With bonsai trees of any age one can only ever be the guardian of that tree for some years and try to care for it, refine and improve it whilst it is your privelidge to do so.
Sadly one of our members at Taunton and Somerset Bonsai Club passed away recently and his wife Pat asked that the last of his trees be auctioned with the proceeds being split between the Club and a charity of her choice.
I first saw one of Jack’s trees, an aged oak, at a Club show when I first joined a few years ago and he had captured the natural character of a larger oak so well it was the tree that made the most impression on me. Now as John Trott our Club President, profesional bonsai grower and winner of nearly one hundred RHS Gold Medals together with Howard our Chairman set about selling Jacks remaining collection I saw another tree that caught my fancy, a Beech of quite decent maturity.
Beech bonsai are most often group or forest plantings as it take many years to to get a single trunk specimen with good ramification so this was a good opportunity to acquire quite a mature tree for my collection.
Jack had been unable I believe to give his trees the care he may have wanted during his ill health so it is now my task to restore it with some TLC to the standard that he would have liked it to be.
The one slightly awkward and unsightly bit of the tree was the nebari.
Perhaps at some time or other it had been trained over a rock as one great sturdy root crossed over a large gap and on the other side it was sort of undershot below a swelling of root. Jack had wedged a couple of sharp edged small rocks into some of the space but they looked quite out if place.
For the moment I have filled that empty space with some local stone, Blue Lias a Jurasic rock, from our garden which is full of it, and also used other pieces to surround and hold back the substrate backing it upto the roots in a more natural way which will look even better if some moss gets established as well.
Now I have until the spring to ponder on this problem and then look forward to using the Welsh bonsai wizard Chris Thomas pinching out regime to try and get two complete growths of foliage next year. Since his talk to our Club I used his method with my little Beech last spring and got a good second growth.It will be a different task on a tree of this size covered in buds, might ask Adrian round for a day to give me some support, check out the Juniper project and pop round to the Ashcott Inn for a quick bite.
The pot by the way is a 15″ pot from Erin Pottery, the father and son team of Glyn and Vic Harris.