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Luka sent me a series of images of the Hornbeam in early 2013, while the tree was out of leaf during the following Winter, with a plan for me to come to his garden and style it during the Summer.
I drew a virtual design for the Hornbeam. One of the biggest challenges with turning the tree into a bonsai would be 'hiding' the unsightly trunk-chops that were left on top of each of the stumps. With a number of the trunks being over 6"/15cm in diameter, growing out new leaders to create taper was not an option. A large amount of carving and hollowing-out therefore would be required.
During the Summer of 2013, I visited Luka in his garden in Zagreb, Croatia, with the intention of carving and styling the Hornbeam. However, as fate would have it, a fierce storm blew up through Zagreb that day and we spent much of our available time trying to avoid heavy rain, gale-force winds and falling trees!
By the time the storm has blown over, it was late in the evening and dark and so I had to be content with just pruning the branches in preparation for a return visit!
The owner of tree, Luka, and his son, during March 2014 as the Hornbeam was budding out for Spring.
By the time I arrived back in Croatia in late April 2014, ready to style the Hornbeam, it was fully in leaf.
As seems typical when it comes to work on this tree, on the day I was due to start work.......it started to rain. But on this occasion we were prepared for all weathers!
The journey of the massive Hornbeam to somewhere dry and out of the rain!