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After a late start to the growing season of 2016, growth on many of my deciduous trees continued into early September and dormancy also arrived late. After a successful collecting season during the Winter of 2015/16, all but 4 of the newly collected Hawthorn survived through the heat of the Summer. The remainder were then given inital wiring of the primary branches and carving of trunk-chops which took up much of my time working outside in the garden through the Autumn.
Late September 2016: Of the many very old yamadori Hawthorn I collected the previous Winter, this tree was a favourite with its haunting trunkline and deadwood. Having grown for many decades in the shade of a much larger tree, it had a naturally stooped and bent trunk that had grown towards any available light under the cover of its bigger neighbour.
It had grown so strongly in its first year after collection that I had been able to prune it back at midsummer and it had then responded with a second vigorous flush of growth a few weeks later. In late September I then wired movement into the primary branches; at this stage the new shoots have hardened but are still supple and can have very heavy convoluted bends put into them without fear of them snapping.
Having seen images of this Hawthorn online after I collected it in October 2015, up and coming and very talented American potter Roy Minarai, offered to build it a pot that should reach me by next Spring.
Tree height 29"/73cm.
Late September 2016: Detail of the Hawthorn after initial wiring.
Late September 2016: Another of the yamadori I collected last year, a shohin-sized Hawthorn. Height 9.5"/24cm (to top of trunk), 5"/13cm diameter trunkbase. Given the extremely slow growth of the tree over many decades, the deadwood was very hard. Growth of this tree through 2016 was very strong and the tree had new extensions of over 12"/30cm.
Late September 2016: Ungrafted Japanese White Pine bonsai with a superb tapered trunk, styled for Lewis J Man in late September. Height approx 18"/44cm
For the health of the tree I decided not to remove the first branch (on the right) during this styling, once the tree had recovered it would be removed.
Late September 2016: Before and after styling images of the Japanese White Pine bonsai belonging to Lewis J Man.
As can be seen in the 'before' image, the tree had an excellent trunk but had suffered die-back of the lower branches, and despite being offered at a bargain-basement price, it had remained unsold until Lewis purchased it.
The solution to finding a design in the material was straightforward, the branches required dropping heavily to imitate those seen on Alpine trees that have had their branches bent heavily after years of heavy snowfall have weighed them down.
Late September 2016: The Japanese White Pine bonsai with its first branch covered up. Height approx 18"/44cm
Early October 2016: Caught on my mobile phone, an image of my big Cotoneaster bonsai (C. franchetti) catching the sun one early Autumn morning in my garden. This is the same tree from the front cover of my book "The Foundations of Bonsai", and it never fails to produce a good display of red berries in Autumn each year.
Early October 2016: Fagus sylvatica / European Beech I collected during October 2015, given its first styling just a year later. I have previously had great success (100% survival rate) with Beech collected in Autumn, just as the leaves begin to change colour, and those collected during Autumn 2015 were no exception.
As with the other Autumn 2015 Beech, this one recovered from collection very quickly after spending the Winter in a warm polytunnel.
Height approximately 18"/44cm. This one I will be keeping for my personal collection and transferring it into a bonsai pot next Summer when I have rooted a new nebari on it (it has a number of deep taproots).