Thursday, 22 June 2017

Last Cut of the Season

After my last post about my Clip and Grow Ficus I thought I was done for the season. After six months of solid growth and minimal pruning it was time to let the new branches fatten up. But things don't always work out quite as planned.

One of my Reddit readers suggested that I wire some movement into the new branches while they were still young and flexible. As I'm gradually overcoming my aversion to wiring my trees, I decided to follow his advice.

After wiring it, I took the tree to a club meeting for feedback. One of the senior members suggested that I remove the lower branches that have been bothering me for so long. Another wanted to know what I was planning to do with the top, which was looking rather two dimensional. I decided it was time to deal with both issues.

Since that meeting I've removed those branches and trimmed the sharp bends at the two chop sites so that the movement in the trunk now looks a lot more natural. And by twisting the newly wired leader I was able to create a back branch, giving the tree a much more three dimensional appearance.

This is how it looks today:

June 2017

And now it really is time for it to have a rest.

The next move will be to repot it in spring. It's time to remove the root cutting as well as the roots growing around the rim of the pot:

Root cutting (right) and messy roots

Monday, 12 June 2017

One little Bougainvillea - three options

Over the years I haven't had a lot of success with flowering trees.

One of my early purchases was a Bougainvillea "Smarty Pants", a variety which doesn't have thorns. Soon after I bought it I took it to a workshop and came away quite happy with the styling that was done. Unfortunately, being inexperienced in transporting trees it didn't enter my mind that the tree might topple over in the car - the outcome was that one or two branches snapped off before I even had time to take a photo of my newly styled tree.

I've been battling with that tree ever since, primarily because I later discovered that I'd chosen a tree with a really bad root system. All is not lost however because I've propagated a few cuttings from it over the years.

I started this one from a thickish cutting three or four years ago.

Front - June 2017

Above is my front and below is what I've always regarded as the back:

Back - June 2017

On Saturday I took it along to a club meeting, keen to get some suggestions for its future.

I received three very different suggestions and have created a rough virtual of each option using Photoshop.

Virtual 1

This is fairly close to what I had in mind, though the back has become the front and I hadn't planned on removing the second branch on the right hand side. Although the leader is coming forward from this side I'm not too keen to have that huge scar facing forward and the right hand side looks rather bare.

Virtual 2

I'm not sure I've got the slant quite right here. This is supposed to be a semi-cascade. I'm not sure whether the tree's root system will support this style but may look into this option when I repot the tree in spring.

Virtual 3

This one is supposed to be a windswept tree. Are Bougainvilleas really suited to this style? Based on this virtual I'm not totally convinced.

Right now I've got a lot to think about but I won't be cutting anything until my little tree loses its bracts (flowers). I think a slight change of slant may be a good idea, but probably not as drastic as what's shown in virtual 2 or 3. I'm also considering a change of front to minimise the gap between the two trunks.

Here's a 360° view which may show better angles than in my unedited photos.

All suggestions are welcome.

Which option would you choose for this tree?