I potted this small Cedar elm earlier this season. It’s been growing away, minding its own business. Recently we had a couple of storms and somehow this tree got picked to be blown off the bench. It stayed in the pot and no branches were broken, but the second time the tree got a bit disturbed in the pot. I secured it and set it back on the bench, though not facing the same way as before. I’ve been looking at it ever since, and finally thought there might be a better front.
July 4th is also a good time to defoliate Bald cypress. I don’t typically defoliate BC in year one, and that’s the case with this one. However, it’s also time to do some summer styling work. I’m making a flat-top out of this specimen. I created the branching and leaders earlier in the season, then waited for more growth. I got just what I expected.
The first step today was to reposition the leaders. What you’ll find if you create a flat-top cypress is, the leaders do not want to lie flat! So you have to fight this fight until you win. It usually takes two or three rounds of wiring. Here I was able to pull the leaders down.
And the final step for today was to wire a couple of secondary shoots and position them. This is very important to do at this time. It’ll pay off before the end of the growing season.
I seldom work with azaleas. Their horticultural requirements are a good bit more difficult for me to navigate, especially considering the large number of deciduous specimens I have on my benches. The Satsuki azalea “Chinzan” is different. In fact, I have found casually that this variety will take a tremendous amount of neglect. I’ve had the “mother plant” to this one for almost a decade now, and it grows each season and blooms its head off whether I pay any attention to it or not (it does get watered, of course). A few years ago I separated this smaller specimen from the mother plant, and proceeded to set it on the bench and neglect it. Chinzan didn’t care. So today I figured it was time to see if anything could be done with it.
And here’s what I made out of it. One of the things I love most about bonsai is that you truly can make nice specimens from less than stellar material. In fact, this is what we artists bring to the whole endeavor. That plant two photos above was most definitely nothing to write home about. This small bonsai is no masterpiece, but I think it makes a credible bonsai. What do you think?