Where’s Effy?

My big project today - my new dwarf Burning Bush

My big project today – my new dwarf Burning Bush.

The past few days have been a strange combination of work, sickness, and bonsai.  I have actually not been on WoW since Wednesday.  So imagine those who know how much time I usually spend online have been curious.  I have been recovering and doing some spring maintenance.  😛

Wednesday night, about halfway through raid I started to feel pretty crappy, but I toughed it out.  Then, I went straight to bed.  Thursday morning, thankfully I did not have to work, because I was sick all day.  I could not keep anything down, even by dinner time.  So I “called in sick” to raid, and went back to bed.

I have to wonder if it was a 24-hour bug, because I was feeling better enough by Friday and made it to work fine.  But it was a long, tiring day, and I came home with little energy or appetite, so I ate a little and read for the evening.

This morning, I finally felt up to accomplishing what I had originally intended for Thursday – repotting some plants.  My “bonsai.”

A Japanese Maple. from bonsaiplantcenter.com

A Japanese Maple bonsai… Yah, mine do not look like this – from bonsaiplantcenter.com

I use the term “bonsai” loosely, because I do not believe for a second that any of my trees could qualify adequately as bonsai.  They are all young, and even those I have had for several years have gone through a period of near-neglect for quite a while.  It amazed me that some of them have lived this long, because I have often forgot to even water them over the last year or so.

But I think I am finally getting to a place where focusing on them will help me to focus on me.

Since I did not get a pic of mine before I started, here is one looking very similar - from panoramicfarm.com

Since I did not get a pic of mine before I started, here is a dwarf Burning Bush looking very similar to what I started with – from panoramicfarm.com

Tuesday, while I was out and about with my mom, I bought a dwarf Burning Bush.  You can see the end result of my efforts today in the first picture.  There was a great deal of swearing when I finished trimming him and realized I had not taken any “before” pictures.  I took a few while I was trimming his roots, though…

Mr. Very Very Pot-Bound Burning Bush

Mr. Very Very Pot-Bound Burning Bush

Here's him with the roots all trimmed, and ready to repot.

Here is him with the roots all trimmed, and ready to repot.

Once I realized how pot-bound he was (meaning he had some much roots in his pot he really had nowhere else to grow), I got bold – as I did with trimming his top – and hacked the bottom 2/3 off his roots… flat, so he would fit easily into his new bonsai pot.  And boy, did he go in easily.  🙂

I was pleased to learn I still have a good deal of the soil I had mixed the last time I did a round of repotting.  It is a home-grown mix of Carquest-brand floor dry (clean, never used, and well-rinsed to get rid of some of the dust), fine red lava rock, and pine bark mulch.  I have it all in a big pink tote with a lid, and I had enough to do all my repotting today, and likely plenty enough to last me through at least one more similar round of potting.

Here is what the soil is mixed looks like dry.

Here is what the soil is mixed looks like dry. The first picture is with the soil wet.

I also repotted a very sad-looking Christmas Cactus we have, who has been in need of a repot for a while.  I am not 100% if repotting will help, or if I was too late for her.  We will see.  I will spare her pictures in her sad time.  Maybe I will put some here if she perks up.

Fukien Tea Tree Flowers - from Wikimedia

Fukien Tea Tree Flowers – from Wikimedia

Next, I repotted my Fukien Tea Tree.  She and I have been through a lot.  She was my very first bonsai, and started her life as a “mall-sai” which is a common term in the bonsai world for a tree that is mass-produced, stuck into a tiny pot, generally mistreated, and sold to unknowing people who are interested in the idea of bonsai, but know little.  Hence, the most appropriate first tree for me!  heh  How did she survived?  I have no idea.  When I first started reading on bonsai, and when I later joined a local bonsai society, I learned that she was not healthy where she was, for she was in a soupy muck of muddy soil that had no aeration, because her pot was covered with glued-on pebbles.

So she has already been repotted once.  But this was four or so years ago.

She has struggled.  Sometimes she is vigorous, and sometimes she is lackluster.  Through it all, though, she produces her pretty little white flowers.  Right now, I have all those little white flowers pinched off, so that she can focus on regrowing her branches and leaves, because I trimmed her way back.

Someday, maybe she will grow big and awesome and look like this - from bonsaimary.com

Someday, maybe she will grow big and awesome and look like this – from bonsaimary.com

Lastly, I repotted my Norfolk Pine.  It is technically not a bonsai, nor will it ever be, because Norfolk Pines are near-impossible to “train.”  But they are very pretty, especially for someone like me, born and grown in the north and with a deep love for evergreens.  I was not sure if he was all one tree, or if he was several.  It turns out, he is several trees, so I was able to separate them out into a “forest” setup.  It took some wiring and a lot of finagling and a lot of patience, but I got them all in the pot, with the help of two extra hands from Mom.  🙂

Then, after some watering and cleaning up of my huge mess, I put everyone back up on my bed’s headboard…

Left to right: Umbrella Tree, Norfolk Pines, Fukien Tea Tree

Left to right: Umbrella Tree (not repotted today), Norfolk Pines, Fukien Tea Tree. There are two plant lights on the headboard also, to either side.

The only tree I did not get around to today was my baby Birch.  He is doing well, but could stand a repotting I am sure, since he has been in the same soil for about three years now.  But I think at this point, I should wait until next spring, before he gets his leaves.

My baby Birch :)

My baby Birch 🙂 (Do not mind all the twigs and garden waste piled up behind him…)

He was only a year-old sapling when I got him, so he has a long way to go.  I love Birch because of their white bark, but this lil guy will probably not see any white bark for another five years at least.

The other tree that is strongly on my mind is my soon-to-be-acquired Purple Beech.  I have not received a call about his delivery yet, but be sure I will find the time to snap some pictures when he does.  😀  But here are some pics of about what he should look like…

Purple Beech Leaves - from ewsprojects.com

Purple Beech Leaves – from ewsprojects.com

Weeping Purple Beech, but mine should only be about 3 feet tall - from ewsprojects.com

Weeping Purple Beech, but mine should only be about 3 feet tall – from ewsprojects.com

I was told if I do not regularly “train” the Beech to grow straight up, he will stay about the same height and just keep weeping, which is exactly what I am hoping for.  🙂  Three feet tall will make for a HUGE bonsai, but I imagine he will be quite beautiful.  And I have seen bigger bonsai (though, not in person)…

The World's Biggest Bonsai Tree - from the 15 Best Bonsai Trees (http://lawrencerspencer.com/2011/05/23/15-best-bonsai-trees/)

The World’s Biggest Bonsai Tree – from the 15 Best Bonsai Trees (http://lawrencerspencer.com/2011/05/23/15-best-bonsai-trees/)

Sorry for the strangely offtrack post.  But I thought it best to keep everyone up to date on me, even if I am being swayed from the interwebz by nice weather and growing things.  🙂

~ Effy

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4 thoughts on “Where’s Effy?

    • Thank you! Yes, I do love trees. Even when I fell away from my bonsai for a while, I still have always found myself fascinated by their forms. On the road or on walks, I often visually gravitate to the trees with the most character. I love trees with interesting bark and interesting leaves, and autumn is without a doubt my favorite season. Though it is the trees slowing down and going dormant, it is like a last ditch effort to show off their true beauty before they sleep.

      ~ Effy

  1. You’ve got some awesome plants! I enjoy growing vegetables but have never really tried any trees/bonsai – I feel quite inspired now, though, as yours look awesome!

    • Ohh! Happy to inspire! Honestly, if you want to just play around with it, a Burning Bush is a great start. They are nigh indestructible! (Ask my brothers, who hacked apart the one we had when I was a kid… It survived and came back!)

      ~ Effy

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