Sorry Spruce

After our collecting trip back in February we came back with some rather nice Spruce. Most came with good rootballs and are still thriving well into there second flush of growth this year.

This one was always going to be touch and go as it had very little root. It went to Phil’s poly tunnel were it spent some time on his heat bed in an attempt to stimulate enough growth to survive. Sadly it didn’t make it. What a pity, it would have made a tasty tree.

Yamadori Pine Collecting Video

I managed to take a few video clips during our bog hopping exploits last week. I’ve thrown them together for my pleasure and hopefully yours 🙂

Potting Up

Yesterday saw us potting up the remaining Scots Pine and getting them into the poly tunnels. As usual I had the camera in hand. Some would say that this is a cunning ploy for me to avoid the heavy lifting, that is not the case but is a rather handy bonus 🙂

Phil considering binning this one!!

Phew, he’s only removing some of the grass from the root ball.

We managed to find a few interesting heathers as well.

and some rather nice lichen with red flowering trumpets.

The watering area before placing into the tunnels

Smudge doesn’t care about the Pines’ ‘Just throw the Ball Phil!!’

More watering

Important to keep watering until the water runs clear. The grit is dusty and all the fine particles need to be washed out of the bottom.

The Old Tunnel

and the new tunnel

the rest went to Phil’s place to go on his heat bed for a month or so. These were the trees with poorer root systems.

This was our last collecting trip this Spring. If all goes well we are looking at further collecting in the Autumn.

Boggy Scotties

Here some photos from our collecting trip today, well, actually it’s now yesterday. To knackered to type much about it. I’ll let the photos do the talking were I can.

You can see that these Scots Pines have been lifted from a bog. They are self seeded and when asking for permission to collect the farmer told me that they are all scheduled for destruction as they shouldn’t be there. We are happy to try and save them 🙂

First one of the day.

All trees are bagged and taped up to stop the roots drying out.

Nice bark on some if not all of the trees collected.

Trees rooted into the top 6 inches of sphagnum moss, no roots go any deeper. Trees can be dug out in a few minutes.

I wasn’t the only one snapping away.

A large but nice multi trunk.

Clipping out some dead bits.

Easy to dig out.

Bagged and taped up.

Phil, the heavy lifter 🙂

Stephen opts for a tiny one.

and another small one for Stephen, see the pattern here 🙂

We decided to leave this one!!

Scattered everywhere!

Too big for today but cut back for future lifting.


Another tall one but as it was closer to the car it came with us.

Lots of fine white tips to the roots.

Phil wondering why these new gloves don’t work very well. Finished lifting time to head home.

Back in the driveway.

Grit ready and waiting.

Pines in for the potting up session tomorrow, now today!

Phil doing more heavy lifting.

We managed to get the two biggest ones potted up before we finished for today.

More later, off to bed!   zzzzzz…..

Many Hands Make Light Work

I dread to think how I would have potted up the Escallonia last night without help from John, Ben, Michael and Ben. Yes, there was two Bens 🙂

It was getting dark so many of the photos are crap but you get the drift.

Getting a bit of glare off the top of the old shiny head there 🙂

This was it today in the Tunnel. I added a top layer of Sphagnum moss to aid humidity and keep the surface roots moist.

Escallonia Dig

I decided to collect this Escallonia from my Dad’s garden today. I had chopped it back last year in March in preparation for collecting this year. You can see posts about this HERE and HERE.

I forgot to lift my camera and had to resort to the mobile phone for photos. Below you can see my 85 year old Dad hard at work, something he’s done all his life. He’s fitter than I am!!


We also had another helper, Bobby the Robin was in around our feet lifting grubs to feed it’s first brood of the year. My Dad has about 20+ next boxes up around the place!

I’ve still to pot this up and am hoping that a few mates will being coming over tonight to give me a hand!! Photos to follow tomorrow.


10 Days Later..

I took a few photos of the collected trees in the Poly Tunnel and compared them to the same shots from 10 days ago when they were placed in the tunnel. A nice shade of green appearing.

14th March

24th March

Potting Up

On our return from the collecting trip we made a start to the potting up. Well, Phil and I did 🙂 Stephen starts late and finishes early!! He kept talking about needing some sleep, you’d think he had worked all night before coming out collecting 🙂

This was my garage before Phil and I started. I wanted to cry, totally knackered after the weekend away and a full day humping tress down a mountain!!

We started with the Spruce. They were potted into Sphagnum moss specially imported from Willowbog for the job 🙂

We worked until we were seeing double and called it a night. Stephen came back the following day and we finished off the remaining Larch. This is what greeted us in the garage, only 12 Larch left. Not a lot of photos taken here as it was a hassle taking gloves on and off!

The tunnel was emptied out to make room for the new arrivals and we managed to fill it.

It was good to see trees out again after their Winter protection, albeit rather haphazardly dumped onto benches!!

I’ll keep you posted with how these trees progress or die 🙂 I think we should be successful with most. One very nice Spruce had little root and we expect it to die but you never know!!

Tuesday’s Collecting Trip

Managed to squeeze in a collecting trip with Phil and Stephen on Tuesday. We had planned to spread the collecting out over a few years on this site but the land owner moved the goal posts and we only had one day to get what we wanted! This meant lifting way more trees than we had planned for.

Phil and I set out early, Stephen was joining us after he finished work. A few swans followed us West, I thought birds flew south!!

Phil strides out into the site on the hunt for decent Larch.

First one of the day.

We were delighted that the trees could be lifted in few few minutes. They had rooted into the top layer of moss and no tap roots were going into the poor peat soil below. A quick circle with the spade and out they popped.

We then had a closer look at a few of the Spruce and were delighted to find massive trunks. These were trees that had been cut just above soil surface many years ago but a few had remaining low branches that have developed into squat powerful trees. We thought they would be a nightmare to collect but had this first one out in 10 minutes.

We moved on to this even better one. Probably the pick of the bunch. I had looked at this one a few months ago and couldn’t get my hands around the base. It’s as thick as my thigh. The obvious top leader was removed leaving a nicely tapered trunk.

Part of the view. A cloudy but mild windless day, perfect for collecting. Stephen, Bonsai Baker, eventually turned up once the hard work was done and we had enough lifted to fill his car already. We moved on a little further and collected a few more Spruce with lighter trunks.

We humped the booty down to the main Larch area. Dopey and Happy whistling while they work, the other 5 dwarfs will be along shortly behind them 🙂

We them moved to another area with larch and collected what we thought we could handle and fit in the trailer!

Stephen checks out another one, you can see the shari on the trunks caused by the wild goats that roam the mountains here.

Another Spruce.

We get the trees back down to the car and get the trailer loaded up. Phil gulps down his usual Red Bull and Stephen is either eating a Mars Bar or chewing a wasp!! The stone is actually suiseki size 🙂

We had spotted a very nice Lodgepole Pine and went to investigate.

When we cleared the top moss off we found out that the roots disappeared into the rock. The chances of collecting this and getting it to survive are slim to none. We covered it back up and left it for others to enjoy.

Packed up we moved on. Room forHappy in the trailer 🙂

We found another site for Larch lower down. Still Japanese Larch but much redder bark

Phil found another Pine but alas, it was also rooted through rock.

He then spotted a Spruce and got down for a closer look. So tempted to deliver a size 11 boot to the target presented!!

We even managed to spot the herd of wild goats that had helped us with the shari 🙂

Some nice mature forest too.

Phil decides to try a Le Mans Start for the trip home and some potting up 🙂

We even found a new site for Hawthorn! Different land owner but worth further investigation I think!!

I post photos from the potting up tomorrow.

Collecting Garden Trees

Here’s Graham Potter latest video looking at collecting trees from gardens. This probably where many bonsai enthusiasts collect and is a great way to get a cheap bit of material. All you have to do is give it after care and time to establish before working.