• Latest expert work…

    Took down a small selection of trees/shrubs needing some work to Ian.  So the Privet got a checkover which left it pretty much unchanged thankfully as it’s really only now starting to come good after last year’s work.   It’s a rather typical boring shape but hey – still a bonsai! 🙂

    Then we tackled the Hawthorn which had done pretty well last year, albeit it in some wrong directions, but still going strong thankfully.  So again, it just got cut right back to early points of growth to kick off this season.  Unfortunately, my difficulties in removing last year’s wire are rather evident.  While it adds some characer in my view, I know it’s not a good thing, but it’s young enough to grow the damage out over time.

    Next one was one of the 2 Malus I still have and in some ways the better of the 2 as at least it has a bit of movement in the trunk unlike the other,  Again, it just got a minimal bit of work and left to put another year’s growth on,

    Then we started on some with a bit more work like my beautiful Maple that edges ever closer to looking more like a “proper” bonsai Maple, but as always it lost almost all last year’s growth first.  However, I know from how it was last year that it’ll quickly push out more new growth and indeed not even a week on from when I took this pic it’s already well on the way,

    Finally the biggest job arrived – downsizing my big Spirea as it’s beyond manageable for me in a big pot.   It was truly unrecognisable by the time Ian had finished with it & certainly far beyond my expectations but again I know it’ll not be long recovering as it’s a fairly prolific back budder.

    Here’s the before (for impact  😀 )

    And after  😀

    Spot the difference LOL!!   Still at least he did leave a few leaves on purely as he saw the shocked look on my face once again (although I’m way better now than when I first started this journey 2 years ago!!),

    The final couple (honeysuckle & cotoneaster) were deemed ok for now so no work was undertaken on them,  All in all, a good day’s work.


  • Spring in the air….

    Perhaps a shade early as we’ve not really yet had our winter to any degree, although round these parts that’s not uncommon either and it may just mean we’ve had another really REALLY mild one here – only 2 or 3 days of frost and NO snow!!   And I suppose I tend to think of Spring being April though obviously it starts in March usually so perhaps these aren’t popping out earlier than they should be although I do feel the Bride’s going to suffer badly if we get a really cold snap.

    So first past the post to win the prize of Spring bride is of course the Japanese Cherry – this one’s still a long way off looking anything like a Bonsai but it’s looking better than it did late last year when I feared it might not survive the winter.,

    At this stage it looks about half prepped with flowers so will hopefully look a good bit nicer than currently but it’s such a short season sometimes the early flowers are done by the time the later ones appear so you don’t get to enjoy the full glory of it.

    But the biggest surprise is certainly this lady – currently mostly wearing her pearls but she’s thrown open a few of those to give a glimpse of the glory to come.  And it looks like I did something right last year (of course stupidly never kept any records of exactly what that was), as there’s a LOT more flowers than the first year.  I was hugely concerned last year as there had been none but I possibly pruned at the wrong point the previous summer.

    This is of course Exochorda Macarantha – normally it should flower in April or May so it’s well ahead of the game but hopefully our winters done & dusted and this will be able to continue gaining strength and momentum to provide another glorious display.

    I’ll update shortly on some of the others which are heading off to my expert this week to get their annual prunes & checks.


  • Glorious Autumn…

    Ahh – the awesome colours of Autumn.  And for the first year ever, I’m getting to enjoy a beautiful bonsai Maple in full colours.  Previously because the Maple was a large bush it never got moved into full sun for any length of time, so tended to stay green all the way through & in fact the year before it got clipped, it didn’t even drop all its leaves properly and stayed green pretty much up until the first frosts.

    So this is a total joy to behold – and while it still looks a bit weird because of the “sacrifice” branches I think it’s a little stunner with lots of potential.

    The yard plants are now all looking rather miserable on it – either no leaves or dying ones.  Sadly some of the plants like the Deutzia I had high hopes for, have become diseased or bug ridden despite all my efforts & I can only hope they spring into life again next year.

    The Wisteria is still a huge concern – so difficult to klnow how to manage it when it’s hibernating.

     

     


  • Disaster!!

    Autumn is well & truly kicking in and most of the plants/trees in my little yard are showing more signs of hibernation week by week,  The lilac is almost leafless already while the Maple, once again, is still in its full glorious green glory.

    Ma[;e

    Unfortunately I dropped the ball badly over the past few days of milder weather – somehow totally forgetting to check the Wisteria for watering, with the result that I think it’s died an unrecoverable death – not a leaf wasn’t shrivelled up or dried out so I can’t really see it recovering enough to make it through the winter.   Beyond gutted!!  😡 .  My own fault entirely,   My other younger Wisteria is ok but it doesn’t have the leaf growth to support of the bigger one.  At any rate I’ve taken 2/3 of the foliage down off the “dead” one in the hope it might fare better with less burden on its system to do so.

    Another tree to look like its dying is the “good” Apple I’d put into the bonsai pot last year – it appears to have succumbed to some sort of disaease as the leaves have gone all brown & spotty plus are curling badly – looks different to autumnal decline,  But we’ll see – if it survives the winter it might yet return in the spring.

    Everything else is holding up well thankfully.  I’ll be starting from next week to get the pots bubble-wrapped  for winter and stick the baby Maples into the mini greenhouse,   Roll on Spring!!!

     


  • New addition & updates

    Ok lets kick off with the updates first as if I put them last you’ll never read that far & then miss all the fun,

    Once again, we’re having a perfect summer – well, for me & the plants at least, not for anyone else who might like some of the bright warm stuff – more rain and cool days than anything you’d usually describe as summer.  But I’m so happy as it saves me a ton of hard work trying to keep on top of watering & panicking constantly lest I end up in hospital again & have to rely on haphazard family help with keeping the yard plants alive.

    So perhaps because of the inclement weather, the plants are all doing wonderfully with only an odd one of concern.

    Most of the flowering varieties have now finished so I took the opportunity to prune what I could.  The azaleas in particular all got worked on bar the one that flowered the most which just got dead headed and cleaned up,   But the largest one was the biggest challenge only in figuring out how best to prune it back without leaving it not flowering at all next year perhaps.  So I was (my usual) cautious self and just took a dozen stems back to 2 sets of leaves.  We shall see if they’re as good at regrowing as the internet pundits all say.  Granted you’d barely know it’s been touched at all but enough for me at the minute.  This is the before when it was flowering & after I’d had a little clip.

    Replacement Panda doing well

    DSCF8366Then the little dwarf Rhodo impeditum tree which had struggled through last winter and only managed to put out 1 or 2 (but perfect) little flowers this year was repotted into a bonsai pot.  It had been in a 10 inch pot and as expected roots only took up about a third of that, but I still had to do a fair bit of work to get as much soil off as I could.  In the end as I feared breaking off too many roots to keep it going I lost my nerve somewhat (inexperience always shows!) and left much of the remaining soil on while potting it up with grit so it’s in a real half’n’half mixture that might not do it too many favours.  My thinking was more to try & let it recover from the shock of the move & then next year Ian can repair the damage (if any) & clean it up etc.  Firstly have to strengthen it up to cope better over the winter & produce a better crop of flowers next year,

    First flowers on the "tree" azalea

    You can see growth has improved quite a lot with it and so I’m hopeful of a better winter for it this year.

    Next came the Wisteria – it did so well the primary growth was getting somewhat ridiculous and (to me) it appeared to have somewhat run out of steam which might not be surprising given the pot size, so given everyone said they should get their first pruning at the end of June to mid-July, I just bit the bullet & did the deed.  The poor thing looked miserable afterwards as the leaves just stayed hanging down but it will hopefully push the growth further down to start preparing it for winter too.  Feeding is still a bit of a mystery for me with it but I think I’ll give it another couple of feeds through July/August of Green Dream & then switch over to tomato feeding for the next couple of months prior to dormancy,  Worth a try,

    Again, here’s the before – well., about 2 wks prior:

    And then the after – there were 3 stems so I just took them all back to this size.  It’ll either do or die, & hopefully the former! 🙂So that’s the most of what’s been happening with my bonsai jungle in the city.  I’ve got some other larger shrubs yet to be downsized but they’re all getting there slow but sure

    Now on to the newbie to the party – not another bonsai but the most adorable “accent” plant.   I got this when I had taken a friend to visit Ian & buy a pressie for her hubby.  He was in the process of organising a whole set of these awesome little beauties & I just had to have one.  Who could resist this wee beauty??

    DSCF8394Don’t ask me what it is – forgot that bit long time ago!!!  But I will get the name of it next time I see him unless anyone wants to enlighten me sooner  :D.  Mar 2017 – finally coming back to provide the name of this wee beauty – it is of course Rhodoxis :()

    Right – that’s enough for now.  If I’ve not bored you completely by this stage – well done for hanging on to the end.  Until next time….


  • Into summer we go….

    Well. if I’m right we’re now starting into Summer already.  I feel like Spring only sprung a few weeks ago but the weather has certainly picked up with a whole week or more of long sunny days with little rain.  So the plants have responded accordingly.  I promised an update on the Elm & Wisteria among others and so here they are.

    The Elm has done really well (in comparison to the Privet which hasn’t) and has put on plenty of new fresh wonderful growth and is ramifying (?) wonderfully.  It’s so much easier to undertake pruning when you’re starting from a good base AND have at least an iota of info on how to do it properly.

    ElmPhoto is already a month old and the tree has put on yet more growth since so I’ve had a thoroughly enjoyable time pruning it back,

    But the best by far is the Wisteria.  Would you believe I saw my first aged Wisteria ever last week at a relative’s house where he said it was flowering for the first time this year – oh it was just glorious and makes me all the more determined to try and get mine to flower at some point up ahead.  I’m unsure whether I should perhaps pot it up again or else just leave it.  Have to see what Ian thinks eventually.

    But here it was last month – it’s now trying to escape all roads & climb walls I don’t want it going up – that long top vine is currently about 2 feet high.  And the even bigger surprise this year is that last year’s young one not only managed to survive the winter but also grow like wildfire once again & even more vines than last year.  So while it’s about 5 yrs behind the new one, it may grow large enough to work with later too.

    WisteriaIn my next post I’ll show you some of the other non-bonsai plants in the hope they manage to flower by then,


  • Flowers, glorious flowers…

    Ahh, this is where I really start enjoying the few pre-bonsai I have which are now all flowering or even almost finishing.  As well as the wonderful wee Azalea I showed you last week I also have this Lilac, and of course the more developed Cotoneaster.  So, ok, the Lilac really has a LONG way to go before you’d call it a true bonsai I’m overjoyed it’s flowering as it gives me a lot of hope for its future.

    I’m also always aware that, for my purposes, I’m not so much aiming to create pure bonsai specimens as much as mini-trees.  Trust me – there’s a difference – not least in the amount of time required as much as the knowledge and input required.   So while only a handful of my collection can in any sense be deemed as yet to be true bonsai – they’re all ultimately going to be what I need them to be for my purposes.

    So bear with me – don’t go spitting teeth everytime you see me talk about a bonsai tree that in your view is nowhere near being so.  At least I understand that fact – unlike some out in cyberspace 🙂 :).

    Ok – so on to this week’s offerings.  Here firstly is the Lilac in all its flowering glory (still not complete).

    DSCF8321Ok – I admit – obviously not the greatest specimen but hey it’s only 2 yrs old so for that I think – awesome!!  Once flowering’s done I’ll prune it back & see what happens next year. At least it looks like it might develop a good nebari – yes??

    Then the Cotoneaster has once again come on wonderfully – I can’t help thinking that any plant which flowers as good as this has to be a happy one & in good health.   However, despite the ton of flowers last year it never progressed to provide even a single berry which was disappointing.

    This is the front view:

    DSCF8323And the back:

    DSCF8324This is pretty much how I got the tree & so I’m sort of presuming the shape is correct for it – personally I’d get rid of that lowest branch BUT what do I know??  And therein lies the danger – there’s prob a good reason for having it there so until I know better I’m leaving well alone.

    Next time I’ll show you some updates from some of the others e.g. Wisteria and Elm etc.


  • Azalea in the making…

    This is one of 3 dwarf azaleas I bought last year which was supposed to be white but turned out pink.  A replacement is turning out pink as well :(.  But anyway – still glorious plants.  I potted the other 2 into pots to grow up a bit first but had loved the flowers on this one so much when it bloomed I just stuck it into a bonsai pot for show & then never got round to repotting it.

    So this is the result!!

    DSCF8288It’s an awkward shape to make into true bonsai at the minute as the trunk immediately branches into 2 wings and looks faintly silly so I’m debating whether to chop off one side & train the other outwards or else hard prune to see whether it will back bud to any degree.   If anyone wants to dive in with suggestions please do.

    And just so you can see what I mean:

    Azalea floweringMy thought is to lose the branch on the left or at best cut it back to the first set of leaves.  Hate to do anything to it given how well it’s done since last year but know I have to be cruel to be kind in my aim to get it much smaller.


  • Finally – the last addition…. well, maybe!

    Well, I’ve finally FINALLY got the one tree that kick started my bonsai addiction but which I thought I’d never find or be able to afford – a Wisteria. Unlike my vine offering from last year which has all but died over the winter, this is a proper aged air-layered tree with a decent trunk that might flower within 5 years if I can feed it right!!!

    Picked it up on Ebay at a good price, and given the seller had it listed as collection only I really hadn’t held out much hope of changing his mind. But incredibly he did and agreed to post it over. Unfortunately he’d chosen the cheap option of 3-4 working days and that took us smack bang into a long B/Holiday weekend, so it actually ended up taking a whole week to get to me. I feared the worst given how thirsty these trees tend to be and while expecting this:

     

    Wisteria for sale

    I was totally overjoyed to open the superbly created box the seller had made to house it and find this:

    Wisteria

    Of course it was only after shelling out to get it that I remembered Ian’s words to NOT buy any more ‘nursery’ type stock but instead to save up & get a better more finished tree that would prove cheaper & easier to manage. But half the fun is in seeing them develop and progress. However, regardless, this truly will have to be my last large plant as I truly have no space left in my yard & already have it far more filled than I really ever intended. 🙂

    Of course now I’ve zilch idea on how to prune this to progress it so once again it’ll be back to Ian to get a lecture on my wayward foolishness no doubt. Can’t wait  😀  😀