Initial shaping of unusual nursery stock

10th September 2017 - 3 minutes read

On a recent trip to a nursery I was very taken by this unusual little shrub. Leptospermum or Tasmanian Tea Tree, it looks like it might have some potential for use as a bonsai and as I am always willing to use a bit of trial and error in my bonsai I took a couple of them home. One thing the nurseryman was able to tell me was that it is covered in small white flowers in early summer. In many ways it is reminiscent of a cotoneaster.

They have long woody shoots which twist and give some charater to work with very tiny leaves and an obvious tendency to back bud and throw new shoots giving me great confidence that they will take well to the hard pruning that they will have to go through and will eventually ramify really well.

This is what they looked like to start with:

The most important thing was to dig down through the top soil in the pot to find where the nebari starts, then you have the front of the tree and can then prune the branches accordingly.

Of the two I will work with I am going to try different styles with each. The first will be a simple shohin as an informal upright. This took a very heavy prune and has a very relaxed feel about it already, the branching and ramification will develop and the crown will be reduced in size even more – I envisage the final size fo the foliage being half of what you see here. The pruning has been stopped at this point as the tree does need a bit of foliage to grow strongly.

The second tree had a lovely suprise waiting under the soil where there was a strong curve that lends itself really well to a full cascade. I have added some wire to get the foliage pads in roughly the right places but will wait for a few months before putting the twigs into defined pads. It is pretty clear that this has considerable promise at this stage.

Both trees now need to develop and settell down before I will undertake the final styling, by which time they will ahve been repotted into slightly more atttractive pots that the plastic plant pots!