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!

Cheers,

Hans van Meer.

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!

Cheers,

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!

Cheers,

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! 😉

Cheers,

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

Hans van Meer.

Today: (I finally) finished wiring my Chinese White Pine (Pinus parviflora).

Here are after many small sessions of wiring some quickly made cell phone pictures of the almost finished result of my Old White Pine that was imported from China some 32 years ago and was one of the first Bonsai I ever bought! Her height is 87 cm so getting her to were she stands in this picture by my self to wirer her proved to be a back breaker for my bad back indeed! And that I had to stand on a small stool the whole time to reach the higher branches to wire them did not make things any easier for my poor back!! The wiring it self took me (in short sessions) more then one week! Below: Some big decisions were made to shorten or remove some otherwise good branches!

So after finally finishing wiring, lifting her to the place were I usually take my pictures was out of the question for me at this moment (sigh!) So this below pictures of her are shoot with my cell phone at the place were she was wired! She is on its way to her older glory and needs just a few more years to back bud some more and hopefully double her foliage! And a new pot because the one it is in now is precariously cracked on opposite sides (frost proof my ass!) ! The now more then 30 years she has lived with us have aged her so well and she has become a part of our family!

Below: A close up picture of the amazing mature bark on the trunk! And when I cleaned up and removed the top layer of old soil around the base, I discovered that the roots had widened a lot and almost doubled in size! The fled large root on the left bottom side and everything else below were that moss line stops on the lower trunk is all new to me O joy!!!

Now I have to find a nice new pot for here, because after more then a decade it is time to repot here in some fresh soil in a new home! I hope you like my old Pine?!

Cheers,

Hans van Meer.

Bending a thick pine branch with cheap and easy to use sisal rope!


Now I know that I wrote before about using 5mm thick household sisal rope instead of raffia or burlap to protect the branch that you want to bend from breaking! Well, they say: the proof is in the pudding! So here we go: I had to wire a mature thumb thick branch on my old White Pine (Pinus parviflora) from China and then bend it a lot! So I had to protect it from cracking, but I was oud off Raffia?! But I did find half a ball of sisal rope more than enough to protect that branch with two tightly wind layers of sisal on top of each other. Then that now with sisal protected right branch was wired with 4 mm aluminium wire and then slowly bent pretty severely to become almost a back branch! All without any trouble whatsoever! So my advice: always have some sisal 5 mm rope around as a backup!
Cheers and stay safe everybody,
Hans.

P.S.: Below is a link to the YouTube channel of “Love Bonsai” where I for the first time saw a lovely and strong Chinees female Bonsai artist protect the thickest of branches with sisal rope and then wire them with aluminium wire! And boy those she bent them and never brakes one!!! Go have a look!!!👍👍👍

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCkCqvi9lTv3_yVE4ctvDYPA/videos

Trident maple “Acer buergerianum” in early fall colours.

A few days ago it was such a sunny day that made my colour changing Trident maple from Japan almost glow… so I just had to shoot some quick photo’s of her. It proved to be a race for time because the sun was on her right side quickly sinking behind my house! It proved to be a great year for my two maples (the above one and a Acer palmatum deshojo) that I both have under my care for some 26 years orzo! This unique pot (that I like a lot) is by Isabella.

Cheers and stay safe,

Hans van Meer.

Some pics and stories.

Below: This Acer buergerianum on a rock is one of my earliest Bonsai and I wanted to show it to you because it has such amazing fall colours despite the record-breaking hot Summer that we had this year!

Below: This amazing Prunus mahaleb Yamadori that was collected in March 2012 in Slovenia used to be a twin trunk and is a bit of a wonder because the first Spring after collecting the left somewhat boring thick trunk made a ton of new buds more or less everywhere, but the right trunk that was interesting all over with beautiful old deadwood did absolutely nothing?! Two years later in the Summer of 2014, I was just about to saw it off to turn it into a long Jin when I suddenly discovered two very tiny green buds on it!!! The first one some 40cm above the soil line and the second one almost in the top. I could not believe my eyes and luck and it is needless to say that I did not turn it into a Jin! During the next years, those two tinny buds grew like crazy, so in early 2017 I decided to air layer the lesser of the two trunks and just a few mounts later it was already safe to separate this lesser trunk from the very unique trunk full of deadwood! Wich, you can all see HERE on my YouTube channel! The stump that was left was styled with power and hand tools to mimic the beautiful natural deadwood that runs all along the trunk from bottom to top. In the picture below from the backside of the tree, you can see what is left of this stump and the amazing new roots that grew over it!

Below: close up of the new deadwood that mimics the old natural deadwood (Shari) above it. Nothing reminds anymore of the trunk that was separated from it!

Below: Front side. It is truly amazing to see just how many branches have grown from those two tinny buds! There is still a lot of growing and styling to be don over the next years, but I believe that this will be a very special tree in the nearby future! 

Somewhere in the late 19ties, I was lucky enough to buy 3 Itoigawa Juniper starters from Danny User at his “Gingko Bonsai Centre” in Belgium. They were all very straight 30 cm high cuttings that he had specially imported from Japan to craft on his trees.

Above and Below: Since then over the years, I must have taken at least 100 or so cuttings off of them, from some of them I successfully made several Tanuki Bonsai that I when finished sold to my students.

Above and below: Both of these were Phoenix grafted onto very hard and rot- resistant Yew deadwood and now life happily in my students garden!

Below: The rest was allowed to grow fast and freely and some of them were later wired to give them all the shape of a basic starter and mostly sold to colleges and my students. And a hand full older onces were sold to my students complete with a design that I had drown for them.

Below: But now and then when I hold one of the older ones in my hands I get the urge to style it, like the one below that I made a few weeks ago so that the eventual buyer has a good base to start from!

I hope you enjoyed this little post?! Stay safe everybody and keep them small!

Cheers, Hans van Meer.

Update on the one Sabina Juniper that became two Sabina’s Junipers Yamadori.

Remember my earlier post from 2018 were I with a saw separated one Sabina Juniper Yamadori into two Sabina’s?! I had bought it a year earlier in 2017 at my long time Bonsai friend Teunis – Jan Klein his amazing Bonsai Center “Deshima” (NL). In April 2018 I believed that it was strong enough to be sawed in half! By doing so I created two new beautiful trees! Below: Just before the separation.

Below: Successfully separated to become two Bonsai in the future!

Below: Fast forward to half September 2020. The two new pre-Bonsai have been heavily fed the whole growing season and both look very ready to be styled for the first time!

Below: The second one always reminded me of an old cascading Literati Juniper that I found very inspiring in my early Bonsai years. But for that sort of image, I have to tilt it heavily next repotting to create the cascading movement! But that is for the near future!

Below: It will be styled tilted something like this with a sharp inclination like a ski jumping ramp, with smaller and thinner foliage peds on the lower part of the image creating a lot of visual speed down to the left! I am very excited about this second one and am looking forward to start styling them both further!

I hope you like my ideas for these two Sabina’s?!

Cheers and stay safe everybody!

Hans van Meer.

Update pictures of my windswept Yamadori Taxus.

First a short recap/history: It was discovered and collected by me during my visit to the U.K in November 2007. It was growing from underneath a large flat like bolder that itself was covered by several smaller once!
Below: After some hard work finally freed from its crushing heavy load!

Below: Spring 2010. After a scary time where it lost most of its foliage, it fought back with a lot of strong-growing new branches! I saw such beautiful movement and story in that long broken thick branch that protrudes to the right from the base of the trunk. But I basically had to rebuild her a completely new frame from here bottom upwards! With all-new branches on an in my eyes a very promising live base for something daring?! But such a change to create a vision you have from your inspiring living entity don’t come too often when you live in an almost Yamadori less country like Holland! So, of course, I went for it!

Below: An hour later in its new pot with plenty of room to grow fast producing lots of growth on the fast thickening branches!

Below: 24-4-2016. After 6 years of heavy feeding and free growing, it is time for branch selection and foliage thinning. All this time I was thinking a lot about how to utilise that long almost ripped off to the right protruding Jin in my design!

Below: One hour and one full garbage back with cut off branches later, this is all that was left of the 6 years of growth! The new top truck section was in this time gone from pinky thick to wrist-thick…amazing!

Below: 17-9-2020. And this is how she looks today. A windswept Yew. Besides som guidewires, there is not much wire on it at this moment. The future plane is that in just a few more years it will look like a Yew that is bettered by seasonal winds and storms from the left-behind. The direction of the deadwood and long Jin are a prove off just how fears and devastating these winds are! In the near future when all the now still young branches are more matured and a bid fuller with small foliage, the outline of the foliage pads and the total outline image will be more clearer! But no way with perfectly triangle-shaped foliage peds on exuberant bright deadwood as we see so often these days! Nothing wrong with that, don’t get me wrong! But with limited and precious time on my hand…why should I do what so many others have done before? I wanted to create my expression of strong wind trough a struggling but surviving tree! And it happens to be this Yew with that long Jin that started the thought of that idea again in my head! Funny how those things go?! And now the hunt for a special rectangular pot has begun and the next couple of years will be spent on filling and refining all the smaller foliage and deadwood. Height: 65cm/26 inch.


I hope you like it?!

Cheers and stay safe every body!

Hans van Meer.