Wednesday, 23 November 2016

Hail and Bonsai

Nine years ago, just weeks after I joined my bonsai club, we were hit by the worst hail I've ever had the misfortune to experience. Stones the size of golf balls (or possibly larger) pelted our house, breaking 13 windows. Needless to say my small "bonsai" collection suffered significant damage too.

Among the trees that were damaged that night was my "pride and joy", a little Serissa (really just a stick in a pot) which I had wired only days earlier and which I misguidedly believed was well on its way to making a beautiful bonsai. It lost an important branch that night and with it my hopes for its immediate future were dashed. Sadly that tree died about a year later in the great vinegar disaster.

Another victim of the hail was a fairly substantial Crassula which I'd grown from a cutting a few years earlier. It was so badly damaged that I was forced to cut it back to a stump, while a little Portulacaria which I had hoped to turn into a cascade had to be totally restyled.

I still have both those trees but due to the brittle nature of succulents I've never put much effort into styling either of them. Hopefully I will some day.

Remarkably no trees died that night, proving how resilient a healthy plant can be.

Thankfully the storm that hit us two weeks ago was minor by comparison. A few of my trees lost small branches, but for the most part the damage was restricted to shredded foliage.

Hail damage

I'm not aware of any structural damage to this little ficus, but I'm sure glad it wasn't in this sorry state for its appearance at our club show last month.

Ficus Natalensis two weeks after the hail

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