Bonsai tree: Burning Bush—Seasonal Styling and Potting

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Bonsai tree: Burning Bush—Seasonal Styling and Potting

When I bought this tree from Telperion Farms I was told it had been growing on the grounds of Oregon State University, probably for fifty years or so. I don’t know if that qualifies it as an ‘academic yamadori’. Maybe we need to create a new category of yamadori?

Euonymus is a popular genus for bonsai. The burning bush, Euonymus alata, is not a commonly used species, however, and I was excited to give it a whirl. This photo essay was taken in the creation of this bonsai during the Winter Seasonal of 2012, in February.

The Euonymus after growing in an Anderson Flat for a few years. This photo was taken the day of styling, in February 2012.

The stalwart Howard Griesler of Chicago working with the flex-shaft grinder to bring down the large pruning cuts. (Howard is a foodie and loves our eclectic Portland restaurants...)

The redoubtable John Denny from Iowa working on the rootball. (John is a master brewer, and typically makes sage comments about the local micros).

Both gentlemen washing the rootball of some mucky old soil. I stood far away.

The prepared rootball drying a bit before potting.

Pot prepared... for this tree we used a simple mix of 50% akadama/50% pumice. This is not a perfect pot for the tree, but at least it fits. I'm sure there is a colorful glazed pot in its future, perhaps a dark blue or green.

Right about this time Howard's glasses broke. This was our solution---toothpicks from the kitchen deftly wired into place. It is rare to find an opportunity to wire outside of bonsai! One must take them eagerly whenever they arise.

The final result. It needs a stupendous amount of development, but it's an unusual species for bonsai and I'm curious to see where it goes. Certainly it will give the Japanese maples a run for their money in the fall with its vermillion foliage.


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