Honeysuckle: Not a Progression, but a Regression.

grouper52

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#1
I thought I had a "progression" thread on this bad boy here at BNut, but a search didn't show anything - must have been another site - so I thought I'd post one for the amusement of all. Enjoy

Back in 2007, an old Korean woman near here was still trying the keep her deceased husband's bonsai business going. Years ago a number of bonsai candidates were put in the ground with the best of intentions, and over the years I would stop buy and pick one up.

By the winter of that year this honeysuckle had grown to a hugely obnoxious presence, crowding out much that was trying to live in her garden. When I balked at buying it, she begged me to just dig up and get out of there for free. I still wasn't keen to take on the challenge, but challenges are challenges, and I'm always hard-pressed to pass one by.

Finally, brutally, exhaustingly taken out of the ground, I got it home, put it in a container, crudely trimmed it, and took a few photos. Here are two. View attachment 64888 View attachment 64889 View attachment 64888 View attachment 64889
 

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grouper52

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Then Spring '09 - looking good . . .

Spring '10, put it into a really nice Erin pot - looking good, but not quite as good . . . .

Oops, something's come up - I'll finish the progresion a bit later. :)
 

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grouper52

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look like you can't make anything of it-i'll dispose of it for you:cool:
Ah, but wait - I was hauled away to an all-day yearly Lord of the Rings ritual marathon viewing, but now one son ran out after The Fellowship for the Ring and before The Two Towers to get Papa John's pizza for the crowd - so now, "the rest of the story . . .. "

In the interim years between the last photo and the one I'm about to show, I think you'll see at least one reason why no one messes with these as bonsai (besides the ugly "paired leaves").

A photo two days ago shows all that is left. Each year it would choose maybe a dozen or less branches (and growing less each year) to send out a two foot new whip, while everything else just sat there. I would trim them back, but they would do nothing more, and next year a few more whips would appear, with the old whips maybe putting out a few leaves if I was lucky. Almost no ramification at all, and less and less foliage each year except along the whips . . .. bummer, man. Not much future there. It I do keep it, the top deadwood needs better definition, but I'll wait on that until I see what the tree does to stay alive. :rolleyes:

So here it is. I may simply throw it back in the ground for a few years and let it get its vigor back. If that fails, you can have it.
 

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#6
That is a bummer. The trunk looks really cool. The leaves and trunk remind me of a couple pontentilla that I picked up last summer. Hopefully they respond better than the honeysuckle. Are you fertilizing heavily?
 

JoeR

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Seems they just arent very suitable for bonsai. Are they not just vines? I have a few honey suckle in the yard but they're just pencil sized vines. But hey, look on the bright side, it could be used to make a very nice tanuki if it dies and is cured/dried. It is one beautiful trunk.
 

grouper52

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Seems they just arent very suitable for bonsai. Are they not just vines? I have a few honey suckle in the yard but they're just pencil sized vines. But hey, look on the bright side, it could be used to make a very nice tanuki if it dies and is cured/dried. It is one beautiful trunk.
Honey suckle comes in varieties of both bush and vine.

Well, I think it will go back in the ground in a fertile area of soil, and I'll give it lots of additional nitrogen as well. I agree that I'm very happy how the base and trunk turned out. The deadwood carving was a lot of fun.
 

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Honey suckle comes in varieties of both bush and vine.

Well, I think it will go back in the ground in a fertile area of soil, and I'll give it lots of additional nitrogen as well. I agree that I'm very happy how the base and trunk turned out. The deadwood carving was a lot of fun.
Thanks for the clarification. All I knew was that they were thin vines with tasty yellow flowers! I always did wonder if I could have turned one of the vines into bonsai like they do grapes but no matter how tall the vines are they never reach a very thick size, maybe enough for a forest planting or something. Probably not worth trying. Also considered entwining a few to make a convincing trunk.
 
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grouper52

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#10
Front and back views as the winter ends here. Some improvement in terms of foliage, and a bit of jin refining. Just small stuff (and a real quicky photo - sorry), but it makes me a bit more optimistic than I was when I last posted this. Enjoy.
 

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#11
I've heard honeysuckles are "heartbreak hotel." I have a thick trucked monster, I've heard so many bad stories I think I'm putting it back in the ground!
 

grouper52

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I've heard honeysuckles are "heartbreak hotel." I have a thick trucked monster, I've heard so many bad stories I think I'm putting it back in the ground!
The thought of throwing this recalcitrant thing back into the ground from whence it came actually has occurred to me on a number of occasions. But then that thought quickly leaves when I realize that this little ne'er-do-well may one day make a great gift for some bonsai acquaintance that's annoyed the heck out of me - not that there are such people, you understand.
 
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#14
Grouper, I realize this is going back a minute or two, but do you recall what sort of rootball you needed to dig?
I have my eye on a biggie, but one side is up against a bit of an obstacle, and am uncertain what would happen if I simply sheared the roots off only about 6" from the trunk on one side.
 

grouper52

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Grouper, I realize this is going back a minute or two, but do you recall what sort of rootball you needed to dig?
I have my eye on a biggie, but one side is up against a bit of an obstacle, and am uncertain what would happen if I simply sheared the roots off only about 6" from the trunk on one side.
In my limited experience, nothing deters these things - I'd say go for it. Good luck, and keep us posted.
 
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#17
I've heard honeysuckles are "heartbreak hotel." I have a thick trucked monster, I've heard so many bad stories I think I'm putting it back in the ground!
I believe HS potted happiness is determined by genetics. Some species of them are OK, some are just eventual demise or massive sheddings and detest being potted long term. The local Midwestern stuff seems to really suck. I have one I have had for a long time collected from the crumbling shores of a posh lake in NY state--this one persists bit still is honeysuckly.
 

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JudyB

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#18
I must admit to digging a few of these myself, and while they went off at a great pace, slowly diminished and went off to the west...
Too bad as the trunks were very good ones.
 

grouper52

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#19
arctic willow
I must admit to digging a few of these myself, and while they went off at a great pace, slowly diminished and went off to the west...
Too bad as the trunks were very good ones.
What I really like about the coupling of bonsai with photography is the satisfaction of creating a stunningly beautiful image captured for all times, despite the reality that the tree was a pain in the arse to get to that moment, and that the photo is full of smoke and mirrors and various ruses that create the illusion of great beauty, and that the tree then rapidly went south (or west?) from that very moment until its painfully frustrating demise. :)
 

JudyB

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Agreed, now that I can take better photos, I find it very fulfilling. Of course I am not a photographic master as you are, but I'm getting better.

Do you still try with arctic willow? I find that I'm still tempted to dig the honeysuckle, even though I know it's a labor destined for failure, as I'm surrounded by acres of amazing trunks of the stuff.
 

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