Everybody knows that you avoid trying to make bonsai out of magnolias. Grandiflora, specifically, with its dinner-plate sized flowers. No, I don’t go there, so this isn’t going to be about some valiant effort to overcome the species. With that said, this Tulip poplar, Liriodendron tulipifera, which is a close cousin to Southern magnolia, was growing right where my driveway begins and there was no way it could keep on doing that. I’d seen where someone out there was trying to grow this species as bonsai, and the trunk on this one had nice movement and some taper, so I figured why not. So into a nursery pot it went, and once the shoots were out enough I did some wiring on it. Isn’t that leaf size huge? So I’ll keep playing with this specimen, and if something comes of it I’ll post an update later in the season.

This is one of the Hackberries, Celtis laevigata, that I collected in February. It’s put on enough strong growth that today I felt it was time for an initial styling. Most of the growth is in the top third of the trunk that I lifted, so that means I’ll need to grow the tree a little taller. But I’m confident I can make something of it.

Not a lot to this quick styling, but I think you can see where the tree is going. I just love the movement of the trunk, and that “owl hole” or uro to the Japanese is a great feature. The leader is going to carry probably a handful or so of branches once it gains some heft … but that’s for another time. For today, this is enough to get something going.

And finally, we have this really interesting vine. I had someone contact me who was interested in our native southern grape, the Muscadine (Vitis rotundilfolia). We have plenty of them around here, so I went out and found this specimen which I was sure was a Muscadine. I never heard back from the guy, but once I started getting some tendrils pushing I noticed the leaves did not look like Muscadine leaves. They’re palmate, rather than roundish. So I pulled out my handy guide to native vines, and it appears this specimen may be what’s called a Catbird grape, Vitis palmata. Sometimes when you collect a tree, shrub or vine, the recovery leaf shape is different from the shape once the growth gets established and reverts to normal. I don’t know if it’ll happen here, but regardless I think it’ll be fun to work with this twin-trunk Grape vine.

Let me know what you think about today’s odds & ends. I’d love if you leave a comment below.