Sunday, 27 April 2014

Hornbeam Bonsai: 6 years of development

Carpinus betulus, the European Hornbeam, is a beautiful British native tree. This bonsai had been in development for 6 years, bought from relatively cheap nursery stock.

Repotted April 2014...

Looking good, both front and back.

The tree in 2008, a growing season on from
being lifted from the ground.

Saturday, 26 April 2014

Field Maple Bonsai: 6 years in development

Acer campestre, Britain's only native maple, has a special place in my heart. 

In 2008 I acquired a field grown tree from a bonsai nursery, it was very cheep for such a bulky trunk (though it remains the most I've spent on a piece of raw material), perhaps because it was thought challenging to style with lots of "faults"?

Here is the tree today, coming on nicely I think. The canopy
must get a bit bigger to balance out the trunk, and the pot is
probably not right, but I am happy that this is becoming a
nice looking tree.

Just a week ago it was only just coming into leaf; 
it is very vigorous and needs re-potting every year. 

Early in 2012, later that year I removed the large branch 
with the guy wire on the right of this image, a move I 
should have made at the start of development, but was too timid.

After the first styling in Autumn 2008, with a virtual pot 
and a proposed canopy shape. Already, I could see that I 
needed to do more carving to make those hollows more believable, 
but I wanted to allow it a years free growth to improve its vigor first.
The tree as it came to me in October 2008, lots of big cuts
and confused roots, my first big bonsai challenge

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

A few fungus

Every autumn I visit my local fragment of ancient woodland to hunt for mushrooms. I'm equally happy whether I find a meal or just some beautiful jewels on the forest floor.

Clavaria rugosa

Clavaria rugosa

Clavulinopsis sp.? This is not very similar to any fungus in any of my books!

Hygrocybe conica (of debatable edibility)

The names attatched to all of these specimens should be regarded as purely speculative, I have done my best as an amateur, but don't trust me on it... always consult a reliable guide book (or three)! After all, you'd only get one chance to mistakenly eat this:



The  beautiful, but deadly Amanita phalloides or Death Cap (this is the paler form), the most poisonous mushroom in Europe. Treated cases of poisoning have a more than 90% fatality rate, this rises to 100% if untreated.

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Linden of Queen Square, Bath

This stately Tilia sp. graces the small park outside the Institution for whom I work.

Monday, 11 November 2013

Tiny mushrooms on Linden bark

These tiny mushrooms are growing on the bark of a large, and totally healthy, Linden or Lime tree, Tilia sp. I think they are Mycena clavularis, though I would have needed a pair of tweezers and a hand lens to be certain... whatever the case they are quite wonderful!


Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Urban Arboretum

Queen Square in Bath, just outside the museum for whom I work, has a magnificent collection of trees, which look at their best at this time of the year. So many 18th and 19th century parks contain wonderful mature trees, what a debt of gratitude we owe our fore fathers!

Post-Industrial Alder










One of my favourite spots in the centre of Bristol, Alders have colonised these rotting wooden piles around an old swing bridge. No doubt their roots provide a nice habitat for fish and invertebrates too. It's lovely to see how trees take root wherever they are allowed to. Will all of this be first again one day? Who can say for sure?

I'm not sure whether they are the native Alnus glutinosa or Alnus cordata which I'm told is used as a street tree locally due to it's tolerance of pollution.

I haven't managed much blogging in the past two and a half years (my growing family has seemed rather more important than either bonsai or natural history), but it would be nice to start again.