Tuesday, 22 January 2019

Starting a Pyracantha Bonsai From Nursery Stock

A few days ago I found this Pyracantha at the nursery section of a nearby hardware store.

Pyracantha as purchased - January 2019

I shouldn't really be buying more trees, but my only Pyracantha died about a year ago, so I couldn't resist the temptation to replace it.

I was pretty sure I knew what I needed to do with this one, but I took it to a workshop on Saturday in the vain hope that I'd be told my plans were too drastic.

No such luck. It was never going to work as a twin trunk because one trunk had lots of movement while the other was dead straight.

Close-up showing two unmatched trunks

The straight one had to go. Two cuts and I was done.

January 2019 - after pruning

I was really sad to see all the berries go into the trash can, but sometimes the art of bonsai requires sacrifices.

Now I'll let the tree grow for a while before deciding on the next step. Perhaps in time I'll cut it even shorter.

Photo updates will appear on this page.

Monday, 7 January 2019

My First Carving Attempt

When I bought my crab apple a few years ago it was about seven foot tall with no low branches, so it's taken a bit of effort to get it to where it is now.

January 2019 - before pruning

A lot of the tree had to be discarded at the time because repotting was a matter of urgency when I bought it, but there was enough left to allow me to do an air layer before I started developing this, the parent tree.

I'm ashamed to admit that since the air layer was removed, however, I've largely ignored both trees. That created a problem with this one because the top branch on the left was thicker than the lower branches and apex. I had to change something.

Two options presented themselves :

  1. change the planting angle and turn the thick branch into the new leader
  2. remove that branch
I opted for the latter.

January 2019 - after pruning

After the branch was removed I was left with an ugly bulge where it had been.

In the past I'd have asked for help with that bulge, but I recently bought a Dremel carving tool, so I decided this was the perfect opportunity to try it out.

Janurary 2019 -  after carving

Not a perfect job by any means, but for a first attempt, I'm reasonably happy. When I've got a bit more carving experience, I can still come back and improve on it.

For now I want the two side branches to thicken a little more before I shorten them, and the new leader and back branch need a lot of fattening up.