Monday, 23 November 2015

Starting Over

In early 2008, shortly after I joined my bonsai club, I won this little Privet off the raffle table. It had a decent trunk leading up to two thin leaders and was totally devoid of branches.

As I got it, 2008

I quickly set to work on trying to turn this tree into bonsai, removing one leader and allowing the other to thicken up a little. After a while it started to develop some sort of shape and in 2012 I decided it was ready to go into a bonsai pot. Shortly afterwards it made its first appearance at our club show. I was rather disappointed when one of the senior club members told me that the front I'd chosen wasn't showing off the trunk to its best advantage, but to change it would have meant I'd need to regrow the branches, so I decided to stick with what I had.

In bonsai pot, 2013

As I grew in experience I realised that I'd grown quite a boring tree, but I didn't feel motivated to change it. Then over the past year I neglected it, allowing it to put on a lot of unwanted growth, including this new branch coming out close to the base and growing straight upward.

Before latest pruning - detail, 2015

The tree had put so much energy into that branch that it was now the tallest part of the tree. After removing it, the tree still looked awfully overgrown, but a few of the branches were dead.

Overgrown, 2015

A few days ago I decided to see what I could do with it, but after I'd removed the unwanted upward growth and dead branches I could see that its structure had been totally ruined, so I cut back really hard and moved it back into a training pot. While I was working on it I recalled the advice I'd received several years ago and decided to rebuild the tree with the correct front.

Cut back hard and moved to training pot, 2015

It's not looking very good at the moment, but I've got more to work with than I did in 2008. For now I'll have to wait and see where it pushes out new growth before I start planning for its future.

Hopefully in a couple of years I'll have a much more interesting tree.

No comments yet, but I'd love to hear your view.

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