Today I brought home some nice hawthorns. As it is with almost every deciduous tree I collect, all I’ve got is bare trunks. But I learned a long time ago that only rarely do you find a deciduous tree with any significant portion of useable superstructure. To be sure, it’s not unusual to find hacked or browsed or mowed specimens. But usually these tend to fool the eye with ramification; when you look more closely, you find them to be way out of proportion for bonsai purposes, so you start cutting back and cutting back and by the time you’re done, all of that awesome ramification is lying on the ground or workshop floor. But … you’ve got the right start on your tree.

Hawthorn1-19-15-2Here’s one of the hawthorn trunks I got today, also the biggest. I think it may be a green hawthorn, Crataegus viridis, but I won’t know for sure until it leafs out. The bark, though, sure looks like it. Isn’t it terrific?

I know what you’re thinking. Why are there branches left on this trunk? When I have the opportunity, I do like to leave a branch or two because they will usually bud before the trunk does and give me an idea that the tree has made it. It’s likely both of these will come off before all is said and done.






Here’s another one, not as big as the first but nice with bark and good taper. You can see the smaller leader I was able to cut to in order to keep the taper going right into the future apex. This one will be a fine upright specimen in a few years. As with the one above, I think it has a masculine look. What do you think?










Hawthorn1-19-15-1Lastly, and mostly, is this specimen. What makes this one my favorite for today’s finds is the radial roots. They’re buried in this gorgeous Byron Myrick pot, but trust me when I say they’re spectacular. Both of the trees above have good radial roots; this one is an order of magnitude beyond either one. It’s one reason I direct-potted the tree.

I also think the trunk of this one has a special sort of grace to it. Definitely a feminine tree. If it turns out to be a green hawthorn, the color of the leaves will go especially well with the color of Byron’s pot.

What are my odds of success here? Over 25+ years of collecting hawthorns, my success rate is 90% – precisely 90%. Kind of a quirky thing that I can’t explain, but at least it’s nice to know going into any dig. Hopefully I haven’t jinxed it by putting it in print. I’ll know in early April.