Collected Hawthorn History

Brian Van Fleet

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Since you asked...and since I keep decent records...
Littlehip Hawthorn, Crataegus spathulata

1999, winter, a few months after moving to Birmingham, I went into a nearby woods to scout some collecting sites. I found this hawthorn growing in an area that appeared to be a seldom-used dirt path access way for overhead utility lines. It was about 15’ tall and growing in a wooded row near the dirt path. The bark was excellent, and the base had a great spread. I marked the location, and sawed the tree down to a 12” tall trunk. In the spring, I returned and trenched around the trunk to prepare it for lifting later.

2000, March, I returned and dug the tree; it had issued quite a few shoots over the year. I took it home, washed the roots, pruned them back pretty hard, and planted it into some amended soil in the yard to grow for a couple years.

This is how it looked at the end of 2000; the eventual front is facing the lower-right corner in this photo.
 

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Brian Van Fleet

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'01-'02

2001, allowed to grow.

2002, some light selection-pruning was completed and the remaining branches were spread out a little with wire.

Here is how it looked after pruning/wiring in February '02
 

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Brian Van Fleet

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2003

2003, the initial cut was carved back a little, and the tree was potted into a shallow nursery flat, 21”x16”x4”. The primary branches were spread out a little further with guy-wires, and the tree was allowed to grow freely. The roots quickly filled the pot, and it was necessary to repot again in 2004.

Here are a couple from Sep/Oct '03...rough quality, but the idea is there...
 

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Brian Van Fleet

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2004-2005

2004, the hawthorn was root-pruned and moved to a shallow bonsai container.

2005, the initial cut was carved back further, to the point where it remains presently. This created a better line and told a more natural story about whatever “traumatic event” that resulted in the present appearance of the tree. The tree was also wired at that time.
 

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Brian Van Fleet

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2006-2007

2006, repotted into the too-large blue container; 20”x17”x4.5”. Photo from June '06.

2007, more fine wiring. Photos from July and December '07.
 

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Brian Van Fleet

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2008

2008, repotted into an 18.25” wide cream-glazed Tokoname pot by Yamafusa, and wired. The tree shed nearly all of it’s bark this year, revealing a very interesting orange trunk.

Photos from March, June, and July.
 

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Brian Van Fleet

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2009

2009, pruned to tighten the branch structure, and wired again. It was shown for the first time at the Alabama Bonsai Society’s annual show.

Photos from April, May, and December.
 

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Brian Van Fleet

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2010

2010, repotted and pruned. Several branches were wired to create some visual space.

Photos from April and May. Note the "new" collected hawthorn making the scene in May's photo...
 

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Brian Van Fleet

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2011

2011, pinched constantly! Presently it is 25” tall, 20” wide, with a 7.5” nebari at the soil level, and the trunk measures 3.5” at 2” high. It was in bloom when I cut it down back in the woods, and hasn't bloomed since.

These photos are from April, May, it's first newspaper appearance in May, 2nd bonsai show, and June.

Enjoy!
 

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mcpesq817

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Hi Brian, thanks so much for posting your hawthorn's development. Great step by step timeline on developing deciduous trees, and an absolutely fantastic result in the end. :D
 

PaulH

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Beautiful! Great job.
Any flowers or fruit yet?

Paul
 

DaveV

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Looks like a great bonsai Brian! Thanks for posting the pictures.

DaveV
 

HotAction

Chumono
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Great work. Nice job with the detailed history.

Dave
 

Brian Van Fleet

Pretty Fly for a Bonsai Guy
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Thanks all.

Paul, no flowers or fruit since I collected it, but it was in bloom when I cut it down, so it has the capacity...
 

mholt

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Once again, great tree, Brian. Thanks for posting the progression.
 

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