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This Hawthorn was collected from an area of marshy land in the Winter of 2000/01. The continually wet and poor draining soil had kept the tree naturally small; the trunk had grow upwards through the surrounding vegetation (a mixture of grass and sphagnum moss) and then grown across it, towards the right.
When lifted from the ground, I found that the rootball was very dense and compact, again due to the ground that it was growing in. As the ground never dried out throughout the growing season, there was no need for the root system to extend far from the base of the trunk in search of moisture.
Based on the annual rings counted on the chopped trunk, I aged the tree at around 20 years. As the trunk spent its life in the ground surrounded by grass and sphagnum moss it had already started to develop good bark texture.
By the Summer of 2002, the tree had put on enough vigorous growth to allow me to trim back unwanted growth and apply a branch bender to the cascading branch. At the time branch-benders were popular amongst the bonsai-fraternity, thankfully they seem to have fallen out of favour now as they had a tendency to rip the bark off the branch!
Winter 2002. The tree is styled for the first time and repotted.