Monday 18 April 2011

18.04. More Bonsai

Hello, did you read my post yesterday about my Bonsai tree? When I was researching on the Internet trying to find out why all the leaves were falling off, and whether I was doing all the things I could to treat it right, I saw an article about how you could make your own Bonsai trees. The article claimed that in principle, any tree or bush could be turned into a Bonsai tree, if you restricted its growth and pruned it correctly. That might be almost true, but there are trees and bushes that would never do well being treated like this; they would just become too stressed. I got of course very fascinated by this article, and being the kind of person I am, I just had to have a go!! So today I have made a Bonsai garden :-)

I chose two plants that are cuttings I made several years ago, none of them ever made it past the first pot I gave them, simply because I didn’t have any available space to put them. They are both climbers; the light green plant to the left is a honey suckle and the one to the right is a Parthenocissus henryana, more commonly known as Chinese Virginia creeper. Caprifoliums or Honeysuckles are arching shrubs or twining vines that can reach a height of 2-10 metres, depending on type of which there are around 180 of. Parthenocissus henryana grows in a more fan shaped way, excellent for covering a wall. When mature, a parthenocissus can reach 10 metres in height and 10 metres in spread. My two cuttings have been in their pots since 2004, and are certainly ‘mature’ plants. I have regularly pruned them, especially the parthenocissus which grew vigorously the first few years. I actually have another one of the parthenocissus; just didn’t have a suitable wall for either of them :-)

So here they are, both of them close up. I have removed a lot of the soil in between the roots and revealed some of the trunk that was below the soil level. I think the parthenocissus in particular looks like a very majestic little tree! And the honeysuckle looks fabulous too, amazing to think that this is a cutting from the huge 6’ tall plant I have at the bottom of my garden, which I brutally prune twice a year to keep at bay where it towers up an obelisk...This tiny plant doesn’t resemble its parent at all.

The question now is what is going to happen with all the new, fresh compost laid around the roots; will they both start growing like mad? I don’t know; I have never done this before! I suppose I should have bought proper Bonsai compost, and a proper Bonsai tray to plant them in, perhaps I will, if they survive the first few weeks. Bonsai compost will most certainly restrict the growth a bit, compared to the multipurpose compost I gave them today. And it might also retain mosture better than ordinary compost, which is an issue with Bonsais. These two are of course fully hardy, the honeysuckle is even an evergreen, so they will spend all their time outdoors as they have so far, for the last 7 years. So, that was my attempt to make Bonsai, let me see....what else can I get hold of and trim down to miniature size...?!

It’s been a lovely day today, and tomorrow and the rest of the week we are promised full sunshine and 25 degrees. That means a couple of more in my sheltered garden so I can expect around 28 degrees the next 4 days. Nice! Although all this lovely weather is proving costly in terms of my water bill, as my garden is as dry as an African desert these days. I am not sure all the watering I am doing is helping much for the plants in the ground; I doubt the water is reaching all the way down to where the roots are growing so I think I will just water the pots and tubs from now on.

One more photo? This is the last one of the daffodils to flower, a tiny pretty one called Species Narcissus 'Jonquille single'. After this one it is a whole year until next time my garden is showered with yellow nodding bells. Now I am just left with the dying leaves....which are not much fun, but they have to be left to die down on their own, to bring nourishment back into the bulbs. If I cut of all the green leaves now, the bulb would not have enough energy to flower next year so this is something I just have to put up with for the next 6-8 weeks until the leaves are completely dead and can be picked off easily. But it’s worth it; I get new flowers every year without doing anything really :-)

OK, I’m rounding up for tonight, more updates next time – until then, take care.

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