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.

Pictures of two of mine old Hawthorns with red berries.

Hi everybody!

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 mine 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 on to 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 facts: 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 inch 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.

8 years in the life of my Prunus mahaleb.

In late March 2012 I was invited by my dear new friends from beautiful Slovenia to come collecting 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 their 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 where over many years roughly cut back witch 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 it!

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 piece of wire the carefully bend down branch is held in to 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 change 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 creat 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 that the tree is ready to be showed.

Below: 13-7-2020. The contrast in this close up between the colours of the amazing natural deadwood and the shinning 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!
Cheers,
Hans van Meer.

Old picture of my tiny Pinus thunbergii corticosa Shohin.

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 15 or 16cm high and because of its plates-like bark that grew wider upwards to the top and created that way 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 were 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 once to extense. A few years later it was ready to be planted in this very small Tokoname pot that where he lived happily in 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.

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.