For the last year we have been preping my chinese Elm ready for submission and we even located a 250+ year old chinese pot. Trying to convince the pot owner to sell it for a realistic value has taken a bit longer than it could have though, and it was looking like the tree would need something else finding. Then fate took a turn and Mark Noelander spotted a couple of trees while on a visit to the UK back in the summer that he wanted in the show - one of which was earmarked for my collection so it became our show entry for this year.
There have been a few pics of the tree on the blog recently, starting when it was sat at M Kimuras Nursery in 2012, then when we got it here after QT. We have been undertaking pre show work in the last month - I took off a fair bit of older wire that had set branches and was now getting on the tight side, then a few sections of the tree were rewired with fine copper.
Even trees from such good nurseries as this one can be improved - I'm not one to keep a tree exactly the same just because thats the way it was imported. If it had stayed in Japan it would have been worked on annually and continued to to be refined in a permanent cycle. I see many trees that arrive in the UK looking nice but they are basically mature material in training.....so often though a new owner thinks they have a 'finished' tree so the future stages that would make a tree even better get forgotten - biggest culprits are sacrifice branches low down on trunks that were only there to add girth and trunk taper.
Back to this tree: bits I didn't like
poor flat apex
pot too fresh and formal
several large foliage masses were making it look small
Peter Warren was coming down for a few days so a few hours were spent addressing the apex and pads.
In japan the planting was in an even smaller pot that unfortunately broke in half in transit. It was repotted into a new Ian Bailey drum that is a lovely pot but I felt it was too 'smooth' and a bit too bright for this tree. The Bailey drum should be used for the Manuel Juniper from the previous post if the owner wants it.
I scoured and hunted a lot of online images and web sites and facebook picture albums of lots of potters before stumbling on a gallery of pots from a facebook friend Philippe Torcatis
I instantly liked the textures and rustic finishes so made contact to get a suitable pot. As we only had a couple of weeks before the show I needed a pot off the shelf rather than commissioned but I actually prefer shopping this way - when you commission a pot you begin by thinking you know what pot you want, then you get it made and hopefully it looks right when you get it. When you look for a ready made pot it leaps out at you when you finally spot it, so the match with the tree is often more successful.
In discussion a few of us thought the drum was a little small for the planting, and I wasnt convinced by a round pot for a directional tree so I chose a rustic textured oval. The pot came safely with all the christmas post and was repotted xmas eve. Followed by a few more little tweaks to the lower pads this is where we are today
subtle changes but it makes the tree so much better - and a couple of side by side pics show where the next tweaks need to be.
moral is don't think a tree is perfect and ready for show just because you bought it that way
Even though the tree had been requested months ago I still officially entered it and the confirmation email came through the other day so now we have the registration number etc.
Tree transport to the Trophy
I've only entered a single tree twice and both times the accepted tree has been trusted to the Peters Snart and Warren. They run an excellent service taking the trees, stands, accents etc to the venue, doing all the queueing up, getting the trees through the photography stage and then setting up the final displays. For the sum charged it is a superb service - thoroughly recommended