My double-sided Dutch Hawthorn in beautiful Fall colours.

Hi everybody! We had nothing but rain the past few days, so as soon as the sun broke through the clouds, I grabbed my phone, a Bonsai table and my old double-sided Dutch Hawthorn with stunning Fall colours to make a few pictures that I could share with you all! I collected this old Hawthorn not far from where I live in a wet dune forest close to the sea. The poor tree was almost completely covered with sand and only a long battered branch with just a few leaves (now that Jin) grew above the soil line! The deer that roam free there had eaten most of its already spares foliage. And to make things even harder for this poor little tree, that protruding 1-meter-high almost dead branch was used as a scratching pole by the big buffalo that live there! This straight and half-death top section was all that I could see, so when I dug it up with only my hands, I was pleasantly surprised to discover a beautiful hidden trunk full of deadwood! Now decades later, he has become a mature old-looking Bonsai with two possible fronts! I think it looks really good in this beautiful pot by Graham Potter (UK)! So for now it can freely mature some more and developed more finner ramifications! And by then will decide what will be its front, or I will plant it in a beautiful round pot so I can turn it around and enjoy both fronts?! What do you Girls and Guys think is the best front???
Height: 38cm/15 Inch.

Below: Present front-side.

Below: A close-up of the present front side.

Below: Alternative front-side.

Below: Alternative front-side close-up.

Cheers and stay safe,
Hans van Meer.

My Acer palmatum deshojo in stunning red Autumn colours!

Hi everybody! My ribs and longs are still not healed from inhaling those Juniperus sabina pollen! So working on my trees is still out of the question because even breathing is still challenging and painful! But what I could do was make a cell phone picture of my Deshojo Palmatum in beautiful bright red autumn colours. Some 3 months ago I had to give her an emergency repotting because she had grown so much that she became potbound and her compact root ball had clocked all the holes in the pot! So much so that water could no longer run freely out of those blocked holes and that is something you should always prevent! So I freed her from the pot and then with a hook I carefully opened up the bottom part of those tightly tangled roots and cut them off. Then I planted her in this larger beautiful Isabelia pot with large holes in the bottom! Today a few months have passed and it’s clear that she suffered no ill effects from this emergency operation and is doing just fine! Although the pot is a bit too large for my taste…the shape and colour are a perfect match for her stunning red autumn colours! So I might let her grow a bit bigger or hope to find one with more or less the same shape and colour! She is the third Bonsai that I ever bought and has been with me since January 1990. Since then she has doubled in size! Height 68 cm / 27inch. Pot: Isabelia. Import from Japan. I hope you like her as much as I do?!

Cheers and stay safe,
Hans van Meer.

A warm Bonsai welcome to my Bonsai friends.

A few weeks ago I had a long-awaited visit from my friend and student Diederick and his wife Miek Bovenlander. I spent a warm afternoon making sure that my trees were displayed as good as possible in the little space that I have in my small city garden! And I made a quick welcome display in my living room with (this time) one of my mid-sized Hawthorns and a pool stone that I found during my visit to Denmark. The background poster I had made of a picture that I shot during my visit to the amazing Japanese hill garden in Portland Oregon. I worked it over with my paint program to make it look like an oil painting! On the right side, you can see the famous Dutch pink cakes!👌 They liked the welcome and it proved to be a proper start to a fun and fruitful Bonsai day with friends!

Cheers,

Hans van Meer.

My Pinus sylvestris cascade is coming along nicely (part II)!

It is near the end of August and my cascade Pinus sylvestris has grown well this Summer! And the foliage peds look more mature now! It still needs some light wiring but most branches are already fixed in their places! Meanwhile, I am on the lookout for a lovely handmade pot that is more or less the shape/idea of this plastic makeshift one!

I hope you like where I am going with her?!

Cheers,

Hans van Meer.

A beautiful (unknown) flowering Weed!?

Below: it must have been 3 or 4 years ago that I noticed a small fern-like weed that was growing in between the gravel stones hidden underneath a long table full of Bonsai! So I carefully duck it up and planted it in the pot where it still lives today. And then this Spring a very thin stem started to grow and grow and bundles of small white buds started to form around the top of that still-growing stem! And even strong winds that battered it could not break or even bend it?! And then after a few weeks, all the flowers opened and an amazing perfume filled my working/foto aria! So I looked up some stuff to make this quick composition with…why you might ask? Well because I like to do this… it is a quick creating fix! The water stone on the left I found some 20 years ago on a beach in Denmark when I was there to do a demo and a workshop.

Below: This is a poor Cell phone picture and I just could not get the brightness of the reflecting flower petals down enough! I removed the plant identifier from my phone so I don’t have a clue what this little weed/plant’s name is?! So if anybody out there knows it! Then please let me know?!

I hope you liked this little post about the silly things that make me happy?! Ow…and a weed is just a plant that nobody wants!

Cheers,

Hans van Meer.

Juniperus sabina Yamadori first styling.

Below: April 2018. Here is a picture of how I bought the Dubbel trunk, Juniper Sabina of this little story! Both trunks are connected underneath the soil line and I took a big gamble that I could separate them to get two very nice Yamadori for the price of one!

Below: After I first had made sure that the divided roots would be enough for both sides to survive on their own, I separated them with a power saw!

Below: And that is how one Juni became two Junipers!

Below: Next to each other in their new homes after a dust-removing shower!

Below: fast forward to 17-5-2022. Before the work begins a quick picture! The tree is healthy with tons of foliage and more than enough (small) branches to choose from! But there is a problem! From this really only possible angle there is just one live line to see on the left bottom side and along the whole top section that is now all still hiding behind the lush foliage!

Below: Is an overview of my very professional working aria/foto studio!🤣😇

Below: Brach selection is always an exciting part of styling that needs to be done with confidence! I remember what the famous John Naka once set during a demonstration when he was about to cut off a major branch: “Let’s cut it off for now!” 😉

Below: More branches are removed or shortened until just the ones that are or could be useful are left!

Below: The all-important first styling work is done and now the tree needs some time to recover! But I can work on the deadwood and bleach it and with an old toothbrush carefully clean the life vein from its outer dirty skin layer to reveal its dark brown colour!

I hope that you like what I have done with this elegant Juni?!
Cheers,
Hans van Meer.

White pine picture “candles & apple”.

Below: I just wanted to share this cell phone picture that I made of 4 small candles hugging an apple on my old Pinus parviflora. She responds very well after her repotting and is covered with bright green candles! The 2 most minor will be removed in favour of the 2 stronger ones! Always leave a maximum of just 2 end buds at the end of each Pine branch so that they will not become too coarse in the future!

Cheers,

Hans van Meer.

My Taxus windswept is coming along!

Below: This is how I found him during my 2007 collecting trip with Tony Tickle in Wales. The large rock that you can see at the bottom of this picture originally covered most of the trunk right up to where the foliage starts! It took all my strength to lift it off of the poor tree! And freeing it from all the rocks it lived in for all those years took a long time indeed! But it was well worth it!!!!

Below: And this is how it looks after 15 years of training and good care! He is completely covered with new bright green buds! Pinching them all back took me a while and gave me a chance to overlook its progress over the last years. And I have to say that he is coming along faster than I could ever wish! There is hardly any wirer necessary to keep this basic shape and from now on it will mostly be refining detail work! I hope it to be show worthy by next season?! Height: 64 cm/ 25 inch. Pot Japan.

Cheers,

Hans van Meer.

Bending a thick Pine branch with cheap Sisal rope protection!

Below: Just so show you all that I practise what I preach! Here is a fast Cell phone picture that I shot from underneath the thumb-thick old Pine branch that I had just bent some 45 degrees with the help of a double protecting layer of cheap and easy-to-get Sisal rope and two 5mm aluminium wirers! The white arrow points at where the branch has bent the most! That tin red line to the right shows where the branch used to be before it was bent! Impressive yes?! And no mess or damage from using that clumsy wet Raffia!

Cheers,

Hans van Meer.

My Japanese black Pine with exposed roots repotted.

Below: My Japanese black Pine “Pinus thunbergii” is with me since 1990 and was styled by me during a demonstration a year later. I remember the excited reaction of the students when I chopped off most of the top and turned the rest into a Jin (deadwood). It needed a repotting and some fresh soil to grow and strive in. Lifting it out of its pot was easy and that is a sure sign it needs to be repotted into fresh soil! All the long circling roots were shortened and a layer/ring of old soil and roots was removed working inwards and upward from the side leaving a hole in the middle for fresh soil. Pot by William Vlaanderen (NL). Height: 15-25 cm (Komono).

Below: The soil mount in between the exposed roots is left this time! water still penetrates it when I water so there is no problem for now! But next time that section needs more attention and fresh soil…but that’s for then!

Below: The tree basically grows over a month of soil, so when watering the water tends to run down fast and hard. So the chance that this fresh soil will be flushed away is imminent…so to prevent this I mixed some Kato with very fine Akadama and Akadama dust with some water to make it into a more malleable paste!

Below: That thick paste is then applied over the soil and pushed down to make a nice sloppy month where water can run down without taking the fresh soil along with it. I now only have to make sure that I water enough and have to check every time if the water runs through the hole in the bottom! In a month or so when the new soil is more settled the layer of Kato will be simply scraped away.

More later on this little tree!

Cheers,

Hans van Meer.