Well if the weather men are to be believed, July is set to be a scorcher in the UK. I have to admit, at the moment it is pretty good here where I live with temperatures this morning at 29C and I have even had my breakfast outside the last few days, and the temperature is still climbing as I type this.
Great! most people are thinking, but not if you are a Hay Fever sufferer like myself. It can be difficult typing with your nose dripping on the keyboard.
Despite the heat and runny nose I managed to work on some trees this week. Here just putting the finishing touches on the foliage of this Itoigawa Juniper.
But Hay Fever apart I always look forward to July because it is at this time you can clearly see which yamadori are going to survive after collection/purchase last Autumn or this Spring. Because by now the summer days which translate as long photo period plus the associated warmth means that trees are having to perform i.e.grow. And so if they are not up to it, it is at this time that they start to struggle. It usually starts in June here or the end of May if we have had a warm early spring, but it is always evident by July. So trees collected last Autumn or this Spring which looked fabulous in April and which you thought were in the bag are now collapsing in front of you. It is one of the reasons why I will not buy trees that have not had at least one full growing season; although I have been shafted by people I thought were either friends or who I thought had good business ethics selling me trees after having told me the trees had been collected years as you may have read in a previous blog.
Also July means that conifers imported into the UK from Japan or Korea have just finished their quarantine period (end of June) and are now available to be collected which is always exciting.
Updates on my reserved yamadori material are good, with only a few Scots Pines and one or two Portuguese Oaks Quercus faginea, not pulling through after collection. All the Sabina Junipers are growing well and I am looking forward to receiving them in a few weeks.
Here is a taste of what's coming.
This is a kifu sized Sabina.
A nice chuhin size Sabina on it's way here soon!
As well as this batch of smaller Sabina's which range from shohin to just over chuhin size, I have been offered some larger well established junipers which are top quality and ready to style now.
Just look at these below.
With my friend stood in the back ground, you can get some idea of the size and scale of these junipers. Again they are fabulous quality, having great movement, natural deadwood, nice healthy foliage with great potential for creating superb bonsai. These will certainly make great bonsai for the future.
And from a different angle. You can see they are all very different from each other, which is something I aspire to when selecting material for styling. I like to have a variety in the forms of the trees so that things are not all the same, which is something I dislike about the mass produced Asian trees. However in their defence, they are being grown to satisfy a certain niche in the hobby. Where as I am looking for trees with individuality!
Here's a close up of one of the group. As you can see this juniper has individuality and in the right hands will make a superb bonsai in the future.
I am really looking forward to receiving these bigger junipers later in the year and I will keep you posted on their arrival here through my blog.
And one more just to wet your appetite!
Again this one is completely different to the one above, again a tree with individuality!
I think I am going to be very busy this autumn styling some of these for myself, but don't panic guys, I can't keep them all, can I ?
Today has been a great day, and I am not refering to Andy Murray winning the Mens Singles at Wimbledon. I have become the custodian of a new tree 'Medusa', a very special Hawthorn Crataegus monogyna.
I think this tree has the potential to be a very significant bonsai for the UK in the future and I feel very privileged to own her.
It is possibly the best Hawthorn I have ever seen collected and I feel a real responsibility to ensure she reaches her full potential.
The circumstances under which I have been able to obtain 'Medusa' are sad, however I would like to thank Warren and Simon for giving me the chance to own her and for having the faith that I will bring out the best in her.
I can't thank you guys enough and I won't let you down. Thanks again!
Oh and well done Andy Murray!