a magical snow-covered garden that I would love to share with you all!
Below: under need, this thick layer of snow more than 20 shohin pre-Bonsai Itoigawa Junipers are hidden!
Below: For some of the bigger Bonsai in my collection, there was no more room underneath my backyard shelter! But I am sure they don’t mind at all!
Below: My big Larch named the Elephant looks like a real scene you could see in nature.
Below: My big old Chamaecyparis obtusa nana gracilis mother plant looks beautiful!
Below: But her backside looks even more stunning!
Below: A magical top view of my big multiple-trunk beech raft.
I hope you enjoyed these with my cell phone-made pictures as much as I loved to make them for you all…it was magical in my little city garden today!
Yesterday I made some pictures of two of my old Hawthorns with red berries that I would like to share with you all! Although they have somewhat larger leaves than usual from all the water that I had to give during last Summers 3 months of record-breaking temperatures and that I had to remove some half-burned leaves, I still wanted to take some pictures of them because they are so pretty with these bright red berry’s and to show that they are so resilient and strong as a specie! These two are both collected by me in beautiful Walles during the second half of the nineties and since then I have always worked with great pleasure with them! I hope you like them as much as I do?!
This first one in the not so often seen Literati style is 68cm/27inch high and has stunning rare old natural deadwood/shari spiralling around the whole length of the trunk! The living bark on the trunk has deep dark cracks running from bottom to top and shows great age! It was collected in early ’97 on my second trip to the UK as the guest of Tony, Terry and Mike! I later potted it just like I was advised to do by my experienced friends…but nothing happened during the later anxious months?! So I called Tony in a panic for help and his words were: don’t throw it away and keep it sheltered and make sure it doesn’t dry out! They often skip a year after collecting! So just wait and see…and pray! And boy how I was happy when a year later it started budding like crazy! They sure are amazing survivors and pretty easy to maintain as a Bonsai! Over the years I had the big honour to show her in several big shows like the Ginkgo Awards and The Noelanders Trophy and in 2009 she even made it onto the cover of the “American Bonsai and stone appreciation magazine!” How cool is that?! And she is still going strong to date!!!
Below: Because of the way too-large leaves and the berries, the top looks too heavy…but it is normally way lighter and just right. The pot that normally suds it perfectly was specially custom-made for her by my dear old friend Brian Allbright (UK).
Below: This second Hawthorn was collected in ’96 on my very first collecting trip to the UK…as a matter of fact: my first collecting trip ever! I was invited by Bonsai live long friends Tony Tickle and Terry Foster and boy what an adventure it was for this Bonsai rookie! This one has also been proudly shown in many shows over the years and she gets more and more beautiful as she gets older! It is 43 cm/17 inches high. The pot was a gift from my old friend and great Bonsai artist and potter Dan Barton (UK) that I proudly received when I was a guest in his house. It was a pot from his personal collection and I am more than proud to show his gift under this for me already important tree!
I hope you enjoyed these images of these my old Lil’ Hawthorn friends?! Stay safe everybody! Cheers, Hans van Meer.
NO, NO!!! Don’t worry! Picture of my tinny Pine!😎 I am just fine, believe me!🤣
Like I wrote earlier in THIS post: in the early Nineties, the 6 of us went on a long route trip to Milan Italie to see among others Mr Kimura his demo an amazing Bonsai event and a very long visit to the world-famous Crespi Bonsai Center that is located just outside off Milan. And during our long visit to Crespi, I fell in love with a really tiny and weird-looking Japanese thunbergii corticosa that from memory was about 15cm/6Inch high and because of its plates-like bark that grew wider upwards to the top and created that way an image with a reverse taper! And then the very few tiny branches with just a few too-long needles on the end! The small collection of Shohin was displayed on a few shelves behind chicken wire against one of the sides of the enormous greenhouse filled with mouthwatering Bonsai! Especially for us then still a couple of newbies! So I just had to buy it to see if I could realise what I saw in this little unique gem?! I simply broke off the too-long top bark plates and allowed the smaller bottom one to extend. A few years later it was ready to be planted in this very small Tokoname pot where he lived happily for many years! That little pot fitted in the palm of my hand!It was shown in several shows. Later on, it was sold or given as a present to a Bonsai friend? Getting old and stuff and too many Bonsai memories to remember all! 😇 Cheers, Hans van Meer.
The Little Bonsai from this story was a wonderful gift from my dear British friend Terry Foster when I stayed at his home many many years ago! He pointed out some, especially in those early days, amazing Yamadori Blackthorns and said: pick one!🥳 So, of course, I went for the odd one out! This little wonder of nature must have been suffering from prevailing winds from the sea and that forced him to grow upwards in a spiral-like way like one of those old barber pools from yesteryear! And above that, it had amazing old wrinkled bark and deadwood that makes his crown look like an Ant Queens head! So my choice was made! This Blackthorn in this small pot is a slow grower and it took a very long time to create these branches and foliage but it is slowly getting there!Height: 30cm/12inch.
Below: A close-up of the ant-like topand the twisting bark.
The leaves and crown are a bit big because of an accidental fertilizer overdose 2x 🙄 and some smaller branches need to be wired so it looks a bit fluffy…but I wanted to share it anyway! So I hope you like it ?! The pot was custom-made by Brian Albright.
Today we had the first day or afternoon of rain since the crisis started! All this time we were scared as shit…but with lovely weather! So many Bonsai tasks were done during the last months while getting a nice tan! Among others cutting/pinching back the spring growth off my 4 Taxus baccata Yamadori. As well as some branch trimming, wiring and checking for those damn scale insects!
The little Shohin Yew of this story was a wonderful Yamadori gift from my dear old friend and super talented college Terry Foster when I visited his house in 1999. Now more than 2 decades on it is still a tiny Bonsai of just 21 cm in height in a custom-made Bonsai pot by my old friend Brian Allbright (UK). Say HELLO TO MY LITTLE FRIEND!!! 👋😉
Stay safe and healthy everybody! Cheers, Hans van Meer.
All my “Dutch” and “Wales” Yamadori Hawthorns had an abundance of fragrant flowers this year as if they wanted to bring some much-needed joy in these troublesome times! But none so much as my Dutch Hawthorn in the “Mother and Child” style! Her coming into full flower was over the last 6 weeks daily filmed and photographed to try to make a time-lapse video for YouTube! Dutch Hawthorn Yamadori is rare and the ones with deadwood are even rarer! This originally 2 meters high one that I collected in a wet-dune forest close to my house was used by the buffalos as a scratching pole leaving a long Shari/deadwood running along the whole trunk section! And now some 2 decades later she shows maturity and all these flowers and tells a story of a Japanese Mother in Kimono hanging into the storm protecting her child under her arm.
Below: is an explaining drawing that I made years ago.
Below: And this is how they looked a few days ago I am really proud of this one!Height: 75 cm/30 Inches.Pot: Japan.
Below: Bonsai, peace and joy in scary times! Stay safe everybody!!!
This little Hawthorn was collected by me in 2007 in Wales (UK). Below: Here are two before and after pictures from 2008 when I had just cut off all but four branches in its first styling
Below: This picture was made just after her very drastic haircut! All wounds were sealed with cut paste!
Below: This is the picture that I shot this afternoon in the makeshift photo studio in my living room. The custom-made pot is by my dear friend: John Pitt. Height: 43cm
Why am I so proud of this little Hawthorn? Wel not only because it has turned into a well-established Bonsai in such a short time, but more because of its amazing ramification! I have several collected older Hawthorns from the same Wales aria in my collection and they are treated and pampered just like this one but none of them comes even close ramification-wise?! Hawthorns are notoriously slow branch growers, so this little one is probably that famous one in a million! And I am not complaining! I hope you like the picture as much as I do?! Cheers, Hans van Meer.
One of the pictures that I shot and posted here a few weeks earlier made it into our local newspaper ‘Groot Hellevoet’ as the picture of the week! How cool is that!
This picture of the Sunset and birds was shot by me from the long dyke just a 5 minutes walk away from my home. The people from our newspaper called it a fairytale picture! I am really proud of this honour!😊