Having seen me working on one of my trees one day when I was on duty at the gallery on the Somerset Levels where I exhibit some of my paintings, one of the visitors told me that he had some trees collected from the wild ( Yamadori ) and would I like some.
Well obviously I leapt at his kind offer, at my age as much as I would like to my rheumatic knees and dodgy ankle ache at just the very thought of traipsing through the nearby woods and marshes.
I then waited for his phone call to say that he would bring the first couple in for me to pick up, which he did within a few days only to find one was so large that I did indeed have difficultly in picking it up.
The larger tree was a Scots Pine over five foot high with flourishing healthy growth at the top and which should prove to be an interesting project for the next few years. My dear Sue wanted to keep it as a container tree but I could see that it would just go up and up and was not really suited to the confines of our small garden.
I am toying now with various plans, one of which I played with on my lap top with the aid of a photo package (paint net), It would involve reducing the height to just above the second set of branches
and breaking it with a Jin (a bare stripped part of branch or trunk) giving the appearance of a tree broken by the elements, tilting it to one side and encouraging the growth perhaps to one side to give a wind battered image.
My second thought was to ‘phone a friend’ and consult someone with a far wiser bonsai head than mine, so as he is coming round later in the spring to help watch this blog to see what happens.
The second tree was obviously an Oak but what sort of oak? It is about four foot high and has retained leaves with deeply cut lobes. Thinking it might be one of two possibles I put it on the British Bonsai Club Facebook Page and was rapidly informed that my initial thought of Hungarian Oak was wrong and that in fact it was a Turkey Oak. The first one of which was introduced this country in 1664 at Upnor Castle in Kent and is definitely identifiable by the curious hairy terminal buds.
I felt that I could start on this tree without waiting for an expert to hold my hand so I cut it off just above the first few branches,wired one of them up as a new leader and repotted it in a good sized training pot with a good draining mixture. I used this opportunity to spread the roots out evenly from the trunk, not a hard task they were already well placed and should form a good Nebari ( the Root Flare around a tree) in time.
Oaks I am told can sometimes be awkward as bonsais so I am looking forward to seeing how it progresses with fingers crossed and to a challenging project with the pine, My thanks to Simon for the trees and members of British Bonsai Club Facebook page for putting me right regarding the oak. I just wonder what else might be turning up- watch this space.