Punica granatum

Image credit: Dan Burn-Forti

One day I was eating a pomegranate when I had a sudden thought; could I grow one of these seeds. At Christmas I had been given a book on growing exotic fruit like oranges and lemons etc. In it they said to put the whole seed on a plate on the window sill and leave it until it started to go mouldy, then plant it in seed compost and place it in the airing cupboard, this was in 1991. Sure enough in no time several seedlings popped up, one of them I went on to develop into this tree.

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Acer Buergerianum


This Trident Maple started life as a cutting purchased in 1988 for 50 pence. It was planted in a length of drain pipe for two years to help develop long roots, during this time it was fed well. It was then taken out of the pipe, all the soil washed off, sat on this piece of stone and tied in place with Raffia. The roots were laid out and any surplus ones wound round or tied to others. It was then planted in my front garden, during this time the height of the tree was not reduced.

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Hoya Kerrii

This is unusual. Hoya Kerrii is classified somewhere between a succulent and a plant. From south-east Asia, they are used as houseplants for the rather obvious visual quality. They have water-holding leaves and a shallow root system. Interestingly if you purchase a single or double-leaf plant like mine you won’t be able to propagate or grow it on further. This is a cutting, and has no node. I thought I would have a go at creating a  bonsai style one for a bit of fun.

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Air layering a Ginseng Fig

Ginseng Fig bonsai

I had my eye on this little Ginseng Fig with a view of air layering the top bit. The long aerial roots are a hallmark of this plant, but I saw a small ‘sumo’ style configuration at the top of this tree which I wanted to create. So here we go.

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Windswept Ulmus pumila

The tree is 28cm x 31cm wide in a T. Adams pot

I like to style my trees to resemble those I have seen in the wild. While I was on holiday in Devon, I saw a row of old oak trees that had been gently shaped by the wind over many generations, this was the image I had in mind.

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Ulmus procera Part 3

I have often wondered if the trees pictured above could be arranged into a group. I decided to try them in a straight line as if they were the remnants of a very old hedge.

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Ulmus procera Part 2

I bought this tree at the Caple manor show about 10 years ago, it was in a flower pot. The two pieces shown in the pictures above were originally attached. I thought it had the making of a good raft style which I have always wanted. The two pictures above have been cropped to show the original soil line in the pot.

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Ulmus procera Part 1

English Elm

This English Elm has been sat in my garden for many years I can’t remember where it came from or when, all I can think is that it is one of the trees I have collected.

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Ulmus pumila

Siberian Elm

This tree was grown from a cutting I took in 2004. When it was large enough, it was planted in the ground and fed and watered well. It was pruned hard to encourage lots of side shoots to grow off the main trunk, to help it to thicken faster.

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Ulmus procera

This English Elm was collected from a local farm in 1994. It had only a few new shoots growing and all the branches on the top of the tree were dead. After it was dug up, I cut off every thing that was dead, all the old soil was washed off and it was potted up in Akadama. It is was a great opportunity to rescue an English Elm and create a bonsai using the collected material to preserve the genetics as well as give it a new life. It is a special tree given the plight of Elm trees in the UK and the effects of Dutch Elm disease on the trees and landscape following millions of Elms dying back in the 1970’s and being removed.

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