Shine Bright Like A Diamond

In an attempt to get into a routine of posting on the blog again I thought I’d share this Rhododendron Blue Diamond here.

This years peak bloom.

You’ll notice the one branch at the front without flowers. It’s a weak branch which gets weaker every year. There is a very thin live vein on it and I had removed the flowers from it for the last few years to try and strengthen it with no joy. Enough was enough. It had its chance so time to remove and redesign.

And then past peak with dead flowers showing.

The ideal time to remove the flowers and more importantly the little seed pods at their centre.

I’m sure we missed some late openers.
After deflowering before pruning.
Structural pruning
After pruning and set for the post flowering flush. You’d hardly notice the front branch at the main apex gone. A few bits wired to fill the gap.

Below is how the tree came to me in 2002.

Signs of Spring

Some signs that Spring is reaching my trees.

Trident Maple


Japanese Larch








I Love this time of year

I really do love this time of year. Watching trees waking up and starting to push their new leaves.

Japanese Maple

Trident Maple

Japanese Larch

Starting to Move

I checked most of my trees last Sunday and didn’t see many signs of Spring. Then, 4 days later, I checked again. This was what I found on Thursday!

These are fast swelling flower buds on a Fuji Cherry.

These are Trident Maple buds, 3 different trees.

I even saw a cloud of midges outside our lounge window! February? What’s going on!!

New Lens

One of my purchases in America was a new lens for my camera, Sigma 70-300mm. I haven’t had a lot of time to play with it but took it out into the garden yesterday for 10 minutes to see what the macro function was like on it. I took a few random shots of foliage and anything else that would sit long enough. Here’s the results.

Signs of life

The Cotoneaster that was collected a few weeks back is showing signs of life.

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Small red buds can be seen in many places so fingers crossed.

Alas, the big Ceanothus that I lifted has now been checked and I can pronounce life extinct 😦 It was a long shot and had suffered during the cold snap this Winter. It did try to bud but these soon died. Ah well, nothing ventured, nothing gained!

Camera Addict

I know this is meant to be a Bonsai diary but I just can’t help playing around with my camera.(Nikon D5000). Here are a few tree and plant shots taken over the last few days.

What a difference a day makes

Yesterday my Beech had about 4 green leaves showing. This was it today!!

Guess today’s heat worked its magic.

Beech Buds

I’ve been watching and waiting patiently for my Beech to finally get around to opening. Today’s glorious weather must have helped. It is now showing the first signs of  green leaves.

Budding Raulii

This will be my first Spring working with this species. This tree was given to me last year as a thank you for holiday care.

It is similar to a Hornbeam but you can see noticeable differences on closer inspection. Yesterday I had a look at the opening buds with a view to pinching out the tip growth. They can extend quite a bit and I want to stop this and produce back budding. I did shorten many of the branches during the Winter but stopped short for two reasons. 1- It was repotted and 2- it’s a new variety to me and I’m unsure how it’ll respond. I can now see some major back budding due to the Winter pruning and will re-evaluate how far to take it back. Some branches are too long without ramification.  I took 15 minutes and plucked out what shoots I could get. Some are further behind and the process will need to be repeated next week.

I look forward to making this tree my own. The large carving wound needs work and want to improve branch structure.

This is a bud before pinching out the centre. A few have what look like flowers appearing. I’ll have to wait and see.

Evidence of pinching on the bench.

This is some of the back budding close to the tips. However major pruning is producing adventurous buds on old wood so this might be removed altogether to help fill inner branches with buds.