Had this Hawthorn for quite a few years now but 2020 saw it repotted at a more acute angle giving it more of a windswept feel.
A few reasons for doing it. 1. I love windswept Hawthorn in nature. I think they are one of the most “Irish” representative tree images and are a common sight along our coastline. 2. After several repots and root workings I’m just not able to deal with the heavy root running along the front of the tree right to left. Normally they chase back and allow for a more compact root system. This one is connected to one of the main feeder paths running up the tree and has yet to product any significant backrooting after 15 plus years. On this tree the more acute lean right to left has allowed me to drop that root deeper in the pot and hide its ugliness.
I still need to deal with the ever creeping moss running up the trunk, but while working the tree I noticed tiny little mushrooms popping out of the little ecosystem along the upper trunk line. I think laying it over has helped create it’s own little world on top.
Running along the top centre of the trunkline is the beginnings of a natural Shari. The tree is pretty much split into two main live veins with the dead patch in the middle. Instead of going in there and clearing it out, I’m just going to let it decay at it’s own rate for now and enjoy watching it change year to year.
This maple was brought to me last April for work. It was weak and in examination of the base a full half of the trunk base was dead and rotting away.
I explained to the owner that things would get worse fast with the rotted wood coming away and creating an ugly base. It was obviously also having an impact on the general health of the tree. We opted to layer the tree just above the rotted base at the first point were a full 360 of live tissue could be cut into. We potted it into fine akadama topped off with a thin layer of moss to aid water retention.
Last week the tree came back to me for work and removal of the layer if successful.
Above you can see extension on the tree, even on the lower branches. A good sign.
We removed the pot and found a full 360 of radial roots in great shape. It looked like a hula dancers grass skirt. It had even rooted well above the rotted area where sap full would have been weak.
We worked the roots out to soften the edge and even removed some that had rooted above the callous line into the moss and that would have created an uneven nebari. The stump underneath was whittled away with knob cutters.
You can see on the stump of the old base that a full 180 degrees of the trunk was dead at the base.
We took some time to spread out the roots and potted the tree in a spare pot of mine that allowed more room front to back and a little more depth. I’m fairly confident that this tree will fill this pot in a single year.
The top got a light pruning. The low branches may annoy some but I actually like the image. Better this than a dead tree in a few years. We repotted the original stump out of interest to see the rootmass. The rotted portion just fell away and what roots were there were very poor indeed.
I collected this little Prunus spinosa or Blackthorn back in Spring 2017. It look a while to get roots established with very little taking place in the first year. Last year it did well in the sphagnum miss it was potted in and I transferred it over into a proper mix this spring. It’s new pot is a little grand for it but was all I had on the shelf that would accommodate the roots safely. Stone Monkey pot by Andy Pearson. The tree is unsettled. No wiring or scissor work done. It’s just as nature made it.
It’s been a busy week down in the South of Ireland doing some one to one sessions with friends from Cobh, Cork, to Limerick then Dublin. Some good times had and great trees played with. A little styling and refinement and, as you’d expect, some repotting.
Here’s some photos from the trip.
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snow on the way home as usual in Dublin. Thank you to all who supported the road trip. Back again images weeks for another round.
Tuesday was a first session with a new customer. Paul has been doing bonsai for a while but has decided to up him game. I spent the day helping him with a few projects and some repotting. Paul’s garden is pretty special too. Here’s some photos of the day.
Monday saw me with Derek sorting a few trees out. Repotting and a little wiring on the agenda.
First up was a maple that had been recovering for a ew years in a box. Now we’ll on the up again we transferred it into a pot. Derek had a few options but most were too small.
We opted to use a round Gordon Duffet pot he had lying around😂 I only wish it were mine. The other gives the tree a little space in which to continue its development
This was the tree back in the late 80s
Next up was a pine, species unknown. He collected the seed from the Botanical Gardens in Dublin many years ago. The tree got a reworking having had some initial work done by myself a few years ago at a club workshop.
The tree was repotted into a Magic Ceramic pot that Derek picked up last year. We even found a nice widening buttress buried in the box. It’s got a longer needle but back buds well and seems to reduce well.
Another repot was this larch which had been a taller tree last year before being reduced to the bottom branch. Pushing hard for a shohin image but it’s on the larger side. It went into another Magic Ceramics pot.
A Chinese Juniper landscape was next. I doubt this tree had been repotted properly in the last 20 years but now under Derek’s care it was time for a freshen up.
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A busy day with Derek but productive and great craic as usual.
I only wish I was young enough to go actual clubbing! This time it was a study group session with Leinster Bonsai Club in Dublin on Sunday.
We looked at repotting Theory, how, when and why we repot and what substrates to use. We then got hands on with a few trees to cover the practical side. A big thank to the LBC for supporting my endeavours in this the 5th of 6 sessions.
It’s taken me a full week to thaw out but I’m able at last to feel my fingers and type out a blog post about my trip to Peter Warren’s Saruyama Bonsai aka Monkey Mountain.
Myself and a friend Mark from Cork flew over to Peter’s on the Friday and got stuck in to a full schedule of repotting over the next three days. Peter had lined up some great projects for the both of us with a heavy emphasis on learning and gaining experience with tricky techniques. Big trees featured a lot along with a wide range of species and a few rock planting creations. Friday was T Shirt weather but the snow greeted us on the Saturday morning but hard work kept us warm, mostly! Ireland beating England in the Six Nations Rugby in England on St Patrick’s Day also warmed the heart 🙂
Instead of adding a gallery of a gazillion photos I’ve put together a short video of the weekend. Many of the photos used were from a phone using a shivering hand, so apologies if some aren’t as clear as they should be.
Massive thank you to Peter and Satomi for a great weekend. Never stop learning folks.
I posted last year about a great chap living over in the west of Ireland with a collection of bonsai 40 years + in the making. Peter Flint, a long time bonsai enthusiast, now in his 80’s had been working through his trees catching up on some long overdue repotting. However, he had a few that were just to big for him to manage. Derek and myself popped over to give him a hand. When I say popped over, it was a 9 hour round trip for me, but I’d hate to see the trees suffer from lack of hands.
Now, Peter has his own way of doing things regarding mixes etc and even though I didn’t agree with him, who am I to change what’s been working for him for 40 odd years. First up was a tall cedar.
Then a great Hinoki Cypress.
After a fun day with Peter, Derek and I went to check out some great local yamadori, mostly hawthorn and blackthorn. Most weren’t collectable but I did find time to experiment with a few air layers.
Thanks for a great day Peter, and the pizza 🙂 and to Derek for good company on the trip, it just flew in.