Thursday, January 26, 2006


Now that I'm on my way back to Houston this weekend to GPG, I decided I finally should get around to posting these pictures of our bonsai experiment. It would be silly to have them sitting in a draft, saved for the point of posting while I have no access to a digital camera, into a weekend where I will have access to a camera.

I don't really remember why GPG and I got interested in bonsai trees. Somehow we started talking about them over the winter break and decided to give it a go. However, it was pretty hard finding anything to start with in Houston; there really aren't too many bonsai dealers in town. We ended up buying this little Yaupon shrub from a regular gardening retailer:

A book we bought from Borders said that you can take normal plants and train them to be bonsai just by cutting them and wiring them properly. Since we don't want to drop a lot of money on the first trees we try out, since we'll probably kill them with our ineptitude, we wanted something cheap. Unfortunately, GPG started going at the shrub with the clippers before we got a proper "before" shot. Hence the branches on the table next to the shrub.

Here is an "after" photograph of the much-shorn Yaupon:

That is how it looked for a while until we finally made it out to a legitimate bonsai and orchid dealer waaay out in Sugarland, the afternoon before the marathon. We saw a lot of really beautiful plants out there and were pretty dumb for having forgotten the camera. While we were there, we got some wire to try wiring up our tree properly. Wiring it makes the branches grow in the direction you want to give the tree that nice, sculpted bonsai look. Here's the wired Yaupon:

While we were at the bonsai dealer, we also picked up two other Bonsai trees. I picked out a Bourgainvillea because I wanted something with flowers. Isn't it pretty?

Unfortunately, I only read later, in a bonsai book, that Bourgainvillea's branches get brittle after a while. I cut one of the branches on purpose, but ended up breaking off two more by accident. Oops. It looks pretty pathetic now:

I hope that some branches will grow back a little once it gets warmer and it starts growing more.

Martin picked out a needle-leaved Ficus. Here it is in all its bushy glory:

Unfortunately, by this point it was pretty late the night before the marathon, so I didn't get pictures of the Ficus after Martin trimmed and wired it. I'll try and get a picture of it later this weekend.

So far, the bonsai project has been pretty slow going, since nothing is growing on my tree. Hopefully it'll get more interesting when spring rolls around!


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