How to secure a Tall literati tree in a shallow pot.

This is an article I first posted on IBC in 2010, worth a look. The tree is no longer in my personal collection.

This is a Prunus Spinosa that I collected on my 50th Birthday… it’s called ‘Fifty’ and it has been in this pot for 2 years. This Beautiful Duffett pot was fine to ‘bring on’ the tree but not a good choice as it is way to ‘chunky’.

How the tree looks today

Hosta la vista Baby

The dwarf Hosta’s are showing well right now in my garden. I have over 25 different varieties all in pots by Dan Barton, Gordon Duffett, Bryan Albright the best Potters in the UK bar none.

Stainless steel rods secure large Scots pine in the Duffett Pot

David Barlows Pine

After 10 years of establishing from the wild and two stylings David’s Scots Pine is now ready for a final potting. I found a beautiful ‘vintage’ deep red unglazed Gordon Duffett pot perfect for the tree.

Terry Foster did both stylings for the tree, the first to position the key branches, and six years later at the Burrs event in November 2012 for the second to refine.

When the tree was collected it had NO large roots. Only a few fine feeder roots, David masterfully established the tree in a very open mixture of Acadama, Alpine grit and Perlite. The tree was secured to the box with guy wires to ensure that it would not ‘rock’ and remain firm, any movement inhibit the root growth. The problem with having no LARGE roots meant that the tree could not be tied into the pot, having guy wires was out of the question so a solution was needed.

05 Stainless steel rods and PotDavid is a precision engineer with his own extensive workshop so when I requested two stainless steel rods cut to length and the ends tapered, he delivered these in less than 10 minutes. Two holes were drilled into the base of the tree under the new roots that had grown; the rods were inserted tightly into the holes in the form a ‘cross’. They were then stabilised with hardwood blocks and a layer of soil mix was added, the tree wired down onto the blocks and the whole process ensured that the tree was solid in the pot. The reason for using the wooden block was so that we could angle the position the tree exactly, each block was cut to size. More soil was added and worked into all the cavities with a chop stick.

These stainless steel rods will stay in the tree forever and become part of the root mass, they will never rust or snap. The heavy wire used to secure the tree was necessary for this final potting. After a few years when the root mass has started to solidify and the tree exhibited these wire can be cut and removed.

Changing the Position of a Hawthorn Bonsai when re-potting

I was never happy with the viewing position of the tree in the pot, I commissioned Gordon Duffett to create a new pot that would enable me to rotate the tree and make the image more dynamic. Take time to watch the movie of the re-potting, there are a few surprises!

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I have had this tree for over 15 years, its know as ‘The Fat Guy’ (because I have a hawthorn called ‘The Tall Guy”)