Friday, 30 March 2018

The Six Month Challenge

Although I'm disadvantaged by living in the Southern hemisphere, I'm hoping to enter the Reddit bonsai group's nursery stock contest this year. The challenge - transform an untrained nursery tree/shrub into a bonsai by 22 September.

I've started my search for suitable material but I fear I've been overambitious with my first purchase, so the hunt continues. But I won't be writing about my chosen tree (if I find the right one) until after the contest is over. That wouldn't be fair.

Instead I've challenged myself to see what I can do with my own untrained trees over the next six months. For the purposes of this challenge I'll limit myself to trees I've propagated - cuttings, air layers and "weedlings" (trees that I've rescued after they took root uninvited in the pots inhabited by my established trees). Sadly I'm forced to rule out my Trident Maple weedlings and other deciduous material as they will soon be going to sleep for the winter. If this challenge proves successful I might try using some of them for a summer challenge.

Entry to the Reddit contest only closes on 21 June, allowing entrants time to experiment with any number of trees before committing to the one they feel is most promising. I may choose to follow the same path with my challenge or, if things go well, I may continue with more than one. Time will tell.

I just hope that at least one tree will perform adequately given the constraints I've imposed upon myself. It would be embarrassing if this experiment proves to be a total failure.

For now I need to get out among my trees and search for some suitable material. I'll be introducing the candidates soon.

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