Just over a month ago I decided it was time to do an initial styling on this Parsley hawthorn, Crataegus marshallii. There was never any doubt about the future for this bonsai-to-be – it was going to be a literati. The literati style is, for lack of a better term, the way for the bonsai artist to do the unusual with either less-than-stellar material or exquisite material. It may be the purest artistic expression available to us with our trees.

In the case of this tree, it met all of the “requirements” for the literati style: tall, slender trunk with only modest taper; graceful, character-filled trunk movement; a concentration of growth near the putative apex. The only think I had to do was bring out the best design for this specimen. After the initial styling, I thought it was another step closer to the goal.


As of today, the tree had put on another strong round of growth (six weeks’ worth).

Based on this, plus a gentle push on the trunk, I concluded that the tree had rooted sufficiently for me to get a little aggressive and pot the tree.

I don’t recommend this for less-experienced artists.

In time, you’ll learn what you can do and what species you can do it with. (I don’t always get it right myself.)



A little trimming and wiring was in order.

The tree gave me a nice sub-branch in the apex, which is actually going to end up as the final apex, so I simply wired and positioned it. I trimmed the low-left branch back, trimmed the high-left branch back and wired a smaller shoot on it and continued the branch’s movement.


Picking the right pot for your tree is always important. In this case, I had a great Chuck Iker round that just came in and I felt it had the size, style and color to suit this Parsley haw. Here in the south, Parsley haws will produce a nice yellow fall color. I’m anxious to see if I get some this year, because I think it’ll be complemented beautifully by this pot’s color.

This tree should resume growing in a week or so. I plan to post it for sale within the next month, so stay tuned.