Callicarpa Japonica Summer Pruning

This tree has to be pruned regularly throughout the summer to maintain its shape. The leaves on the secondary branches are formed in pairs and each pair of leaves produces a new extension shoot at their union. To keep the tree in shape I prune all extension shoots back to the first pair of leaves. Flowering shoots are also produced at the point where the leaves connect with the secondary branches. I re-potted the tree in the spring but unfortunately it fell off the bench and the original pot was smashed. I’ve re-housed it in this green glazed drum pot as a temporary measure until I can have a more suitable pot made.

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This is how it looked before work commenced this morning

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And this is how it looks at the moment

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For over a year now, I have been feeding this tree with tomato fertiliser to try and encourage more flowering and fruiting shoots. It seems to be working. Slowly but surely, as each year passes it is producing more flowers and berries.

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Cotoneaster Landscape Summer Maintenance

I did a little seasonal pruning and weeding on my homemade cotoneaster landscape yesterday. Its  been a year since I completed the planting and Its beginning to fill out nicely. It will probably take another 2 seasons growth to get the ramification where I would like it to be.

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This is how it looked before todays work

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And  this is how it looks at the moment

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Lonicera Nitida in Development

It’s the middle of Summer and the trees are growing vigorously so I thought I would take a break from the endless routine of pruning to review the progress of a piece of raw material that was removed from my garden 3 years ago. It’s a Lonicera Nitida, a shrub that is used extensively in the UK as a hedging plant and more commonly in recent years, as a substitute for box hedging, which has fallen victim to the dreaded box blight.

This is how it looks at the moment It was re-potted into the pot you can see in the following photographs in the Spring with a change in the planting angle. This will facilitate its’ continued development as a semi cascade bonsai. The ramification has a considerable way to go but already after only 3 years you can now see the future potential in this little tree.

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Here are some earlier images which show its progress over the last 3 years.

May 2015

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The beginning back in May 2014

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Satsuki Azalea in Flower

My satsuki azalea, which I plan to train in the exposed root style has come into flower and is looking great at the moment. I put it into this deep blue pot just over a year ago to allow the roots to develop downward. When the pot has filled with roots (hopefully next year) I will take it out of the pot and begin the process of exposing the roots.

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This is how it looked in 2015

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My 2 from 1 Cotoneasters

I did some work on 2 of my shohin cotoneasters today. Regular readers will remember that both these trees are being developed from the single piece of material shown in the next picture, which was collected from my garden in 2011.

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The first tree, which was created from the left half of the raw material in the picture above has grown strong in the intervening years but I’ve never been entirely happy with it.

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It has too many branches, reverse taper in the trunk and a poor transition through to the apex. Today I have decided to change that.. In the next picture, I have removed the lower left branch, thinned the others and done a little carving to remove some of the problem areas and improve the movement through to the apex.

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In the next picture the primary branches have been wired and bent into postion and the tree is tilted to the new planting angle.

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This how it looks at the moment after working the roots and repositioning it in its pot.

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The trunk line is visible now and the movement through to the apex is improved. The reverse taper is still visible but better than it was.. The problem I have with this tree is that both sides of the trunk have significant areas of deadwood and I have to exercise extreme care not to severe the live veins. I will return to this at a later time when the tree has had time to recover.

The second tree is being developed from the right hand side of the raw material in the first picture. This is how it looked in 2014. It had taken 3 years to get it to this stage as it didn’t have many roots at the start.

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By 2015 it was looking much stronger.

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This is how it looks today after a trim and a re-wire

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Some thoughts on getting Hawthorns to flower

I collected this hawthorn from farmland about 17 years ago. Its been in a pot all of that time but never produced any flowers. In recent years, its been subjected to a lot of work, a number of re-pots and several transformations to get it down to the size it is now.

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About 6 years ago, before it was chopped back to its current height, I took a hardwood cutting from this tree and placed it in a pot to root. It rooted quickly and was placed in the pot you see in the next picture about 5 years ago. I have done very little to it since. It is pot bound and has never been re-potted. It is rarely fertilised and gets no winter protection in my greenhouse. The following picture was taken this week and shows the result of this neglect.

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If there is a lesson I can learn from this that will encourage my other shohin hawthorns to flower, it is this. I will delay any future re-potting to ensure the roots are truly filling the pot to their maximum extent. I will reduce fertilising to the minimum necessary to maintain the health of the tree and I will only provide winter protection if freezing conditions become unusually prolonged and there is a danger of loosing the tree.