The winter rains are terrible and wonderful. We have to have them. But they seem to follow right on the heels of the nice fall colors – which we don’t get much of here but we do cherish what we get – putting a big damper on the landscape. Still, we always look for something to brighten the mood.
I made this Japanese boxwood, Buxus Japonica, from a slew of cuttings I rooted a couple of years ago. It’s nothing significant, just a starter bonsai, but they all have to start somewhere. Boxwood species have a lot going for them. They’re evergreen, which means you’ll have something green through the winter besides your junipers and pines. Sometimes they get a bronzy color when it gets really cold. This particular species of boxwood is hardy to Zone 6, which means unless you’re in the northern plains states they do just fine outdoors all winter long.
Boxwoods have other great qualities. They always seem to produce great nebari, plus they’ll bloom in a bonsai pot, though the flowers are pretty inconspicuous. Wiring is easy, and they take shaping well – though once the wood gets really stiff you won’t be bending it ever again!
This photo is from mid-October. While this isn’t the time you normally think of potting up anything, boxwoods don’t mind. And they’ll even put on some new growth at this time of year.
Here’s proof. As you can see, every branch I wired, plus the apex, has new buds opening. Not only does this mean the bonsai has come through its potting experience, next year I’ll get tremendous growth and the development will be rapid.
If you’re looking for a nice starter bonsai for Christmas, you can’t go wrong with a boxwood. This one is available at our Miscellaneous Bonsai page, with more to come next year. The pot is a great piece by Chuck Iker.