Sunday, 4 April 2021

Signs of Life

It's been almost a year since I published my last blog post. The pandemic has been bad for my motivation and my blog hasn't been the only thing I've been neglecting. My trees have suffered too. For 5 months, while shut up at home, I did little more than what was required to keep them alive. Then, as lockdown regulations were eased, I started going to those workshops that were available.

Sometime over the last few months I came to the realisation that, more than growing bonsai, I've been hoarding trees. To a large extent that was true even before the pandemic. Yes, I'd been trying to reduce the size of my collection, but I hadn't been trying hard enough. Now I'm trying a bit harder. But that's not so easy when new waves lead to meetings being cancelled. Figures are low right now, so we're able to meet but as winter approaches, there's the risk of a third wave with more meetings likely to be cancelled.

With that in mind priority number one is to reduce a lot of the trees I'm keeping to a more manageable size so that it's not so difficult to keep the sensitive ones protected during the cold nights ahead. And every branch I remove brings temptation, so priority number two is not to propagate any more trees for the foreseeable future.

I thought I'd killed my attempt at creating a literati  tree from a small Elm root cutting. I've been trying to train that tree for several years without really knowing where it was headed. It's spent its whole life in my greenhouse and that was the source of my near disaster.

During a recent cold and rainy spell I didn't water any of my trees for a few days. That wasn't a problem for most of them, but the fact that this tree was under cover in a small pond basket  means that lack of water soon became a problem. By the time I noticed that all the leaves were crisp and dry.

I watered it well and moved it to a shady place outside. After that all I could do was hope for the best. When nothing happened I tried scratching the bark and couldn't see any signs of green. I was sure my tree was dead but was reluctant to throw it away.

Then a few days ago I saw signs of life. 

Yesterday I removed all the dead branches, most of which were never intended to be part of the final design anyway.

I'm not putting it back in the greenhouse. All my other elms live outside.

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