Downsizing

There are a few small trees which I over-potted in hopes of them growing more vigorously. But a small tree in a big colander often left the medium too wet, and as a result, the tree suffers. Today, I repotted two trees into a smaller colander. My hope is that the reduced amount of soil would allow the medium to dry more quickly, and as a result, promote the tree to put out more roots.

I first started with the Japanese Maple. I originally potted the tree very low in the colander, forcing the roots to go radially rather than downwards. This plan worked well, as the tree has a very radial and flat nebari. I simply trimmed some roots off the rim, painstakingly rearranged the roots so that there are no overlaps, and then potted it into a smaller colander.

The second tree is the Boxwood. Boxwood are very slow growing trees, especially so when grown inside a pot. For the past two years, the tree remains largely the same size. Some nice roots have developed. Similar to the Japanese Maple above, I arranged the roots nicely, before potting it into its new (much smaller) colander.

Styling the Boxwood

After the dramatic styling of the boxwood some time ago, the tree is recovering well and putting out some vigorous new growths. I decided to put the other boxwood (which I also bought at the same time) through some styling as well.

Boxwood before styling

The tree looks too tall for the thickness of the trunk. Also there are a few bar branches which I don’t know what to do with. The tree as it is, looks quite dull and doesn’t exhibit hold age. Going with the idea that less is more, I decided to remove the whole top, and use the third branch as the new leader. The third branch was too thick in comparison to the secondary branch. By using it as the new leader, I can introduce some tapering to the tree as well.

Boxwood styled

So this is my new tree. I think it looks more graceful and elegant. I had to bend down and twist the first branch to have it looking the way I like it. Which caused the wires to bite in a bit. I’ll decide what to do with the scars later on. For now, I just want branches where I want them.

Boxwood Pruning

I brought my boxwood to the Toronto Bonsai Society’s backyard workshop/social event. I was given some advise on my boxwood. I always had the concern that the second branch and the first branch had too big of a gap in between.

Boxwood

Carlos our club president provided a simple resolution for the issue. Simply cut off the top, and go with a semi-cascade. I’ve always wanted a semi-cascade, but never had the opportunity to find material that suit that style. This tree also has excellent nebari on the other side of the cascade, which will counter-balance well the cascading tree. So, I took a saw to it, and left a jin. Since boxwood is a very hard wood, I shouldn’t have to worry about it rotting.

Boxwood as a semi-cascade

I also decided to give the other boxwood a pruning. I’ll probably continue to develop this one as an informal upright style.

Boxwood

Repotting of Boxwoods

Spring is time for repot. I frantically repot all my nursery bought trees into bonsai soil and colanders. This week I repotted the two small boxwoods. Boxwoods are known to thicken very slowly, so I probably should plant the tree in the ground rather than in a pot. But I didn’t have much room to plant the trees in, so into the pots they went. I planted these Boxwoods very close to the bottom, such that they can develop a nice nebari.

Boxwood Informal Upright

Boxwood Informal Upright

Initial Styling of Boxwoods

Yesterday was the first meeting of the season. Although the theme of the meeting was Burning Bush, but I decided to bring in my boxwoods to be worked on during the workshop. Since I already purchased a dwarf Burning Bush just last week, I wasn’t going to participate in the workshop anyways. I brought in the two little Boxwoods I purchased a few weeks back. Grace persuaded me to bring the Boxwoods up for critique in the beginning of the meeting. John Biel think these two little ones can be good bonsai material. His suggestions were exactly what I wanted to do during the meeting, that gave me more confidence to carry out my plan on the tree. Time flies during the workshop, and before I knew it, it was already 10pm. Thankfully, I did finish what I wanted to work on.

Boxwood After First Styling

Boxwood After First Styling

On the bottom one, I left a sacrificing branch to help fatten up the main branch (and to heal the big wound right below the main branch). The challenge now is to ensure these plants survive the winter. Next year, I’ll contemplate burying them in the ground to help develop the trunk. But then again, I might keep them as Mame Bonsais, since Boxwoods don’t build much thickness in the trunk anyways. It’s only a decision to be made if they do survive the winter.

 

Two Boxwoods

Was flipping through the flyers last week and noticed that Lowes were selling boxwoods for $7.50. I figured it’s a good opportunity to get started on a species I never looked at before. So I took the plunge. After spending a good half an hour digging through 30+ boxwoods, I found several that I liked. One had an impressive twin trunk, but not much to be desired in terms of the nebari. Another had a really nice spreading nebari, but all the roots were hair-fine. I end up taking home two boxwoods. One with an impressive nebari, and another with nice leaves (all the other ones there had dark green leaves, and only this one had bright green jade looking leaves).

First, the tree with the impressive nebari. I was surprised to find one with such a wide spreading nebari, because all the other trees either had roots off to one side, or really fine roots. This nebari tapered up really nicely.
Boxwood's impressive nebariThe other tree has a nice leave color, I liked how each leave is surrounded by a white border.

Boxwood's nice leave colorAfter getting the trees, I found out they are evergreen trees. References online indicate that pruning can happen all year long except late fall. So I decided to get to work and do some pruning to shape it into a bonsai. This time, I purposely not prune too much, such that the tree can recover. I also opted to do repotting come next spring. I’ve already lost too many trees this year, I decided to take it easy.

This is the boxwood with the nice nebari after pruning. I didn’t have thick enough wires to wire down the main branch. I’ll probably do it either in the Sept Bonsai Club meeting, or during the Oct meeting.

Boxwood with spreading nebariAnd the other boxwood with the nice leave color.

Boxwood with nice leave color