Hawthorn Progression Series

By Martin Treasure

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 Hawthorn Bonsai Progression Martin Treasure



Picture 3; Summer Year 4

I removed the remaining tap root and selected the required branches, wiring them in the Summer. It was beginning to look like this tree was at last showing some potential. When the wire was removed only a matter of weeks later, the young branches stayed in position.




By now I had found the perfect pot, one that had been hand-made in Japan. It complemented both the colour and texture of the trunk, but I would only use it if the roots were in good shape because being smaller, the pot necessitated much root pruning. I was delighted to find the tree completely pot-bound that Spring, with an abundance of healthy, fibrous roots. The new, much smaller pot gave emphasis to the strong trunk line and good surface roots. It also made the tree appear much larger and I was happy with the overall presentation. The branches were heavily wired and positioned and now just needed extra thickness to balance the weight of the trunk. The hawthorn was definitely healthy and the autumn colour was most rewarding, but would it ever flower?

 Hawthorn Bonsai Progression Martin Treasure



Picture 4; Spring Year 6

The carving was improved and treated with lime sulphur, to bleach and preserve the dead wood. I toned down the bright white colour with a strong solution of coffee. Now transferred to a shallower pot, the overall appearance was more convincing and it was hard to remember that this tree had two trunks!






The following spring the hawthorn was exhibited for the first time at a national exhibition. I decided not to repot, hoping to encourage flowers by keeping the tree pot-bound. Bone meal was also applied in the Autumn and high-potash fertilisers in the spring, but the only buds that appeared were leaf buds. The foliage masses were thinned out so that the balance with the hollowed trunk was maintained.

In the spring two years later I decided that, although there had been no sign of flowers, the hawthorn needed to be repotted since it was obviously very pot-bound. By now I had given up on the idea of flowers. Maybe it was simply not going to happen -and then it did! Just one flower appeared, but the next year there were many more.

 Hawthorn Bonsai Progression Martin Treasure




Picture 5; Late Spring Year 13

Style; Hollow Trunk

Height; 46cm (18in)


The branches are kept fairly short and the foliage is regularly thinned, since the bonsai portrays an old damaged and weathered tree which would be unlikely to support strong, lush growth.

Despite this image, the Hawthorn looks very delicate in the Spring when the flowers arrive.




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