I love this time of year when the May flowers, I have had these three hawthorns many years, the Tall guy flowers without fail, The fat Guy flowered with a single cluster last year for the first time, and this year (after 26 years) The raft flowered.
So why has it taken so long for the raft to flower? There is a lot of old wives tales on getting Hawthorns to flower; these include having the tree pot bound or feeding with High Nitrogen. I have tried these and they did not work, the only change I have made in the last 18 months is using Tibolar, so is it that? The only conclusion I can make is that it is indeed the Tibolar soil conditioner/feed I started using the 4-6-2 early last year and changed to the 13-6-2 around June and the result was as you can see in the photos.
I am still making various quality tests with my new studio set up, here is my Hawthorn Raft today just coming into leaf, I am really excited too because for the first time in 26 years there are flower buds on the tree. So expect a flowering raft in the next few weeks! Select the photo to see full size!
When you are developing a deciduous tree you want maximum growth and choice of branches as you progress towards the design you are hoping to achieve. Once you have arrived at the point ongoing maintenance is critical to keep the tree in scale and shape is a year round task.
When I am preparing this tree for exhibition I start 24 months in advance so that it can be presented in prime condition. This week I thinned out the small branches and removed crowded internodes. If this work is not done annually the canopy of the tree becomes a tight knot of thorns and twisted branches. I will wire with aluminium the odd branch to fill in where I have made a hole by removing the ‘star’ clump of small branches.
I work my Hawthorns as closely as they would grow in nature and not force them into a style not representative of the wild trees where I live.
The work appears very subtle and the difference in the two photos almost imperceptible.
Its no secret that I love Hawthorns as a species for Bonsai. They truly are a four season tree, great in Winter and the image the display with all the fine branches, in Spring the fresh bright green serrated tiny leaves, as The flowers come in early Summer and then the Berries and finally a riot of colour in the Autumn…and if you are lucky (as seen here) the berries remain.