My venerable old Crape myrtle bonsai was challenged this year. After I repotted it in spring, it started to bud out just in time for a good freeze. I mistakenly thought that, since Crapes are quite winter-hardy, the new buds would be likewise. Well, they froze and so the tree had to marshal its resources and produce a second first round of spring growth. I did very little to it this year, just letting it recover. Our heat finally broke a couple of weeks ago. Then following a cool night, I suddenly had a nice show of color. Nice end to a less than ideal growing season for this tree. Next year I’m sure we’ll be back on track.
The fun continued this week when got a hard freeze, down to about 22F. That’s very unusual for November – in fact, I can’t recall a similar event over the past three decades or more. We typically get our coldest weather in the early part of the year. I did my bonsai prep for it, putting on the ground many trees I knew would not stand up to the cold and a number of others I wanted to be sure and protect, given the circumstances. This Cedar elm was not one of them. Cedar elms, like Chinese elms, are very hardy and won’t blink when temps get down close to 20. So I left this one on the bench. I got rewarded with a few lingering leaves turning yellow-orangey.

My big Riverflat hawthorn had mostly green foliage last weekend, with just a hint of yellow on a few leaves. Though they are very hardy and this one was on the ground, the foliage most definitely did not like 22 degrees. So I got what I guess you’d call pseudo fall color, a bronze set of leaves. It’s actually pretty attractive, though I’d have preferred it if the weather had been more cooperative.

We’re now into the latter stages of fall, which means winter will be here soon. That also means collecting season, which I’m really looking forward to. I expect to have a lot of great new material come 2020. If there’s something you’re looking for, feel free to email me and I’ll be glad to put your name on my wish list.