Not much to show as yet, but here’s the beginning of my Wisteria progression (hopefully if the winter hasn’t killed it off 😕 )
Not much to show as yet, but here’s the beginning of my Wisteria progression (hopefully if the winter hasn’t killed it off 😕 )
As ever the weather stays firmly in God’s control and He’s certainly not letting us have it on our terms currently. The timing has sadly been somewhat unfortunate in my case with us having done the few repots 2 weeks ago or so. But I managed to find a new flexi mini greenhouse to install after my first one died last month – I discovered plastic has a rather short finite life when the panels tore away from the seams. It was a race to get this one out in time to protect some of the more vulnerable plants from the Siberian Beast from the East plus Storm Emma combined. For a change we actually got a decent snowfall, all of 3 cm, but for the inner city here that’s not bad.
The Wisteria was my main concern given the huge impact repotting alone was most likely having on it let alone then being out in freezing weather. My biggest issue with it aside from that is its water requirement – so hard to know how best to manage that part from both those angles. The bonus with the new house is that it’s twice the height of the other and so thankfully with the Wisteria being a cascade now it just fitted in nicely to the top shelf. With everything double bubblewrapped too I’m hoping that saves most of them. Think I’m starting to get just a shade OCD over the bubble wrapping perhaps – the infamous Harry H told me he doesn’t ever do it with all his outdoor ones but nonetheless that it should decrease the freezing point a couple of degrees & as we rarely get below -5 here other than with windchill I’m hopeful it’ll work well.
Surprisingly given how much snow had fallen the day before, & ordinarily it would go through winter with just whatever rainfall we had, the Privet suddenly looked like it had died with leaves all flopped & drying out .(Photo above taken the day before). So I immediately got it under shelter and removed the snow, before watering it with just enough to get it recovered. I’ll water again in 2 days to make sure. But it was a really close call. I’d initially stupidly assumed it couldn’t be needing watered & also worried about the risks when it was freezing, so I thought perhaps the frost had killed it – so glad I didn’t just carry that assumption through to an inevitable end. It perked up fairly quickly but yet again, the damage may already be done – time will tell.
I’m just as concerned about the likes of the Hawthorn and while the Spirea wasn’t overly disturbed, this is the first real winter it’s had to deal with. The cold has also obviously put the brakes well on the cherries which had only just started flowering, but also the Exochorda which was just about to pop – hopefully it won’t destroy the buds but rather just put them on hold.
So February is officially Springtime apparently – someone hasn’t yet told the Jet Stream that as it’s so turbulent this year Spring only becomes remotely possible for 1 day in 5 maybe 2 in a good week, but basically you no sooner get a “mild” day with sun and little wind than you’re guaranteed the next will most likely be the polar (literally!) opposite, with winds driving the temps down to -3 or lower and snow showers or worse frost a daily occurrence. So understandably yet again the plants are struggling somewhat to make any headway and the few that have done the foolish thing of setting flower buds way too early are now paying a high price for it – I’ve my doubts whether my “Bride” (Exochorda) will be walking up the aisle anytime soon – with flowers at any rate, as the flower buds that it set last month (3-4 months early) are now suffering badly, but you never know. The cherry trees are pushing hard to get theirs out safely too – I spotted many trees out & about already in flower which is great to see, yet mine which are more sheltered are still holding on – hard to know which are on the right path – another week or two should give a better idea.
This week saw 8 or 9 of my lot back with Ian again for their yearly checkup & wiring etc. As I can’t wire with my hand issues easily, I’m fortunate he’s willing to fit me in to his crazy schedule but it does help get everything set up for the year ahead and I think he likes to see the progress too.
The main ones of note are, firstly the Wisteria at last, which went from this
to this 🙂 my first Cascade type bonsai which is going to be hugely interesting.
. The Camellia suddenly looks like a true bonsai in its new pot while the Hawthorn is unrecognisable to how it was a week ago!The Hawthorn had a fair bit of reshaping too so should look more like its meant to this year for the first perhaps. Sadly it’ll take another few years to overcome the wire “burns” (consequence of my inability to use heavier cutters plus ignorance in not realising I should have got it to Ian sooner).
Well, incredibly we’re already into another year – seems like only last month I was talking about Spring 2017 but here we are a whole year later. Thankfully so far most of my bonsai seem to be holding up well in the relatively mild winter we’ve had so far. Many of the larger shrubs (Deutzia, The Bride etc) are already well under way with growth & even flower buds on the latter!! And most of the bonsai are showing signs of starting to kick off another yearly cycle in the near future. For me, the journey begins properly when the cherry trees start to flower – then I know Spring really has begun.
The only exception to all of the above has been my beautiful little Azalea which has put on such a wonderful show the past 2 years – I’m hoping it’s a deciduous variety or else it’s doomed as it’s lost almost 2/3 of the previous good volume of foliage and appears to be on the edge of total defoliation which it’s never done before. TThis is what it looked like in December but it’s lost all those yellowing leaves & more since 🙁 Still I’m hopeful that with some careful care and attention over the next month I might just be able to keep it holding on enough to limp through to Spring when new growth might just possibly pick up. But we’ll see. I’d hate to lose it now given how wonderful a show it’s put on for me. Still, if the worst comes to the worst, I at least have the other 2 waiting in the wintgs & they’re cheap enough to buy more stock to continue to try with.
I do have a couple of new additions to the family – one indoor (a Carmona equally not happy 🙁 ) and a beautiful Camellia (sold as a bonsai but probably just a chopped shrub ) so I’ll be taking them plus the main ones outside to my expert next month when the temps start picking up hopefully.
Oh my word, where have the last 4 months disappeared to?? Suddenly summers long gone and Autumn’s landed – well, in truth I think Summer finished somewhere around mid-May -after that the sun was only seen in force for maybe 2 days if even while tbe rest were sometimes more like winter. It certainly must have made life much easier for many bonsai enthusiasts who found themselves rarely having to worry about watering – more .worried about some plants maybe being over watered instead.
Thankfully all of my own seem to have enjoyed the semi-tropical conditions – especially the wisteria which again did really well this year despite my concerns at the end of last season tbat I’d killed it. I discovered this year that it just decides to drop its leaves earlier than the younger one for whatever reason. I’m hopeful it’ll get downsized next year but just have to see. The maple equally has performed really well and I’m hopeful of a good Autumn showing shortly. But just for the record here’s some of the rest. The Elm is the only one this season to not have put out more growth after pruning but it has still done ok for all tbat and I’m confident it’ll pick up better next Spring.
I took 6 or so of the trees & shrubs down to Ian for another check & trim as he’d said he wanted trhe Maple to come down again once it got some decent growth. So here’s the lineup- apologies for photos – didn’t have anywhere better to photograph them 🙁 :
First and main one is of course the wonderful Maple itself which did superbly after its first prune in March.
The hawthorn had got rather out of control partly as we intended but it will more than benefit from this pruning.
One of the others not intended really for bonsai or at least not just yet is my beautiful Deutzia which flowered ridiculously well this year but had gotten rather out of control in shape so I just chopped back all the flowering branches as suggested by most online sites & await to see if it will improve next years performance and/or produce any measure of ramification. Given it’s one that won’t be getting potted up it really does need to do so.
This is the rather woeful one of the two apple trees that obviously have a LONG way to go. The other has gone out to ground to see how it fared but unfortunately disease appears to have overtaken it completely & rather rapidly so am doubtful of getting it back into any shape for bonsai later. This one’s been somewhat similarly hit but is at least coping & still putting out new growth so it might slowly progress yet but what shape it will end up in is anyone’s guess. 🙁
Finally – my first ever bonsai – the Chinese Elm (apologies for pic) continues to do well & is coning down nicely albeit very slowly but at keast it’s doing well & always improves brilliantly from any pruning applied so I’ve high hopes for it.
Oh the joys – most of the plants whether bonsai or shrub size are coming on wonderfully. My pride & joys are 2 primarily. Firstly my beautiful Maple which Ian pruned last month, As always it looked like it would take forever to regrow but whad’ya know – of course it’s come back & better than ever too!!
It’s amazing the leaves are already reducing wonderfully and while obviously this is early in the season so a lot more growth yet to put on, it does give a tiny indicator of how it might look in a few years time. The little plant beside it is actually the wee Privet cutting I took last year which amazingly rooted & is growing really well now.
Next beauty is the Exochorda which bloomed at the start of the month & is still popping flowers out now at the end of it.
March is almost over and it’s lovely to start to see more of the yard plants & shrubs putting out good new growth. The Bride (Exochorda) is positively blooming with her pearls in advance of putting on her soon to be beautiful white dress of flowers. Given it didn’t flower last year and I’d then carefully pruned it I wasn’t sure how things would play out this year, so I’m ecstatic to see ths forthcoming show. There’s hope too that I might be able to shorten the internodes somewhat this year. However, as sadly is often the case, the weather turned badly cold 2 days ago and I’m truly hoping it doesn’t destroy the buds. All being well they should begin to pop by the end of the month,
The Cercis once again has disappointed in not putting out any flowers but is at least beginning to show plenty of new leaves so for the moment I have to presume it’s one shrubs that takes years to flower. So where last year I figured I’d give it this year or else I’m now relenting as I’m really keen to get at least one show of flowers before deciding what to do with it.
Of the others, there’s the big azalea which is holding well and likely to provide a good flush of flowers this year
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 😀 )
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.
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.