I’ve felt for some time now that spring would be coming early this year. Turns out I was right. I had bald cypresses budding a couple of weeks ago, which isn’t surprising for trees “remembering” where they came from south of here, but yesterday I noticed that most of my newly collected hawthorns are budding – including my parsley haws, which is very exciting.

Today was the first of two weekend collecting trips left for the 2016 winter season, the last being next week. The season has been shortened by at least two weeks if not more. But I have to say I’m not sorry to see spring getting here. Each year I like winter less and less.

Yaupon2-20-16-1A new bonsai friend who has some property was kind enough to let me collect some material today. I was pleasantly surprised to find a couple of nice yaupons, Ilex vomitoria. The one at left features three trunks that have really nicely interplay and movement. With a little luck, I should be able to build the branch structures of these trunks in a single growing season. The important thing is going to be to wire the new growth before it hardens off; yaupon branches get very stiff quickly and they’re arrow-straight, so if you don’t get some movement into them early in the game it’s not going to happen. Why not just use thick wire to bend them? Because the branches also snap easily.

This specimen has a 3″ trunk base, with the tallest trunk being 13″ to the chop. The pot is a nice Byron Myrick oval.

Yaupon2-20-16-2This yaupon is very cool. The two trunks hug each other so tightly that the smaller one is literally “embraced” by the larger one.

The trunk is 1.5″ in diameter at the base, and the taller one is 13.5″ to the chop. The pot is another Byron Myrick piece.

I’m really looking forward to styling this tree. Stay tuned for updates.









This was my prize of the day. I’ve never worked with American holly, Ilex opaca, before. Apart from the incredibly sharp spines on the leaves, which can easily deter you, most of the specimens I see don’t have a lot of trunk character. This one is just a show-stopper.

I have no idea whether or how well American holly backbuds, but I’m going to find out soon. Assuming it cooperates with a new leader and some branches, I should have a nice showable tree in three or four years.

The trunk base is 3″ above the root crown, and it’s chopped at 14″. It’s potted in a vintage Richard Robertson oval.

I’d love to hear what you think of these hollies. Leave me a comment below.