This bonsai started out as a very wild tree!
Pictured here prior to collection in October 2002, the tree was 6ft+ including the long whips of growth at the very top of the tree.
The top growth of a tree will often reflect what's happening in the ground; this tree was growing in very wet, soggy soil 8-9 months of the year and therefore had a very compact rootball (for a Hawthorn). This resulted in an equally dense and ramified branch system.
Hawthorns growing in drier soils will have very deep taproots and above ground, tall straight trunks free of lower branching.
The above ground part of a tree will very often be a mirror image of the below ground part.
Immediately after collection the tree was heavily pruned to find the trunkline; any branches that were too thick or ill-positioned were removed.
It is better to remove branches on Hawthorn that are too thick for future use at the time of collection for a variety of reasons. The main benefit is that it causes extraordinary backbudding from the trunk, these new shoots being perfect for building a new branch structure.
At this point I retained the low 'second trunk' at the base. Ultimately however, I decided against styling this tree as a twin trunk.
September 2003. Though the tree has recovered quite well, new growth looks very thin on such a tall tree.
The 'second trunk' at the base has been removed and the resulting stub hollowed out to form a 'uro'.
By July 2004 the tree has started to fill out.
Growth is very one sided (see last image); few shoots have emerged from the left hand side of the trunk.
To remedy this, a couple of shoots growing from the right hand side are (approach)grafted so they grow towards the left.
December 2004. After leaf fall, the basic structure of the tree can be seen.
August 2005 and the tree has fully recovered its vigour having been collected nearly 3 years previously.
Growth had been very strong. The first branch had been allowed to grow without pruning through the year in order to help strengthen and thicken it (the unpruned growth reaching nearly 2ft before being pruned back for this image).
To give an idication of the height of this tree, here it is pictured with my ten year old son in August 2005.
Height of tree: 30"/75cm
June 2008. Nearly 3 years later and the bonsai had developed well.
Much time has been spent strengthening and developing the first branch (on the right).
The crown was now quite 'neutral', facing neither left or right distinctly (whereas before it faced towards the right giving a strong impression of movement in that direction). This gave the tree a more settled and 'rested' appearance.
October 2008. The bonsai in its Winter image.
Height of tree: 30"/75cm
Update: July 2009
Seen from the right hand side
And the bonsai seen from below
For more views of this bonsai please see this video
Close up of the crown as seen from the left hand side
My daughter aged 10 months during the summer of 2010
New spring leaves beginning to appear during the Spring of 2011; Hawthorn leaves show an intense green colourthat is almost luminescent at this time of year
Detail of the trunk:during the Winter of 2010/2011 I carved the existing uro more deeply to create a much more striking and aged appearance tothe tree
The Hawthorn bonsai bursting into leaf in the Spring of 2011