Hi everybody, it has been a while I know…but I have […]
Hi, everybody. well, it is like they say: bad luck never comes […]
Dear friends, It is just over a week ago now that after […]
here are some pictures I made a few weeks ago when I repotted my old Chinese Ulmus parvifolia that I have been training and styling for some 27 years now. Most of that time was spent on first building a solid and old looking basic branch structure and that meant letting grow a lot to thicken and then cut. That took at least a full decade to accomplish and then it was more working combined with creating the secondary branch and later even tertiary branch structure! Letting grow and cutting back and sometimes cutting back hard or compleat or partly defoliation everything was don during all those years to create a natural and old looking branch structure that was best seen during the dormancy winter time! And of course, during all those years I worked on the roots and base of the tree! It started with not many roots at all and what was there was to fat or tiny and grew from the back side of the tree! So after a few years growing as soon as there were new but tinny roots showing I started to wire them carefully into the desired position and from there kept on guiding and coaching them for all those years until I was left with great old looking roots and a firm root base! Years of cutting back every root that grew downwards made it possible to stay in the same shallow pot that it grew in for the better part of its Bonsai live in my garden and that is great because I really think that this pot suits this Bonsai in colour, shape and size! This species is really a bit looked down upon because to are still associated with indoor and Mall Bonsai (mallsai) and that is a shame in my opinion because the can be shaped relatively easy into very believable Bonsai! They have amazing flaky bark and grow stunning root base and branch structure! They are winter and summer hardy up to a point and tolerate hard pruning or defoliation without any problem. They are not easily receptive to insects or fungi and grow in almost anything! This little Bonsai was some 10 years ago even proudly shown in the prestigious “Noelanders Trophy”…so it can be done! So my advise: if you can find a nice promising one..give it a try! And I promise you that you will be surprised just how suited they are to a life as a Bonsai and just how pretty the can become over time!!!
Below: close up of the Ulmus back side Nebari.
Below: back side.
Below: close up of the front side Nebari.
Below: And the front side of my Ulmus. Height 56 cm.
Hope you enjoyed this little Ulmus story?!
Hans van Meer.
two weeks ago we had some record-breakingly warm weather so it was a great opportunity to do some wiring and deadwood work on one of my favourite Prunus Mahaleb Yamadori’s from Slovenia. This pre-Bonsai is full of naturally burned and sun-bleached deadwood and I want to recreate that in the Jin and Shari where I am going to work on. Almost all of the branches of this tree are newly grown by me and need more fine branching and ageing, but I am not in a hurry! I was a bit laid with wiring it almost completely and had to take great care not to break off any of the new growth that was emerging fast because of the sudden warm weather of the last few days! We went from frost in the night to almost 30 degrees during the daytime in one week time…really crazy weather!!! After I finished the wiring and styling it, for now, I started to work on the front Jin and Shari with a power tool. The main focus was on reducing the Jin and Shari because there is a reverse taper and bulging section on it that needs to be reduced and shaped as natural as possible so that it will fit in with the rest of all the natural deadwood on the tree!
Below: The Prunus Mahaleb after I just finished the wiring. Height 67 cm. I kept it as natural looking as possible and preserved the second small trunk on the left bottom side of my design! I allowed it to grow freely to create a for now still young looking small secondary tree to accompany the larger tree on the right! I guess you could call it a Mother and child design?!
Below; the red arrow points at the deadwood part that is thicker than the section below it. The Jin is to thick and the section below it is somewhat bulging and forms a reverse taper!
Below: Taking my time and enjoying it while I am tacking away excess wood and shaping at the same time. I love this faster creating and result part of doing Bonsai!
Below: The result is that the Jin is less bulky now and looks like the remainings of a large branch/trunk that has been torn off by a storm that created a long wound that runs down through the bark below it. In that way, the reverse taper or bulge is less obvious! Now the fresh deadwood needs to be scorched with a small burner to mimic the crackly image of the originally burned deadwood on this tree.
Below: after carefully burning the fresh deadwood it looks just like the original deadwood of this tree. I will not brush it to preserve the cracks that look just like the ones on the natural deadwood on the right side of it! There is a forecast of rain for the next couple of days so I will bleach it with diluted Lime sulfur to mimic the original lightly bleached deadwood! I will post pictures of it later.
Hope you enjoyed this little story?!
Hans van Meer.
HERE is again a link to a post by Jonas Dupuich on his great educational BONSAI TONIGHT website!!! This time it is a link to his post about his trip to the Sierra Nevada desert where he made some of the most breathtaking pictures of some of the most beautiful trees in existence!!! I discovered this post in the middle of the night and I was literally blown away for a while and moved emotionally by what he had captured so well in his pictures!!! These ancient trees full of unbelievable deadwood are so humbling and exemplary to what we want to create in our Bonsai!!! So I had to reblog the link here so that everybody could enjoy them! I hope you all are impressed by them as I am…I can’t stop looking at them and shake my head in amazement!!! And there are much more articles and pictures to find on his amazing blog so do go and have a long look!!!
Bellow: Jonas Dupuich the author and photographer of the article on one of the mind-boggling Sierra junipers in his amazing article that you must see on his BONSAI TONIGHT website and blog!!!
Hans van Meer.
I had the good fortune to give some workshops these last months and there are more planned for the coming months here in Holland and abroad! And although I love to give a demo like the one planned in Slovenia in a few weeks time, workshops are still a bit more favourable to me! The interaction with the students and the shared pleasure of creating and working on those llittle trees is so fulfilling to me! Here are some pictures that Marijke made a week ago during my workshop in Poortugaal (NL).
It is also good to see that the material that is brought in these days to work on is much better and that means that my students and their trees are evolving and that is a good thing to see and makes me proud and happy!
Hans van Meer.
I just finished reading a great article on the BONSAI TONIGHT FORUM by Jonas Dupuich about “DECANDLING BLACK PINE BONSAI” and it is so well written, easy to understand and all you need to know that I would like to share it with you all! HERE is the link and thanks to Jonas Dupuich for writing this very helpful article!!!
Hans van Meer.
this is the story about the repotting of one Yamadori Sabina that will end up with two?! I bought this nice mid-sized Yamadori a year ago and let it untouched all this time to make sure that it was enough settled and strong enough to repot safely. I acquired it because of its stunning movement with a lot of deadwood and because there was (maybe) the possibility to separate it into two beautiful small trees! Buth early this year I started to see a decline in this little tree health and I decided that I would take it out of its plastic container because I wanted to see what caused this?! And now looking back, I am glad that I did because it was planted after collecting in some sort of very compact sticky muddy soil with not much-draining capability?! So with a lot of frightened anticipation, I took it out of its container to find what I was afraid of…poor soil! So even though it was not in a good condition I had to act before the tree would suffer even more, so I decided to free it from all this bad soil and plant it in a proper Bonsai soil mixture in which it could recuperate to become healthy and happy again!
Below: the two trunks Sabina Yamadori.
Below: close up of two separate trunks. One all twisted and turned with a long twisted Jin and the other one slanting more straight and gently twisting with a foliage crown at the end.
Below: viewed from another angle.
Below: released from its plastic container.
Below: Carefully and anxiously combing out the roots hoping for plenty healthy roots and for roots on both trunks so that they could be separated from each other without any danger or problems?!
Below: looks promising with plenty roots!
Below: look at all those roots on the left and the right trunk…but is it enough so that the two trunks can be separated?!
Below: red arrow points to roots growing from the curly trunk. Green arrow points at a thick root that grows to the right from the curly trunk. Blue arrow points to roots that grow from this thick root…so there are more than enough roots to keep the curly trunk alive and healthy when it could be separated from the second straight trunk! The white arrows point at the root mass that grows from that second straight trunk! The yellow line in the middle of the picture shows the spot where the two trunks could be separated from each other!
Below: seen from the other side. Red arrow point at the roots that grow from the end of that thick root that grows from the curly trunk. The yellow line shows the spot where the two trunks will be separated.
Below: the cut will be made from this side right across that yellow line.
Below: carefully cutting with the help of a power saw.
Below: mission accomplished! The two trunks are separated successfully! The straight trunk on the left has more than enough roots. And the right side curly trunks roots are spread out on the plastic green surface and look more than enough…so I am relieved and very happy! Now I have to keep the exposed roots moist of one of them while I plant the other into its new home away from his brother or sister?!
Below: this repotting and separation even reviled an more than welcome unexpected wide rootbase on the curly tree!!! Making it even better than it already was!!! And this provided a better anchor point to secure it to the pot with wires!
Below: with the help of a chopstick the soil mixture containing Akadama, Kiryu and Bims is pushed in between all the roots, making sure that now are pockets are left!
Below: then the tree is watered thoroughly until the water that runs out of the pot is clear of any dust!
Below: next the straight trunk is prepared to go in its new home. Here a long thick death root is cut off so that it will fit easier in its pot.
Below: the tree placed on the bottom layer of large particles soil for extra drainage. Just look at all those roots that fill almost the whole pot!
Below: two wooden blocks are placed under the right side to support the tree into its new desired position and then it is firmly anchored to the pot with thick wires.
Below: carefully bringing in the soil.
Below: then watering it like before. In the next couple of weeks, the trees will be kept in a warm spot with filtered sunlight and their foliage will be misted a couple of times a day to help them safely through this period
Below: separated but still together they stand here at their start as two future Bonsai.
I hope you enjoyed this little story of one Sabina Yamadori that became two pre-Bonsai with hopefully a bright future ahead of them?!
Hans van Meer.
as promised here are the sightseeing pictures that I made last weekend when I visited beautiful Slovenia for my workshop at Tomaz Kovsca International Bonsai School “TORA”. All pictures are made with a 20 years old low pixel camera so they are not up to the level of my usual foto’s…but I still hope you enjoy the images of the sometimes breathtaking nature and old villages?! That I had brought along this old one with me turned out to be a good idea, because I fell down twice on the very steep mountainside where I shot the first pictures that I am about to show you! 🙂
These first pictures are made in the very old village Škofja loka, that was first mentioned in 973 A.D.
Below: views from the bridge over which you enter the ancient village.
Below: very old preserved wall painting everywhere and a beautiful old tree. And on the right bottom: a not so old Tomaz! 🙂
Below: our first mountain stop and a beautiful scenery just before it started to rain.
Below: A stunning example of a real size Literati sylvestris!
Below: And a real-life example of how we should shape our branches on a Literati Bonsai!
Below: Trough the branches of this ancient Linden tree you can just make out that at the end of this winding path on the top of this hill lies a church! It is named Sv. Primož in Felicijan at Jamnik (Saints Primus and Felician) it dates from 1501. Tomaz told me that in the olden day’s people (even Christians) worshipped Linden trees…that makes this a very old tree! It was very spiritual to walk up this path in the footsteps of so many that went before me!
Below: it must have taken many centuries for these two branches in love to reach each other, but now they are looked into their kiss forever!
Below: only a good friend could capture a moment like this in this way!
Below: views from that top.
Below: one of the many emerald greens river that we came across during our trip!
Below: The beautiful Lake Bohinj is unlike the more famous Lake Bled unspoiled by hotels, bars and mass tourism! It was breathtakingly beautiful and it charged us for the upcoming workshop that afternoon!
I hope you all enjoyed this little impression of just a few hours of driving through this beautiful country?! I can’t wait to revisit it next May to see more amazing places and to spend more time with some of the friendliest folks I have ever meet!
Hans van Meer.