A well-traveled Yamaaki pot

Ryan Bell found this pot on a Japanese auction for my hawthorn.  It is a first generation Yamaaki, Katoaka Akitsugu (1928-1966) with a rare chop, and a unique finish that appears to be sprayed over the clay, and glazed with a thin clear coat.  The effect is of a very worn cream color.


I bought it and and showed my hawthorn in it at the USNBE in Rochester, NY 2014:


The next year, I traded it to Matt Ouwinga in Maryland for the Suishoen on the left:


And he let it fly at auction from the US…the listing cracks me up


Then, 2 years later in 2017, Ryan sent this message from the U.K., where he was speaking at a Bonsai convention.  He found this pot again, sitting under a Larch in England:


3 continents.  Pretty cool, huh?

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Fall repotting of a Chojubai Quince

If you haven’t seen a chojubai Quince in person, their tiny scale may come as a surprise.  Leaves are the size of Chinese elm, even Seiju elm.  They grow strongly in the summer, and always seem to have a few flowers opening.  In the fall, the flower production really picks up and adds some nice color to the bench:


This summer, I noticed this one was becoming a bit anemic, with pale foliage and weak growth.  They always seem to slow down vegetative growth in mid summer, but this one started to concern me:


As I thought back, I couldn’t remember repotting it since at least 2014.  Michael Hagedorn recommends fall repotting for Chojubai, and while I do not like fall repotting, he really knows his stuff, so I thought I’d give it a try.  In late September, I combed out the soil, pruned the roots back by a third and replaced the soil, using akadama, lava, and pumice in equal proportions.

Before repotting:


After:


And less than a month later, the color and vigor is already noticeably improved:


Pot quiz:  who made it?
Answer: Bigei.  Did you get it right?  His rich, chocolate, burnished clays are unmistakable.

Ilex Serrata

I bought 3 ilex serrata (Japanese Winterberry, or deciduous holly) from Brent back around 2009-2010 in 2 3/4″ pots.  They were the size of matchsticks if I recall.  They went in the ground, and over time I lost a couple, but managed to keep one going.  The earliest photo I could find was this one from 2013.


When we moved in 2015, I dug up everything in that bed, and this ilex went into a 16″ Anderson flat with minimal root work, to keep it growing strong:




2 growing seasons later, in summer 2017, here is how it looked:


I had a very specific vision for this tree, a fat little multi-trunked tree; somewhere around 18″ tall and 20″ wide; like these examples:


Lately, I have been dabbling into shohin-sized trees; 8″.  I want to keep both options open.  And since this variety is rare, I decided to layer the top as well.  In May, it appeared the layer was going to fail, but I left it in place.  In mid-June I moved the tree up to get a closer look and it seemed to be making some progress:


I scraped the white tissue back off the girdle to prevent bridging, and wrapped it back up.  Maybe it will work after all…



So instead of giving up and chopping, I did a little light pruning down low, and returned this one back to its growing site.  If I go the shohin route, the trunk definitely needs more taper than this currently has:


A few weeks after recutting the callus, the entire top died back, so the next step was defined.  In the spring, I’ll repot it and change the planting angle a little in hopes of creating a little movement.  Until next spring…