23 April 2015

Story of my bonsai: Carpinus betulus No.2 - Forest

Let me tell you short story of this composition of bonsai trees. Group of trees are Hornbeam (Carpinus betulus) collected from the wild forest during the spring 2009. It was collected and brought home as one piece of material as was growing on edge of stone quarry. Few more initial pictures you can find in my early post from 2009 here. Those kind of groups of trees are not so common and easy to find. Therefore its of special value to me also.
As you can see from early pictures, tree was potted into large ugly wooden box, quickly crafted on day tree came to my home. Even without this box group was very heavy. Potted in the box, I had no chance to move it around on my own. This is the reason for such lousy pictures, without proper background and so on. 
Another truth is, there is not so much to see on such material for long time after collection. You start to build ramification from sprouted shoots, and obviously it takes time. Tree keep looking lousy in winter silhouette and does not have good shape in summer, yet. But year after year, season after season it start to emerge. More and more branches, finer ramification and smaller foliage.
Than in 2011 my good friend Vinco Vadovsky made nice concrete temporary pot for the stuff. Trees were repotted into it in April and it helped a lot. I can move the group on my own since then. Still heavy like hell, but one-man mobile version. Growth after repotting was OK. Even, I have to admit, this particular hornbeam is one of the slowest growers in my collection. It never made those buds all over the trunks, or long shoots from everywhere. Maybe bit better growth could have be seen since maybe 2013-2014 season. Which is also quite normal, I think. Trees do not like to be be repotted, and one has to do that only when necessary. According to my experience it take 2-3 years for the tree to reestablish its normal growth regime after repotting, being it collection from wild or any other normal repotting afterwards.
For the future I would like to use custom made concrete plate for it. Of course it will be much more shallow and will suit it better. But I think it is still time for this step until trees will be mature and ramified. 
As all of my trees, it is potted into mixture of zeolite and Teramol with approximately 15-20% of rough peat added. It has some remnants of the original soil very close to the trunks. It will be removed during next repottings.

Trees were wired completely for the first time during winter 2011 as you can find in post here. Since than no major styling was done. Just cut here and there during the seasons. And this spring was again the time to make some decent changes. I planned to do it earlier during the winter, but I was busy with many other trees. As I wrote earlier, I can move that group of trees now but cannot move it into house. So I waited until we have reasonable weather to work on it outside. So during last week I made what was on plan and finished it during the weekend. You can see results on few pictures. I m happy with the result so far. Obviously tree need another 10 years to look really good without the foliage but we are slowly getting there. I'm curious if you like it also.

Result of editing and wiring during last few days 

Group as brought from quarry and potted into ugly wooden box. March 2009

In April 2009 with leaves emerging.

May 2010, after one season in box. Growth is modest, but important is it has survived its first winter in box.

October 2010. In autumn colors. 

April 2011 after repotting into Vicent Vadovsky concrete pot. 

March 2012 after removing from winter storage. Just after first wiring during winter. 

October 2012. With remnants of moss. I love to have moss on my trees. But black birds are of the different opinion. Therefore you can see my hopeless attempt to protect moss with mesh. Did not helped. 

April 2013 

April 2014

During early October 2014, mix of yellow and green leaves. Love it. 

April 2015 just before last styling session.


Few details of the nebari and lower parts of the trunks. 






And side picture after wiring in April 2015

And side picture after wiring in April 2015

Back side of the group, or forest if you like.