I’ve been thinking for a while about having a blog to organise my photos and share the progress of the bonsai trees and material in my garden. Up to now I’ve been creating folders and sub folders of dated pictures and organising them on the computer but it’s getting frustrating as it involves jumping through a lot of hoops to get the desired picture and there’s no easy way of recording useful information alongside each picture either. So, I’m going to try and be diligent with this blog and hopefully it’ll be a lot easier to track the progress of my trees, as well as make record keeping an easier and more enjoyable experience. I’m a father of three young kids and my wife gave up her job to stay at home and look after them so I don’t have the finances to pursue my hobby by buying mature, styled…
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I collected this Yamadori Yew in 2011, the tree was very slow to establish in the first couple of years, this is due to the cambium layer being very thin because the hard growing conditions that the tree suffered. In the third year the tree thrives and this year the growth has been very strong. With very old trees such as this it’s important that you wait for the growth of the foliage to be robust and vigorous for the future development of the tree, start work too early and you could set back development or worse kill the tree!
The work undertaken this week was to remove the thick upright deadwood branches, clear the smaller dead branches near the base of the tree and reposition the whole into the ‘final’ planting position. The tree will be left for a couple of years to extend and fill out the foliage…
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This is a very old Yew collected in 2010, it is a tree that I visited on the hill many times before the tree was collected, and one that I took students to as an example of a ‘real’ yamadori in the wild. It was never my intention to collect this tree, as it was very long, it was growing directly in a rock crevice on a cliff face with no foliage close to the base of the tree.
Whilst visiting the tree at the end of April 2010 I noticed that it had fallen from its lofty position and was being held in place by a very small section, the fierce weather that winter had dislodged the rock that was gripping the tree and the whole could at any time fall to the valley below.
There was only one course of action, ‘Save the tree’ and this took place…
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I am working on some revolutionary methods for establishing newly collected Yamadori. I started back in November with five trees using different techniques, two failed but three have delivered spectacular results. Prunus Spinosa and Crataegus producing roots from the whole tree, these photos were taken in February. With this knowledge I set out and collected over 100 trees and these are now thriving. I am busy collecting Yews up to the end of April in the UK then over to mainland Europe for Pines and Picea. This year’s stock will be available for reserve for a deposit of 50% from Mid June onwards.
I have uploaded these photos in hi resolution so you can take a closer look if you ‘click’ on them!
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Here is a gallery of images from the last collecting trip to collect hawthorns. They are situated on a hillside surrounded by scrub and large trees. Finding them is not easy as they are the same colour as the rocks. One of the best aspects of this site is that most trees have one large tap root but many fine roots in the layer of soil above the rough stone. You can see the difference in the colour of the soil where the fine roots are. This creates a great nebari and once the tap root is cut off the tree can be place in a shallow container.
I was never happy with the viewing position of the tree in the pot, I commissioned Gordon Duffett to create a new pot that would enable me to rotate the tree and make the image more dynamic. Take time to watch the movie of the re-potting, there are a few surprises!
I have had this tree for over 15 years, its know as ‘The Fat Guy’ (because I have a hawthorn called ‘The Tall Guy”)
This Hawthorn raft is probably the tree that most people in the bonsai world know me by, I collected the tree way back in 1991 and after establishing in a box for 4 years the tree has only been re-potted 3 times.
In this repot, the angle of the tree was changed by 5 degrees. Rotating to the right the tree presented itself better to the viewer. The left side being closer… however the right side moved away from the viewer, that had to be corrected (that is explained here) The late great potter Derek Aspinall made the pot, its very narrow and perfectly flat, sitting without rocking when displayed on a table/
This re-pot was done exactly 12 months ago, the tree recovered well and is in preparation for a show in Wales later this year.