Yesterday late afternoon I decided to take a long walk along the “Haringvliet” river and follow the long “Zee Dijk” (sea dyke) that runs along with it! This river is the last link between melting snow in the Alps and the North Sea (NL). While climbing up the stairs up that dyke, I was pleasantly surprised by a beautiful multicolour sunset! Luckily I had my old cellphone with me to take some pictures of some distant people that were running their dogs before dinner. They were all standing still to stare at that constantly changing colourful spectacle! I hope that this picture can convey that feeling that I had to you ?!
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!
This 111 cm high Chinese Hackberry (Celtis Sinensis) that was imported from China came into my lucky possession in 1993 when I won/bought it for only 875 guilders/ 350 Euro in a foreclosure Bonsai auction nearby Rotterdam in Holland! I could not have been happier to have won this amazing 111cm/43.4 Inch high Tree-like Bonsai! The only problem was that it had to be out of there right after the auction…and I drove a very small fiat these days?! Luckily a befriended Bonsai trader (Ed de Groot) transported it in his large truck to his EDO Bonsai centre in Blijswijk (NL) where he kindly offered to keep it in his warmed greenhouse during the upcoming winter period! Later in Spring, I rented a truck to transport her to my house. Getting it into my garden was a difficult adventure and I had to remove my garden door to get her inside!
Below: Repotting it later on my own from its massive Chinese pot into her new beautiful huge Walsall pot was a pleasant challenge, to say the least!
Below: Quiz: Can you tell why I named her the “LION CRUSHER”? 😊
Below: In 1999 I entered the ”LION CRUSHER” into the second famous and now legendary “Ginkgo Awards” in Belgium. Where she received a lot of praise!
Below: Jan. 2001. In the specially made for her makeshift winter shelter in my small town garden! But she was so worth it!
A few years later because she was so difficult to handle by myself and took up so much space in my very small garden, I brought her all the way back to the “Ginkgo Bonsai Centre” in Belgium to swap it or sell to my dear friend the owner/Bonsai artist Dany User! Danny was kind enough to swap her with me for a mid-sized Juniperus itoigawa fresh from Japan. It hat a promising trunk with a large Shari and Jin (deadwood) and tons of new short unworked foliage all over the place. Later I took it for days with me to our record store that we then run in Rotterdam (Holland) and styled it in a few days on the counter there!
Below: Not much later I entered her in the famous “Noelanders Trophy” in Belgium where she earned a nomination! 🙏🤞👍
Now looking back, it is funny how these Bonsai things can go?!
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!
This old girl friend of mine lives with me since 1990 and in those 30+ years it has grown good radiating roots/Nebari and has doubled her overall Hight and her trunk circumference! And to show her self off this year, her colours are seriously beautiful! So I just hat to make a quick picture with my old cell phone before the sun had disappeared completely! Hope you like it anyway?
Height: 74 cm/29 Inch. This (in my eyes special) pot is by Isabelia.
Below: close up of the delicate and beautiful multi coloured foliage.
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!
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! 😉
Hope you enjoyed these quickly made pictures of my baby and forgive me for the poor quality?!
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?!
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.
Maybe you all remember me telling about how somewhere in the middle 9ties of last century I was lucky to collect some amazing field grown and more than 50 years old Chamaecyparis obtusa nana gracilis mother plants in Boskoop (Holland).
Below: Well, one of those that I collected that day was styled by me and some years later shown in the famous “Noelanders Trophy” in Belgium. That all happened well before the year 2000!
Two decades later I sold this Bonsai to my good friend and student Diederick , who during a styling session with me at his place (Holland) brought it back to a very promising Bonsai again! Diederick has become such a fan of this species that he is always searching the internet to find another promising one! And he did find one and what happened then is just unbelievable, but true!
Diederick found wile surging the internet for Bonsai and raw material a guy near Utrecht (Holland), who had a very old Chamaecyparis for sale. So he drove up there and when he saw that tree, he immediately thought that it looked very familiar to the one he has at home?! So he ask abouth it’s history and origine?! The owner than told Diederick that many years ago he collected it and a few other onces at a profesional growers place in Boskoop (Holland)! And that it was like the other onces in that plot always used as a Mother plant that were grown to take many cuttings off from. And that it grew on its own roots so it was not crafted and that it must be by now abouth 70 or 80 years old! He told Diederick: I remember that day well becauce Hans van Meer was digging up 2 or 3 of these Chamacyparis Mother plants right next to me in that same plot?! Diederick was flabercasted by this coinsedence and told him that he recognized this story and that he now owned one of these Chamacyparis trees that I had collected all those years ago right next to the one he was now planning to buy from that guy?! Diederick was more then happy to buy this tree and later wrote to me: Hans after more than 25 years of seperation these so closley related trees are back togeter again in my garden…what was the change of that ever happening?! Now I know that they are just plants…but I find it a hearthwarming story in these troubled times!
Below: The garden of Diederick where the (top) Chamaecyparis that he just bought now closely lives next to his (below) brother-sister again after all these years!
I hope you enjoyed this little heartwarming story as much as we did? Stay safe and healthy everybody! Cheers, Hans van Meer.