Pottering with Pitt: Hawthorn Raft/Cascade

In late 2008 I acquired a nice Hawthorn from Len Gilbert which I had admired for a while. In design terms the tree was stuck somewhere between a raft and a semi-cascade which was all very nice and pretty in itself. But being of the opinion that it had a fair bit of potential, I took it to the legend that is the Burrs Weekend in November 2009. It had always been in the game plan that the tree would go into something a bit special pot-wise, and after much discussion with that lovely man John Pitt, a progression plan was hatched.

Tree when I bought it from Len via Willowbog

I had been convinced that the tree had to lose at least a bit of its semi-cascade tendencies, and we tinkered with changing the planting angle. Several Burrs participants had suggested trying to make this into two trees, but I had always liked the tree as one entity. My idea for a pot was something that gave the impression of a tree with a stray branch that had clambered its way over rocks or a wall.

Enter John Pitt.

A sojurn with John in the less frozen wilderness of the Midlands in early spring 2010 resulted in a new planting angle:

Not as severe an angle change as originally thought, but still enough to give it more of a tumbling look rather than a cascade. And now, a full year later, the tree has been back to Pitt the Potter from the Potteries to get its new home.

Shortly after repotting

As always, John put a lot of thought and artistry into this “pot”, which is exactly what I wanted from the outset. I bought the tree originally when I was going through my schmaltzy period simply because it was a “nice tree” which had been created by a good friend. It also had, in my eyes, the potential to be that bit more than just a nice tree, but it was also my belief that by giving it more than just a traditional pot (however lovely that pot might have been) I could achieve a tree with a fair degree of uniqueness. This was necessary if I ever have leanings towards showing it since, as most readers will know, we are blessed over here in the British Isles with stunning Hawthorns.

I firmly believe that John’s pot has given the tree that very uniqueness, and I just hope that I can be as successful in my part of the exercise which is to help it develop the branch structure, ramification etc. that lifts the tree above the average, therein justifying its splendid palace of a pot.

On the day I picked it up from John - April 11th 2011

As it is of today 29th April 2011

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