Wednesday, 22 November 2017

Lonicera's First Styling

As I'm trying to reduce the number of trees in my collection, I shouldn't really be buying more, but sometimes I find the temptation impossible to resist. It doesn't help that one of my favourite places to have lunch is a little restaurant inside a nearby nursery. And when I'm there I always wander around to see if they have any suitable bonsai material.

I had lunch there last Saturday and I came away with this Lonicera Nitida - a small shrub with tiny leaves.

As purchased - November 2017

My only previous experience with this species was over a decade ago, a while before I joined my club. I don't remember too much about that tree except that it died unexpectedly shortly after what I believe was the second time I pruned it. It had been doing really well until then and I'm not sure what went wrong, a fact which makes me nervous about trying the species again. But at a little over $3, this one was hard to resist.

The fact that the tree was so small meant that all the branches were clumped really close together, making branch selection quite difficult. I decided to keep all the low branches, removing only the secondary branches that were growing straight up. I then had to make a decision about the thin straight trunk growing close to one branch. I didn't feel I could keep both so I had to chose one as the main trunk line.

Two possible trunk lines

As the branch was thicker and already had a secondary branch coming off it, I decided my best option was to see whether I could successfully wire it upwards. Once I'd established that it was flexible enough to reposition where I wanted it, I removed the straight trunk.

November 2017 - after first styling

At this stage I started to wonder whether I should have kept one of the secondary branches I'd removed from the new leader, but what's done is done. Seeing how many little branches the tree has everywhere, I'm optimistic that some of them will soon thicken enough to give me the structure I need. Once I see what useful options present themselves, I'll cut the top back to make an even smaller tree.

For now, however, I'll probably just leave it to grow. I also want to read up on Lonicera care to ensure that I'm able to keep this one alive.

Updated photos of this tree can be found here.