R.I.P. or bad spring

I wanted to post something that some would consider a blow to the ego and although it made me feel awful, I know that it is simply a part of this deal. Not something I am proud of but I do believe that the warm March and very cold April played some part in this. I was also absent on vacation during March this year and I believe I would have left my poly-tunnel up if I stayed around for the month of April as well.

This was the worst spring I have ever had since I started pursuing Bonsai. I think that this at least can help others that may be beginners or some that have a few Bonsai years under their belt, realize that some of your trees will die. It is important to try and learn why they died and how to possibly prevent them from dying in the future. I believe there are also other reasons why the trees decided to give up. They were meant to teach you something and push you to progress further in terms of knowledge, cultivation, horticulture and artistic skill.

So, here I am putting my ego aside and presenting the trees that did not make it this year.

 

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First tree of the year. A big Hawthorn

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A big Linden I collected this year.

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Not a great tree but it has been with me since my 2nd beginning here in Czech Republic.

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Medium collected hornbeam with great taper and branches.

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One of my biggest losses. I was really looking forward to finally getting to the ramification stage

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Awesome little hornbeam I picked up last year. Died from a fungus that seems to be running around Europe lately. Buds opened with something like a cotton ball vs. fresh spring leaves.

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This was my biggest loss. This was my pride and joy of a tree that I tried to make into a good bonsai. It has deeply saddened me that this tree didn’t make it but I will not let this loss keep me from becoming a great bonsai practitioner some day.

I promise that in the next post, there will be some positive news. I hope this post gave some hope to those that have lost great trees, that you are not alone. To those that are well known bonsai artists or just have many years of experience, I am sure you understand and have experienced losses of trees that were very close to you.

T.

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May and end of May

Sorry for another long period of no posts as I have been quite busy with other projects. I wanted to post pictures that were taken throughout May and so they may not be in perfect order.

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re-potted beech

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collected hawthorn flowering!

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Linden air-layer

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I will post again soon, I promise ; )

 

Tom

Some Spring growth

Howdy there, been a cold cold spring so far but some trees have managed to burst out, mostly the linden.

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Tilia Cordata

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Tilia Platyphyllos

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Mixed Forest with Carpinus, Fagus, Picea in the back left and also looks like a new member in the back as well. A Betula sapling has appeared.

Some re-potting

Here’s another batch of trees I re-potted. I still have a few more to go but the weather has been real crap lately. Beech, some hornbeam, my new hazel and some others still haven’t opened their buds!

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This tree was bought 4 years ago as a ordinary nursery Alberta bush. I think there is potential to make this look like an old mountain Spruce

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Hazel, still hasn’t opened. I hope the cold didn’t damage too much of the tree.

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This picture of this Linden is from about 2 weeks ago. I will post newer pictures of opened trees soon.

Yamadori hunting 2017

Sorry for such a gap between posts. I was on vacation for a while and busy as well.

As many in central Europe know, we have experienced a very cold drop and even had snow earlier this week. This has been causing some troubles for collected and existing trees in my collection alike.

Here are some trees I’ve collected recently.

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Hornbeam

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Linden

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Hornbeam

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Hawthorn

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Hawthorn

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Hawthorn

Stay tuned.

 

Larch #4

This is the tree I got for a bargain about two years ago. It had some surgery done and it also went through a beheading. It also has had wire on it for almost two years now so there goes the myth that wire can be on for only so long. The best trick with wire, is to leave it on as long as possible. From the previous season I am focusing on building a new crown from the previous one. Because of haste and poor planning I potted this tree from the training pot into something that made the tree look like it was going to launch into orbit and then finally something a bit more suitable, at least in my opinion. The growth last season was then simply trimmed off and some new branches wired and other ends left alone. Those will need to be wired fully again in the future but I want the tree to rest before then. I hope for more growth this year because I will not be touching the root system at all.

This was the original tree. Great potential I thought but needed styling. Props to the previous owner though for splitting each sub branch into two’s and so forth.

Some time after wiring for the first time since I got the tree and what I thought needed to be done to improve the tree in the long run. Doing the right thing is not always easy with Bonsai and I think many people would have kept the top to keep the Bonsai looking “nice”. This approach will get you mediocre looking trees every time. Do the hacking and rough work as soon as possible and in five years it will show that these actions, where your tree looks like garbage for a while, are worth it.

The following are the repot into a pot I didn’t want to use but because of the situation with the roots I wasn’t able to use the pot I wanted. With no other choice I stuffed my beloved larix into this candy bowl and created the first rocketship Larch.. the last three photos are making the chop and placing it into a pot I liked much more by a local potter, Jiri Svacina.

few days after re-potting and a couple weeks later. I wish Larches stayed like they are in the early spring all the time.

I don’t have any pictures during the growing season, it looked ugly for the most part but I wanted the roots and tree to gain strength back. On the left you can see how I let the tree grow unrestricted.

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This is what the tree looks like now. Thanks for going through this novel and I hope you enjoyed the progression so far.

T*

 

Mixed Forest

This started out as a beech group with just 5 trees. 2 of those died and I decided that I wanted to try and create a mixed group.

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Some ideas such as using hornbeam, spruce maybe even an oak or scots pine. I wanted to create a group or forest that you could find growing naturally around here. I realized that it was a shame to just use 5 trees so I tried to add as many as I could without disturbing the roots too much.

I tried to find the most appropriately sized trees and I even managed to grab a spruce sapling along with one of them. So for now, 3 species in this group. I hope to have a couple more trees added in the spring but maybe also a new species of tree? I’ll see what happens.

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I decided to style the group and perhaps you can notice that one isn’t. That’s because it is dead :/

There are also some flaws with this design such as a strong center tree. I will try and correct these in the spring. I have one hornbeam sapling waiting in the greenhouse but I need to find something bigger for the center piece. That means going to all the nurseries and finding something that has been in a pot for some time or going into the forest, finding something good enough and then hope that the rootball is good enough to support the tree in this container. Group plantings are difficult when you don’t manage to get the entire group done at once.

 

Hornbeam #5

Dug this one out last spring, I am happy that I tripped over it after collecting my first linden.

last picture was before wiring about 4 weeks ago

and below is the final front

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The nebari needs work and I will determine whether or not an air layer should happen. The long branch that I left was to help with the healing of the giant wound below it and also to draw additional sap.

Rose

A little tree I bought because I always wanted a rose and this one was interesting. It seemed to be healthy so I gave it a quick styling about two months after having it at home and it may go into a better looking pot come spring.

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halfway done wiring.

some angles and the final front below.

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I tried to also remove as much of the moss as possible. It looks great and makes trees seem older but it’s not a good situation when moss is doing well. Usually that means that your substrate is not breathing enough and ultimately, your tree isn’t growing in ideal conditions either. Keep moss as a feature for shows and that’s it.

 

Hornbeam #4

I wanted to show some of the other trees I wired before Christmas. Here is a hornbeam yamadori I collected a couple years ago.

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Throwback to mid August

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Some Autumn colors

Before wiring

and after wiring, the final front below.

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Since it’s been growing well in this substrate for almost two years now I will re-pot into a better looking container and also to enhance the new look. I am really looking forward to how it will look.

Thanks!

T*