European Bonsai Tour #6 Hunting the spruce with Nik Rozman at 5888 feet

Yesterday I had the time of my life hunting for Spruce with Nik and Peter Rozman, we ascended a very high mountain after a four hour drive

The weather was so bright and sunny that Sunglasses had to be worn at all times! The climb to the top took a few hours, even if we had not collected any trees it was worth it for the view alone.

We did collect one tree… MINE! A wonderful small fat spruce that came out of the ground so easy, it had NO tap root and the fine roots did not sink into the ground very far. These trees have been styled/eaten by wildlife so the foliage was very compact.

The wild Hellebore were shades of pink and white and there were all over the top of the mountain.

Yamadori hunting on the tree line high in the mountains

Matija was kind enough to take me to one of his happy yamadori hunting grounds. Fortunately we could drive a long way high into the mountains.

We still had to walk/climb for two hours but it sure was worth it! Larch, Spruce and Pine yamadori in abundance. Also the wild flowers at this time of year are spectacular.

We collected a couple of truly beautiful mugo pines with great movement and shari. Then it was on to simply one of the most impressive ‘Sumo’ Larch I have ever seen… and YES! Matija offered it to me… to collect NEXT YEAR! As it was a wee bit late in the season to collect.

So a European tour is in the planning for next year so that I can collect this rather handsome tree.

How I collect Yamadori Hawthorns

Here is a gallery of images from the last collecting trip to collect hawthorns. They are situated on a hillside surrounded by scrub and large trees. Finding them is not easy as they are the same colour as the rocks. One of the best aspects of this site is that most trees have one large tap root but many fine roots in the layer of soil above the rough stone. You can see the difference in the colour of the soil where the fine roots are. This creates a great nebari and once the tap root is cut off the tree can be place in a shallow container.

Recreating ‘natural’ branch structures in Hawthorn Bonsai

When recreating the ‘natural’ look in the branch of Hawthorn Bonsai it is important to consider the growth habit of the tree in nature. When we create a bonsai we control the growth and ‘force’ the tree to grow as we wish. Hawthorn in the wild grow in a random fashion (unless they are windswept and the growth is usually in one direction!)

If we were to let our hawthorn bonsai grow in a random fashion then they would look like a shrub with no ‘real’ style or design. So the answer is the create a branch structure that is both controlled yet has a ‘wild’ appearance. Look closely at the branch below and you will notice that the ‘main’ branch is formed in such a way as to support the randomness of the smaller branches however the silhouette remains visually pleasing.