I was able to collect a few Parsley hawthorns, Crataegus marshallii, this winter. Here’s one of the “sticks” that I brought home. Though it was by no means a big one, I was nevertheless excited to find this one because of this very nice trunk movement. Sometimes when you’re out collecting, you’ll see a tree and immediately think “literati.”


Here’s the stick a couple of months later. There are lots of nice long shoots, which is just the ticket for starting a literati bonsai. Literati are bonsai that are expressed with relatively little foliage. So even though there’s quite a bit on this new bonsai-to-be, most of it is going away.

You may notice that I’ve turned the tree in this photo. That’s because there’s a neat scar in the lower part of the trunk that I think deserves to be seen. Except for this, either view is equivalent to the other.


In a few minutes I completed this initial styling. Well, it doesn’t look like much, does it? But you can’t miss where I’m going with this tree.

Now it’s time to set the tree on its bench and just leave it alone. Food, water, neglect. It’ll continue to put on growth this year – likely quite a bit, if my experience with Parsley hawthorn is any indication – and that means the three branches that are left on this specimen will thicken up as I need them to. In 2018 this one will begin to make a statement, most likely in a bonsai pot if the growth is strong enough.


The trunk base on this specimen is 0.75″, by the way, and it’s 16″ to the chop.

This is a more substantial stick that the one above. It measures 3″ at the soil and is 13″ to the chop. Isn’t the trunk character great? When I first spotted this one I knew it was destined for my collection.


I didn’t take a before photo, but trust me when I say there was a lot more growth on this tree before I started the wiring and editing process. Here I’ve established a good branch set; it’s just a matter now of letting everything continue growing.

I need for all of the branches to get a lot thicker, and that will take the rest of the growing season.

I’ll post updates as this one progresses.

In the meantime, I’d love to hear any feedback you’d like to share.