My “Mother and Child” Dutch Yamadori Hawthorn in full bloom.

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-laps video for YouTube! Dutch Hawthorn Yamadori are rare and the ones with deadwood are even rarer! This originally some 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 here child under her arm.

Below: 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 Inch. Pot: Japan.

Below: Bonsai peace and joy in scary times! Stay safe everybody!!!

Cheers,
Hans van Meer.

A completely new design and front for my old Mugo Pine named "Little chapel".

First a short history recap: Way back in 2004 I discovered and collected this little old Mugo Pine on a high mountainside in Austria. I only had to cut a few roots and then could literary scoop it off of the giant rock it had grown on for so long!

It was collected high in the mountains close to a little chapel and that’s where she/he got her/his name from Little Chapel!
Way back in 2006 in a trainings pot.

Below: 2007: With the progressive styling story of this same tree, that covers the complete progress right from me collecting it, right up to its first styling, I won the first AoB professional online styling competition back in 2007.

And I am proud to say that the winning article about this first styling was featured in famous Bonsai master Robert Steven’s Bonsai book “Mission of Transformation”!
This is how it looks after it’s second restyling in 2010.

Above: And in Oktober 2012. First to clarify to those that wonder: On the backside of that to the left protruding deadwood, right at the left end there is a thick large rot growing straight into the ground! The bottom red arrow is pointing to the dying root that feeds the life vain that runs over the top of the left deadwood section. The top red arrow points to the dying left side of the trunk! Today in 2020 only the section to the right of the white line is still alive!

Above: 19-3-2015 Here the root visually still looked alright…but I knew that it was dying back slowly or already dead! So my initial front slowly lost its main attraction! Meanwhile, the tree was allowed to vigorously grow out of shape and to produce many new small branches and foliage pads for me to use! And the more I looked at it, the more I realist that a big change was needed for my new future plan!

Above: And this will become the new front side! It will be planted sloping to the left like it is struggling to hold on to the mountainside it is growing on! This way the dead root/trunk enhances the story of its struggle. All (eye) movement in branches and foliage will be pointing to the left, creating a lot of visual speed and a feeling of a tree that is proudly holding on for dear life above a lot of open space. It will be styled in a natural-looking way enhancing the beauty of its years-long struggle! Hopefully more like a Lil’ Tree than an overly styled looking Bonsai?!

Above: Branch to the right of that white line and a few back branches need to be removed! I really love how its cascading branches will be hanging above all that empty space beneath it in the future in a yet to be found/made pot! PS: it has been in this pot for 13 years now…yes without repotting it once! We repot our evergreens way too much!

This restyling will be don in a few weeks and will be filmed and photographed for my YouTube channel and Blog! So watch this space!
Cheers and stay safe and healthy,
Hans van Meer.

Wiring and reposition my big larch named XL.

Hi everybody,
yesterday the last day of January was the warmest on record en today it was even warmer here in Holland! There is something seriously wrong with Mother nature of late…but that does not mean that there is something wrong with doing some wiring work in the warm sun! So after a long walk on the dyke along the sea just a few minutes away from my home, I was refreshed to start wiring and reposition my big larch named XL in the warm Winter sun! Good Times indeed!!!

I will post the end result in a few days if the weather stays this nice?!

Have a nice weekend everybody!

Cheers,

Hans van Meer.

Picture of my small Hawthorn.

This little Hawthorn was collected by me in 2007 in Wales.
Below: Here are two before and after pictures from 2008 when I had just cut of all but four branches in its first styling

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februari 2008 352 Hans van Meer
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Below: And this is the picture that I shot this afternoon in the makeshift foto 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.

Wiring my Larch ‘The Elephant’.

The last couple of days were cold but with some sunny weather so I made some good use of this opportunity to rewire and reposition the branches on my Big Larch! So dressed warmly and with plenty of strong hot coffee, it took me off and on some 2 days!

I have to admit that I am a bit proud of the ramification on this Bonsai! It has nice tapering and hardly any cut scares. The way how Larch grows and profoundly back buds make this possible and make them such ideal material for Bonsai!

It is not the most flattering of pictures, but I do hope that is shows just how mature the foliage and Bonsai look by now! I cant wait to see how it will look in a few months with its new fresh green foliage and I so hope to be able to show it in a big Bonsai show this Sumner…but that is for later I hope?!
Cheers,
Hans van Meer.

Some winter work.

Hi everybody! It has been a while, I know! But a lot has happened healthwise during the last months so I did not get much work don! Don’t get me wrong though I kept my baby’s healthy and happy! But styling work was kept to a minimum during that time! But things are finally looking up lately and I started to do some more styling work and a lot of hard pruning and wiring! It is a pleasure to see that my Prunus mahaleb trees are starting to look better and better and it is time to start hunting for some nice pots for them at the next Trophy in Belgium!

I got my inspiration for this first Prunus mahaleb from the very old Linden tree that I saw in front of the famous cave castle Predjama in the Slovenia village of Postojna!

Did you know that according to legend a bold robber knight named Erasmus once lived in Predjama Castle?
After quarrelling with Emperor Frederick III of Austria, Erasmus held out for more than a year against a besieging army, until he was betrayed by one of his own servants, who lit a candle in the window of Erasmus’s bedroom. This was a signal to his enemies, who then bombarded him with stone cannonballs. 
Erasmus’s grieving sweetheart is said to have buried his body in the centre of the village, outside the church dedicated to Our Lady of Sorrows, and to have planted a linden over his grave. The tree still stands there today, identifiable by its venerable age and hollow trunk.

So I created this Prunus as a remembrance of all my trips to wonderful Slovenia, my dear Slovenian friends and Erasmus amazing Linden tree ! All branches are new and almost all deadwood is natural! I hope you like where I am going with it?!


The second Prunus is one of my favourites with all its natural scorched deadwood running from her top right down to that right (future) cascading bottom branch! Again I chose for a natural look for this tree to honour its natural beauty!

I think that I have to let a natural-looking fitting pot be made for this unique tree! I think it will look pretty amazing in the future with more fin ramification on its branches!

This third more massive Yamadori Prunus has a story of its own! The (red) left side was air-layered in May 2016 and separated successfully just a few months later!

That stunning (Yellow) left side new Literati tree full of amazing deadwood was given to my dear friend Tony Tickly when he visited my garden in February 2018, for everything that he has done for me during the last almost 3 decades.

The right (Red) side stayed with me and looks like this after completely wiring it last week.

All but tree branches are new and need a few years more of thickening and ramification! The new top needs to thicken a lot more and will then be shortened considerably and the deadwood one the left and along the top trunk needs more refinement! But nevertheless, I am really happy and excited about her progress in such a short time! And it is strange to realise that half of her now lives happily in the U.K.

This Chinese Ulmus parvifolia has been part of our household for as long as I am doing Bonsai and that is almost 30 years now! Over this long time, she has developed a truly amazing root base and stunning flaky bark and breathtaking ramification! She is really easy to maintain and I can recommend this species to Bonsai enthusiasts from all levels! She has even been shown in the prestigious Noelanders trophy in Belgium! I think she looks amazing with her golden-yellow foliage!

And the last picture is of my 44cm/17.6Inch high Yamadori Hawthorn Crataegus monogyna. It was collected at the beginning of 2007 in Walles and in early 2008 I started with removing all branches, leaving not much more than a bare skeleton! That naked almost perfect moyogi shape allowed me to create a Japanese style deciduous Bonsai of which there are not that many in existence that I know of?! Posting this next picture and my planes on the online Bonsai forums, there were many replies that Hawthorns are not suitable to use because they are notoriously difficult to creat the necessary ramification, especially on such a small tree…well I think I prove them wrong?! Hawthorns are the perfect candidates for all styles and sizes of deciduous Bonsai!

Early 2008 a year after collecting. The yellow line shows the future plan and what needs to be removed!
A few hours later and the beginning of my Hawthorn Moyogi!
May 2018.
December 2019 in a custom made pot by dear friend John Pitt.

I hope you all enjoyed this little impression of the work I did the last couple of weeks and I promise to post some more of my work soon here on my blog as well as on my Hans Karamotto youtube channel! Happy holidays everybody!!!

Cheers,
Hans van Meer.

New picture of my old Yamadori Blackthorn

Hi everybody,
it must have been some 20 years ago that my dear old English friend Terry Foster gave me as a gift the even then old Yamadori Blackthorn from this story. I cultivated and trained this small beauty for many years as a small 25 cm Moyogi but I was always disappointed that the natural Shari/deadwood was hidden on the back of the tree and that there was an obvious reverse taper at the base!

Here she is still styled as a Moyogi.

And with beautiful flowers.

And then some 8 years ago I got a brave idea to turn her around! That meant that I had to cut off a major branch and rearrange most of the existing branches!

This is the drawing that I made of my plan.
Just look at that amazing natural Shari/deadwood!
Red arrow points at the twisted Nebari/roots.

Red arrow points at the branch that needs to be removed leaving a small Jin. This will create together with the new planting angle movement to the left and an image of a wind-battered tree!

Cutting that beautiful but unwanted branch!
Sometimes you have to be brave!
Red arrow: this thick root will be cut right back to the Yellow arrow!
May 2012 in its new American? pot!
Oktober 2019. And this is how she looks today! Covered with berries and looking just how I had hoped for! I hope you like her as much as we do?!

I promise to post some more soon so watch this space! In the meanwhile, you can watch my two latest videos on YouTube!

Cheers,

Hans van Meer.


Cheers,
Hans van Meer.