The top two cover photos I put together so you can see the difference a quick trim can make to create an instant bonsai tree. I did all the pruning by leaving them in the exact same place as the first photo, to give you, the viewer, a perfect few of the direct changes.
These are my two hydrangeas. After they produced white snowball clusters of flowers at the end of Spring, I put them in the vegetable garden for the wilted petals to fall upon the soil and feed the worms. After the flowers expired I put them under the shade trees, where they rested for another month during a heat wave.
Now that they have finished growing their new Spring branches, all they are doing now is extending the current branches beyond where the flowers were. This seemed like a good time to prune the trees for the first time this year.
Here is what the tree on the left turned out looking like.
And this is the tree that was on the right.
Bonsai Pruning Strategy
For both of the trees, the pruning was a fairly simple strategy. Divisions between each set of leaves are fairly long, so it made sense to me to trim everything back to the first set of leaves on each branch.
I fully expect each set of leaves to form a perfect twin set of new branchlets to form on opposite sides. At least, that is how most plants with symmetrical leaves respond to pruning (ie. mint, basil) This will give me the ideal Y-shaped branch divisions.
I really love it when a plant species makes the bonsai process easy. Granted, I'm sort of letting these trees grow however they want style-wise, and I simply maintain them by keeping the proportions correct.
The only challenge I foresee for this hardy variety is to reduce the leaf size, and perhaps to develop height in the trunk. It really likes to fan out and build long, lanky branches.
My future strategy to get the ideal results will be time and patience.
Little by little, I think the leaves will eventually become accustomed to growing smaller over the years once I plant them into bonsai pots, and create more branch divisions. As the leaves get smaller, the branch divisions should also get closer together too. Eventually this will stack up the trunk year by year too on the hardwood of each previous year.
Both of these little bonsais are about ready to get their own nicknames. They certainly look different enough from one another. Please let me know if you have any good suggestions.
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