I was walking through the benches this evening and this Crape myrtle caught my eye. I started it from a cutting several years ago, and haven’t done more than maybe rough-prune it once. Today it called out “make something out of me” as I passed by. So I took it to the work bench, figuring it would make a fun 10-minute project.

(I apologize for the low-light photo. Late in the evening, sun going down, you know.)

When you have a piece of material like this, you have to always think about proportions. This Crape is a small shrub in a nursery pot. Making a bonsai-to-be out of it requires adjusting its proportions. This is one of the challenges I see beginners face all the time.

A few minutes of pruning changes everything! With the height of this specimen dramatically reduced, we now have a workable trunk thickness to height and spread ratio. It actually looks like a much larger specimen. So when it gets to its bonsai pot, it’ll possess the necessary “treeness.”

This is what I had in mind when I first noticed this Crape on the bench this evening. It’s not a huge specimen, but it looks like a full-grown Crape myrtle. A little more shearing is needed, but that’s easy-peasy.

What style of bonsai is this? It’s the well-known “I’m not sure but I like it anyway” style. But seriously, my plan is to guide it toward the so-called “pierneef” style, the iconic African savannah tree form. By shearing each of the trunks properly, I should be able to get to this result in a year.

Now about the pot. It’s a Lary Howard piece I ordered last year, but unfortunately it was broken in transit by the ever-enthusiastic shipping service. I really loved the pot, so I kept the pieces just so I could learn Kintsugi. This is my first effort. If you look closely, you can see the gold leaf I used along the mended cracks on either side of the front of the pot. Not a bad result at all.