I got hold of a bundle of Amur seedlings somewhere along the line. They went into individual pots and got grown on for a while. Having a big bunch of them may have meant they didn't get the individual attention they needed They grow some gnarled root, twisty trunk little trees that looked like the belong in a Hobbit movie, but never ramified enough for my taste.
I potted up a few to use as mame, more like little trees as accent plants, and sold the majority at a club meeting.
A few seedlings got left behind. These got jammed rather hastily into a forest pot with the thought of making something out of them-sometime. The where allowed to grow wild, getting hacked back once in while. The method here was benign neglect. The trunks thickened, the trees got taller as they did their thing and I did mine.
This is how the planting looks some years later, the third week of May, out of winter storage for a month and a half and growing vigorously.
I realize I've used the word vigorous to describe this species twice now, but they earn it. The abuse that this planting has taken is amazing. There is a nest of ants in the pot, and their activity, plus some sloppy potting when the thing was assembled means that there are empty holes in the soil ball above each drain hole. The plant doesn't seem to notice. The roots are so tangled and congested that water doesn't penetrate well and the root ball feels like a Brillo pad-the trees don't care!
Ok, maybe some of the trees noticed. You can see that most of the back row is dead. I am sorry they are gone, but this may be the cosmos telling me that I need to be more careful, and also telling me this should be a smaller planting. This is a damn handsome pot, and it will be a shame not to have something growing in it, but it is far two big for just two trees. By the way, the pot may look like terra cotta, but it is high fired. It is actually Italian, so while not a traditional bonsai region they do know from ceramics.
Also, I made the choice that this would become a two tree planting, and the odd little fellow in the back has been removed to his own training pot.
Now that basic height has been decided, its time to cut back all the shoots. Besides taking some load off the reduced root system, this will encourage some back budding.The trees are a bit leggy and need to fill in. The tree on the right has a few empty spaces that could do with whole new branches. It was tempting to cut it down even shorter, but that wastes some good trunk texture, and I think the height and width suit the pot they are in.
More photo updates coming later in the summer!