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March 2017: This beautiful tree is a Black Cherry Plum bonsai (Prunus cerasifera 'nigra') by my apprentice Sean Stolp. Photographed while at its peak of flowering, the flowers make a stunning contrast to the near-black bark of the fluted trunk (hence the variety name 'nigra').
Height of tree 23"/56cm. Trunk diameter, above the nebari, 5"/12cm
Sean started the bonsai just six years ago from a much larger tree that he then chopped and grew out new branches. Last year I carved the narrow shari that runs from the top to the bottom of the trunk in order to disguise the chop wound itself, and some dieback that resulted from the chop.
Detail of the nebari and the shari. I treated the deadwood with a combination of ash and lime-sulphur to create its natural tone and colour.
Note the presence of a thread-graft that Sean has made to create a branch in the bottom-right of the foliage mass.
The flowers this year have made a stunning display; they are also a very welcome signal that Spring and the new growing season have truly arrived!