Update On The Bonsai In Hypertufa

Experiments in the garden are a regular occurence at the Fairegarden. An idea will spark a project, the efforts of which are sometimes recorded for posterity in a blog post. Time moves forward as new postings push those projects down to the bottom of the list, some are forgotten in the striving of ever onward.

The end of the year seems an appropriate time to update some of these attempts, whether they be dismal failures or brilliant successes. As time passes, there is appraisal and assessment of the merits of the various ideas. Tweaking occurs by the human and Nature. Please join me as we revisit one of these projects.

One posting at the end of 2009 was about the planting of bonsai in hypertufa, click here to read the original story about it. The container containing the little trees remains and is doing well, but some things are different about it. For all gardeners know the mantra *The only thing constant is change*. (That applies to everything, not just gardening.)

The choice of the dwarf Chinese elm has proved to be a good one, especially since the little trees used were free, dug from suckers that continually sprout around the larger mother tree, Ulmus x hollandica ‘Jacqueline Hillier’ formerly Ulmus x elegantissima ‘Jacqueline Hillier,’. But the centerpiece elm, the one wired to the rock in the middle of the container died the first year. It is believed that the cutting of the main root to fit it into the pot was a death knell.

A replacement was found in the row of small shrubs along the path in front of the house, an Azalea ‘Gumpo (either white or pink, won’t know until it blooms)’ that had been stepped upon one too many times. It had a good root system but only a couple of living branches. It was dug up, root pruned and planted next to the large rock in the middle of the round trough. There was little hope of survival, but after a couple of years to adjust, it seems to be doing well and even has flower buds.

A small bisque piece of three ancient Chinese gentlemen, who look very wise and appear to be having tea during a rousing philosophical discussion, is being tested as to winter hardiness. The first figurine placed in this pot, a single glazed man, disentegrated after a couple of seasons. I have thought about bringing these guys in to winter over in the greenhouse/sunroom, but really want something that can be left outside. We shall see how this plays out.

It seemed a little blah, the miniature garden scene, so some bits of the tiny red leaf Heuchera ‘Petite Marbles’, that has done very well for several years in the rectangular hypertufa pot just to the left of the round one, were stuck around the edges to join the party. So far, so good on that front.

The surviving elms were pruned this summer, as was the azalea, to better approximate a woodland look. It is felt that the cuts could spell disaster if done improperly, but that is a risk we are willing to take. The mosses are filling in nicely. The copper wire that originally held the larger elm in place has been coiled up for future use. It needs to be fashioned into a more artsy looking sculpture. Since this container is right outside the addition where there is daily perusal, with binoculars if the weather prevents us from going out back, it will be watched and analyzed carefully. That is the purpose of experiments, to learn something new, right? Onward.


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10 Responses to Update On The Bonsai In Hypertufa

  1. Lisa at Greenbow says:

    This is one fine experiment. I have always wanted to try bonsai. I haven’t taken the plunge as yet. I like the chinese figures in the pot too. They look so convivial.

    Thanks Lisa. It has been win some lose some with the bonsai attempts, but a few little trees have survived in the various pots, which gives us hope. The figures really do bring great elegance to the setting.

  2. catmint says:

    never used to like bonsai, but gradually changing (like everything else as you say) and love the picture you have created in the pot, it’s like a magic miniature world. Thanks for the idea and inspiration …

    Thanks Catmint. It took a little more maturity on my part to see the beauty of bonsai, and so many many other things. Thank goodness we can evolve like that! None of mine are the true, real deal, just little trees growing in pots, but they are cute and fun to play with.

  3. Carol says:

    Without experiments, what would we discover? I love your hypertufa plantings.

    So true, thanks, Carol! Life is one big experiment, really.

  4. Layanee says:

    Love it and those figurines! Clever girl.

    Thanks Layanee. The figurine really makes it.

  5. I have tried Bonsai’s several times but they never have done well for me. Maybe I just need to keep trying! Yours looks great!

    Thanks Alicia. If at first you don’t succeed…..

  6. Cindy, MCOK says:

    Looking good, Frances! Thanks for sharing what you’ve learned with us.

    Thanks Cindy. Life is for learning, isn’t it? Let’s hope it never stops. The learning!

  7. Frances, you have a good eye

    Thanks Kathy.

  8. Gail says:

    Frances, Inspiring and beautiful. The figurines are fun and your hypertufa containers are fantastic! I love them all and you can’t make me choose a favorite:) Although, the one with the bloodgrass is at the top of the list! xoxogail

    Thanks Gail. No need to pick a favorite, the hypertufas all have their strengths and weaknesses. The bloodgrass complements wherever it is planted.

  9. Rose says:

    I love this, Frances! The scene looks so much like a Japanese or Chinese garden that if I could only be miniaturized myself, I’d love to stroll around it and sit awhile with the wise philosophers.

    Thanks Rose. That is my goal, like a little miniaturized garden. We shall see how it progresses through the years.

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