Wednesday, 5 October 2016

Trees in training for less than five years

It's showtime at my bonsai club this weekend.

In bonsai terms that should be one of the highlights of my year, but unforeseen circumstances have prevented me from dedicating much time to my trees over the past month and this week I found myself totally unprepared for the show. When I looked at my small collection of trees which are actually in bonsai pots, only one looked vaguely show-worthy but not really the way I'd have wanted it to look for putting on show.

Fortunately the club has introduced a section for trees which have been in training for less than five years, and those can be displayed in training pots. So I looked around to see which trees I could display in that section and cut my options down to four on which I did some preparation today.

These are my options:

1. Schotia Brachypetala

Schotia - before tidying up for show

This tree has been growing quite vigorously since its early spring pruning. Initially I planned to do no more than rewire it, but in the end I went a little further and ended up with my tree looking like this:

Schotia - ready for show

Though it appears that I did some drastic work, only one branch was pruned. The rest was merely reducing the volume of the large compound leaves so that the branch structure became a bit more visible. Though I'm not convinced the tree is looking its best right now, removing that foliage actually helped me to notice a few branches that had been wired in the wrong direction. That should benefit the tree in the long term.

2. Celtis Africana

Celtis Africana

This is one of my bigger trees and has quite a nice trunk, with a few secrets which I'll keep for a future post. Unfortunately I haven't put much time or effort into ramification yet, so the top isn't looking that good.

3. Olea europaea subsp africana (Olive)

Olive

This tree has had a bit more carving done since I last wrote about it in April. Since then it had put out lots of new growth all over the trunk, but I tidied that up for show purposes. I'm not totally happy with the style though and plan to let the branches grow out further for the rest of the summer.

4. Ficus Natalensis

Ficus Natalensis

The smallest of the four but one of my favourite trees. This one was propagated from a root cutting and has been grown with very little input from the members of my club, so this more than any of the others feels like 'my' tree. Although the scars may bother some people, I like them and feel they almost make the trunk look like a little person.

Unless I have a last minute change of heart I'll be taking all four trees along to the show set-up on Friday. Hopefully all will be regarded as good enough.

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

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