Creating good bonsai is not an easy task, doing it properly building ramification, branch structure and foliage mass all takes time. I love using native British trees because they thrive in my location, I am after all British and living in the cold wet North of the UK.
I have worked other species from the Mediterranean, trees from as far south as Sicily, Olives from Spain and Pistachio from Croatia. I have a heated glass house that over winters these trees and I have had moderate success. NOTHING like the locals where these trees originate because I do not have the all year round heat or UV levels. In January this year I saw that a Myrtle was look looking well, lots of random branches were dying, some areas stayed green. After posting photos on Facebook Warren Radford my buddy from the South of England (he has a rather special Myrtle) told me to cut the tree hard back and it would recover… So I cut back hard, removing all the branches that were clearly dead… and today you can see the tree has indeed recovered. Apparently the problem was lack of water, I really don’t water my trees much in winter (it rains rather a lot where I live) but in the glass house I should consider watering a bit more…Thanks Warren!
Here are three trees from my garden, the Blackthorn in full bloom with over 1000 individual flowers (no I have not counted them) The Fat Guy hawthorn just about to burst and the Twin Trunk Myrtle filling out well.
This weekend is the first major show of the year in the UK, The Swindon winter Image show has become a firm fixture on the Bonsai Calendar for many of UK’s Bonsai artists. This is my third year of showing trees and (as you would expect) the quality continues to improve. It’s a great meeting place for folk to catch up on gossip (as if) plan their year, buy sundries and trees and generally talk bonsai!
I love shows at this time of year because for lovers of deciduous trees they can enjoy the structure and work that artists have put into their bonsai. GREAT deciduous bonsai take many years of painstaking work to achieve fine ramification and the members of Swindon bonsai club are amongst the best in the UK at creating wonderful delicate and beautifully presented Beech, Hawthorn, Maples and Oaks in their winter glory.
I will be showing my Myrtle for the first time ever. This tree has never been out of my garden, regular readers of this blog already know this tree from a previous post. I recently changed the angle and position of the tree in the pot after a survey from blog viewers as to whether I should change the pot. Myrtle is NOT native to the UK and preparing the tree for exhibition has been quite a challenge. The tree is in FULL LEAF and will probably be the only ‘greenery’ in the show apart from Pines and Junipers.
Having developed my twin trunked Myrtle over the last three years and being happy that a tree from the south of Italy could indeed thrive in my garden I decided to GO LARGE and take on a rather bigger Myrtle. This was originally owned by Andrea Meriggioli and was brought over from Italy by my good friend JP to the Burrs event earlier this month, the tree caused quite a stir when brought into the workshop by two of the younger participants.
The previous owner had worked the tree for a number of years, developing branches and cleaning the trunk line of stumps. It’s up to me to bring the tree to exhibition level by further developing the canopy, working on the dead areas, repotting and refining. The current soil may well be ideal for Northern Italy but it is far from suitable for the cold wet North of England, this will be address in the spring when the tree will be repotted.
Careful consideration as to the design of the tree will happen over the winter months, it is my opinion that there are two trees within the current incarnation; I may well split the tree in two at repotting… lets see when the tree is removed!
I will shorten the long branches to two leaves, this will help me decide what will happen next. Its going to be an interesting few years but the outcome will be worth it I am sure.