I would like to share a picture with you I shot this afternoon of my old “Mugo Uncinata”.
In 2001 my wife and I travelled all the way to Switzerland to buy this and another Pine Yamadori from a well-known bonsai pro. After a few months in the growing season, the Pine still did not show any signs of growth! So I decided to check out the condition of the roots. I did not like the soil it was planted in after it was collected, it was some sort of grey gravel that stayed wet far too long and was really compressed. Carefully digging for some roots, my worst fears came true! There were no roots what so ever to find! Only a small peas of tap root (4/5 inches) covered in clay was all that was left on the tree, all the other roots were simply cut off with a saw. You got to love those provisional collectors, don’t you?!
Broken hearted I repotted the tree into my own soil recipe and placed the tree in a protected spot in my garden, where I could monitor everything from Sunlight to water! And then I waited and hoped!
Well to make a long story even longer….this amazing old survivor recovered and today is thriving. It is still secured to the pot with its deadwood on the right, to support it until the whole pot is full of roots! Than this deadwood will be shortened up to the red line. Then the root base will measure 56 CM/22 INCH. With the length of this Pine being 58CM/23 INCH this is very impressive! There is only one live line on the left of the tree alive, twirling around the back of the tree, coming back into sight on the right of the tree, feeding the only branch left on it. From this branch, I created the whole image of this pre-bonsai. A few years ago I cut off an old branch from the left part of the root base. I grinded the wood with fine sandpaper, so I could count the year rings. I could not count them all because they were simply too thin! But the ones I could count, went way over the 300 years mark! Last year I removed pieces of dead wood from the back and top and did the same, and was really amazed to count way more than 400 rings! This might just be one of the oldest living trees in Holland! And still, it managed to survive without any roots for all that time!
I still have a long way to go with this amazing piece of history, but I’m not complaining!
I hope you like it so far?
Hans van Meer.