Friday, 18 November 2016

The Bonsai hunter.....

God I'm excited. Summer has come to a close and asides from the usual wire removal and bud work on a few of my trees, I there's not a lot let for me to do this year. The Junipers were repotted earlier in the year so won't be worked too hard. The big white pine was fully wired and will need wire removing in certain places, and bud selection.

However, bollocks to all that, this is the super-fun bit; I'm off to collect hawthorn material!
Following on from my last post, it seems widely accepted that Hawthorn are more successful collected in the Winter.

I've been hunting around the county over the past few months, going on long walks and speaking to landowners - and I've unearthed a few cracking sites. As a rule, hawthorn are fairly easy to find, but they are largely uninteresting; straight trunked with little or no taper and long uninterrupted sections. However, if you look in more challenging/inaccessible places, you can discover more interesting stuff...with rotting trunks, better basal flare, old cracked bark and if you are lucky, compacted growth from animal grazing/regular pruning

The first site is within a fairly commutable distance and has some basic Hawthorn material which I can start on... the kind of stuff you'd probably pay around £150-£250 on Kaizen...there's plenty of those.

Not a million miles from there is a thickly planted copse,  with a dedicated hawthorn planting dating back around 40 years or so...and there are some far more interesting specimens there. From these I hope to grab a couple of interesting pieces, some with loads of natural deadwood and interesting bases.

But the site I'm most excited about is in a super chalky area and the material in question is evidently well over 100 years old, yet no higher than waist height. Nearly every Hawthorn on this wide open field has incredible nebari/trunk characteristics, compact twiggy growth and stunning, deep craggy bark. Not only this, it's pretty much the only example I've seen with such light coloured bark for this age... which I can only attribute to being in chalky soil for so long. You don't find stuff like this very often and it's taken me months of searching to find this!

I've identified one target tree to grab first which shouldn't present too much of a challenge - it's perfect for a literati style as it's trunk(quite unusually) corksrews and twists up, and the bark is wonderful.

I'm going armed with a basic set of tools:

Solid Steel Spade (half the work of a standard spade, although the trade-off is it's heavier to carry)


Cordless Reciprocating saw (got this compact version which is perfect for tackling tough roots with the least effort)

Hand reciprocating saw (for when the battery does on the cordless!)

Loppers for quick removal of larger branches Secateurs, Gaffer tape, Tarp material for wrapping the rootball, 3 tarp trugs, Strong gloves, Big Rucksack, string.....

I've also prepared for potting up at the other end...... I have 4.5l of sphagnum moss, pond baskets, bread baskets and enough materials to make bigger boxes if required. Also loads of Kyodama...Just a few litres of low-dust cat litter to go and I'm all set!

Bring it on!!!!!

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