As I mentioned at the club meeting on Monday I will doing bonsai case studies on members trees showing the rise from humble material to where they are today. Here is our first tree in this series the Blackthorn belonging to Les.
Peter Warren had originally purchased this blackthorn from Dave Sampson back in 2007
It had some initial branch selection and deadwood carving done before I purchased it in 2009 after much pestering and pleading with my good friend Peter Warren and despite his best efforts to keep this gem for his own collection. Eventually he was persuaded to sell it to me and now he has the best of both worlds as he has helped me to develop the tree over the years from this original condition to what it has become today and gets regular “visiting rights”.
Since then it has been potted into a bespoke pot, by Japanese award winning potter Andy Pearson from Stone Monkey Ceramics, which reflects the roughness of the trunk and the natural beauty of the tree in the red and black unglazed oval pot.
The tree is always displayed on a bespoke table made by the renowned table making wizard that is Doug Mudd, one of my best friends, and whom I met when I was a member of the infamous Wirral Bonsai Society. Now I spend my time as a southern softy at Maidstone Society and also with my renegade mates in Shiten Bonsai Society.
Back to the tree. It is at its best when in flower but also has great charm when in winter image when the rustic branch structure is clearly visible and it is quite respectable in full leaf.
In April 2011 my prized tree took a road trip from Ashford to the Birmingham Botanical Gardens where it was exhibited in prime flowering condition at the Best of British Bonsai Exhibition. It gained the nomenclature of “Ice Tree” because it had spent the previous three weeks before the show in a fridge in my garage trying to stem the flowering process so that the tree was in its best condition.
The journey to the show was spent in a dark cardboard box with the pot covered in frozen ice packs. “Was it worth the effort”? The answer is clearly yes as can be seen from the photos published in Bonsai Review 49.
In 2013 it was repotted and the planting angle changed to its current position which gives more movement to the trunk and allows the lowest branch to be brought more into the overall structure ( I can’t believe that a well known artist from the continent suggested at Best of British that this branch should be removed. What nonsense, that would have resulted in half a tree which looked like any other “s” shaped tree you see in any garden centre. What’s is the point of that!)
The tree does not have the tight rigidity you see in many coniferous trees but has a wonderful wildness, femininity and freedom of movement which I find delightful
Remember if you have a story and pictures on the development of one of your beloved trees please sent the text and pictures along to Andy at his email address.