UPDATE ON MY LARCH NAMED XL.

Hi, everybody,

14-04-2008. I love the subtle image changes this old  “LARCH” has gone through the last couple of weeks.

Cheers,

Hans van Meer.

Info: karamottobonsai@hotmail.com

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“BIG RON’S” FIRM GRIP!

Hi, everybody,

Today, After I finished the last floor/groundwork in the back of my garden, I could finally place “BIG RON” in his rightful place. The fading spring sunlight gave the tree a beautiful glow, so I quickly shot some pictures. The next Photograph, that shows the firm grip of the roots is one I particularly like! I hope you like it too?!

Hans van Meer.

Info: karamottobonsai@hotmail.com

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THE STORY OF THE “ELEPHANT”.

Hi everybody, http://www.karamotto.org/

I would like to let you all know that I have posted new parts of the story about this old Larch on my website:

click on “BONSAI STORYS” and select “THE STORY OF THE ELEPHANT” Regards,

Hans van Meer.

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                                         “THE ELEPHANT”

Info: karamottobonsai@hotmail.com

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A short “Crataegus” story.

 

Hi, everybody,

in November 2006, my dear friend Tony Tickle invited me to come to England to do the (now famous) all weekend “BURRS” workshop. I arrived a few days before all that fun would start because Tony would take me and Morten into the beautiful “Wells” mountains for a walk and to try to find some collectable “Crataegus” yamadori. Well, I got very lucky when I discovered a small one with a lot of potential! I have no pictures of the actual collecting of the tree, but this is the view from that same place where the “Hawthorn” of this story was found and without much trouble collected by me.

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She grew on a steep mountainside in soil, consisting of almost nothing else than small rocks and gravel, from which I could almost entirely collect her with nothing more than my bare hands (that looked and felt like they had been looking for a pin in a pin stack)! Never the less, she had managed to grow surprisingly good roots, with a lot of small feeder roots growing close the base of the trunk. So I could cut the to larch roots back without causing to much harm to the health of the tree. From experience, I know that next Spring the tree will react to this hard root and branch cut back, with much growth of small feeder roots, that will secure the health of the tree, during this time it is recovering from the stress caused by collecting it and potting it. As soon as the tree was lifted from the ground the bare roots were wrapped in wet sphagnum moss and then put into a plastic bin bag that was tightly wrapped with plastic tape. Early next day at the venue in “BURRS” my good friend Terry Foster helped me to plant the tree in a plastic training pot, making sure that the tree was firmly secured to the bottom with aluminium wires. The Hawthorn stayed in Tony’s care during that winter. He placed the tree in his greenhouse on a heating bed. In February the following year, Tony came, just like me and many others, to the “Noelanders trophy” in Belgium to show his Bonsai and to meet up with all our bonsai friends from all over Europe that come there every year as well. He kindly brought along my Hawthorns I collected and so after the show they finally came home with me to my little garden in Holland. The Hawthorns ( I collected two) were placed in my greenhouse for protection during the rest of that Winter. In Spring I was delighted to see that the trees literally burst out with new buds all over. I removed all the buds that were unnecessary for my design from the trunk, simply by rubbing them off with my fingers. Leaving unwanted buds to grow will take the strength away from other more important buds and will leave unwanted scares in your trunk. The tree was allowed to grow freely the next growing season, in a semi-shaded place in my garden. In the next picture from August that year, you can see that she was doing really well and I knew then that I could safely give it here first styling at the end of the winter before the buds start swelling.

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    And this is how the tree looked in February 2008 before the work started.

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OK, before I start to work: have a look at the next two pictures of the front and back of the tree and try to discover the future  design I discovered in this little “Hawthorn”

                                Have you found it? This is what I have in mind:

To reach this ideal profile or frame, I had to do some major branch cutting! Always trying to leave as little wounds as possible, where there was no room for some deadwood/Shari on the trunk.  

As you can see in the pictures below, the yellow cuts were not much of a problem to do, but the red cut was a bit harder to reach with cutters or normal saw!  

 

First, all the excess branches were cut off, so I could get a  good firm hold on the tree, while I was sawing away, without pricking myself a thousand times! Then, with the help of a very sharp small bladed woodcutters knife, that is used by foresters, I was able to remove the thick branch in one go.

 Then one by one and bit by bit all the other useless branches were cut back.

A  large branch cutter, like  I use here, is a priceless tool for this kind of work! It makes a clean cut in one go, without placing to much sideways force on the tree and roots, like a saw or power tool does. No matter how good you think you hold the tree in place!

Slowly, with every cut, the new shape of this tree is revealed! All wounds are worked over with concave cutters to promote better wound healing. So that in a few years,  the tree is left with large, but natural looking scares, that can be seen on every Hawthorn here on the coastline.

After all the wounds were cut back sufficiently, they were sealed with cut paste. The large wound on the left of the tree (middle picture) is cut back to about 2,5 cm/1 inch of the truck. In the future, this stump will be worked into a small Jin + Shari or maybe only a   Shari? But this work is left for the future! Because doing it now and then leaving such a large open scare, right on the trunk line, could cause die back in the trunk! Every large wound that is left exposed to the elements; will dry/die back,    interrupting the sap flow between roots and branches! Which could kill your branches and roots or even your whole tree! Because I left the bark on this little stump, it will stay alive for a long time, preventing the possibility of trunk die/dry back!  The tree will probably even throw out a bunch of strong shouts along the rim of the wound, the tree’s own bandage! A sign the tree’s sap stream is pumping along the wound. Only after the tree has shown these signs of full recovery, will I start to take that stump away, bit by bit.

Below: Now only the top needs to be shortened right above the second right                              small branch leaving some room for the die/dry back! 

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For now, I’m really pleased with the outcome of this little Hawthorn, I love it’s movement and bark texture. I am really looking forward, to next season to see where all the buds will appear! If I’m lucky they will grow just about where I need them.  And if not….who cares? Together, we will think of something.

I hope you liked what I did so far? And I will keep you all posted on this little tree’s progress.

Regards,

Hans van Meer.

Info: karamottobonsai@hotmail.com

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A “LARCH ” PROJECT PART 2.


HI everybody,

last week we had a spell of unusually warm and sunny weather over here, so I decided it was about time to do the first major styling I have planned for several of my trees for this year. The large Yamadori “Larch” in this story was ready for its second branch structure styling.

Check out: “THE STORY OF XL PART I” on my YOUTUBE channel!

I really took my time, working on this tree. Enjoying every minute of that relaxed and zone like feeling that comes over me when I’m guiding the branches of the tree as closely, as safely as possible, to their envisioned future shape. Overcoming or incorporating little problems, that I came across while working, without giving it any real thoughts. Sometimes things just fall together when I am working on an old tree like this one, when instinct takes over, with the sun in your face….MMMMMM! 🙂

Remember it is only the second structure styling, the top will fill out and thicken quickly in the next couple of years and there is about an Inch more trunk hidden behind the rime of that plastic container, as you can see in one of the pictures! In real life, the tree is taller and the base is wider and the whole tree is looking more balanced.

The first picture is taken when I just started to work.

In a few months, after all the Spring work is don, I will start working on the deadwood.

I hope you enjoy this little story,

Hans van Meer.

Info: karamottobonsai@hotmail.com

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A “ULMUS” WINTER CREATING.


Hi, everybody,

we are going through a period of cold weather here, and as usual, I am too late preparing the winter shelter for my trees. So this afternoon, in freezing gold weather, I had to do some last work on it. BBRRRRR! When I was bringing my last trees into the winter shelter, I noticed how beautiful the winter colours on my “Ulmus” looked. So I made a quick photo set up in the fading pale winter sun light and with the shivers, I shoot the picture below. This is one of my earliest bonsai and one of my favourites. Because of the millions of “Ulmus” malsai that have been sold in Europe over the last 20 years, they got stigmatized as inferior bonsai material. In my opinion that could not be further from the truth! I think that “Ulmus parvifolia” are wonderful to work with and very affordable, available and forgiving ( this one is frozen solid for 3 days now). And I think they look pretty amazing in these bright winter colours! I hope you like the Picture?

Regards,

Hans van Meer.

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                                              A “ULMUS” WINTER CREATING.

Info: karamottobonsai@hotmail.com

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VERY OLD “MUGO UNCINATA”.

Hi everybody,

I would like to share a picture with you I shot this afternoon of my old “Mugo Uncinata”.

In 2001 my wife and I travelled all the way to Switzerland to buy this and another Pine Yamadori from a well-known bonsai pro. After a few months in the growing season, the Pine still did not show any signs of growth! So I decided to check out the condition of the roots. I did not like the soil it was planted in after it was collected, it was some sort of grey gravel that stayed wet far too long and was really compressed. Carefully digging for some roots, my worst fears came true! There were no roots what so ever to find! Only a small peas of tap root (4/5 inches) covered in clay was all that was left on the tree, all the other roots were simply cut off with a saw. You got to love those provisional collectors, don’t you?!

Broken hearted I repotted the tree into my own soil recipe and placed the tree in a protected spot in my garden, where I could monitor everything from Sunlight to water! And then I waited and hoped!

Well to make a long story even longer….this amazing old survivor recovered and today is thriving. It is still secured to the pot with its deadwood on the right, to support it until the whole pot is full of roots! Than this deadwood will be shortened up to the red line. Then the root base will measure 56 CM/22 INCH. With the length of this Pine being 58CM/23 INCH this is very impressive! There is only one live line on the left of the tree alive, twirling around the back of the tree, coming back into sight on the right of the tree, feeding the only branch left on it. From this branch, I created the whole image of this pre-bonsai. A few years ago I cut off an old branch from the left part of the root base. I grinded the wood with fine sandpaper, so I could count the year rings. I could not count them all because they were simply too thin! But the ones I could count, went way over the 300 years mark! Last year I removed pieces of dead wood from the back and top and did the same, and was really amazed to count way more than 400 rings! This might just be one of the oldest living trees in Holland! And still, it managed to survive without any roots for all that time!

I still have a long way to go with this amazing piece of history, but I’m not complaining!

I hope you like it so far?

regards,

Hans van Meer.

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Info: karamottobonsai@hotmail.com    

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MORE YEW WORK

 

 Hi, everybody, 

Last weekend I did some more refinement work on one of my Yews in preparation for the Ginkgo Award.

Picture 1: Shows the small Shohin Yew before I worked on the ground coverage.

Picture 2: Shows the tree after different fresh mosses were added.

Picture 3: Shows that the second branches on both sides are growing from the same height on the trunk. The branch on the left side was always meant to be removed but was left on the tree to fill the big empty space between the bottom left branch and the top until the branch right above it would have grown enough in length to replace it. Especially on a bonsai this size these obvious folds are an eyesore and should be avoided or solved before you enter the bonsai in any show.

Picture 4: Here the branch is already removed and a small jin is left as a reminder. The branch above the one that is removed is brought down to more or less replace it.

Hans.

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Cheers,

Hans van Meer.

Info: karamottobonsai@hotmail.com    

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