Parsley, Sage, Bonsai & Thyme… (1)

One of my more recent additions to the garden was a bonsai tree, £10 from Asda. I’ll be posting more about that as it develops, and am going on a course to learn how to look after it next weekend, so updates to come soon!

I hadn’t actually meant to buy one, but I walked past it and Mr D pointed it out and then it had just sort of fallen into the trolley. A bit like my turtle planter did a few months ago, except not hiding under a Chicken n Mushroom Mug Shot and a family size bag of Haribo.

Anyway, looking into bonsai and how to create/maintain/design them gave me an idea of what I could do with an old rosemary plant that until today looked something like this:

19_7_15 Original Rosemary 2

This was one of our 25p B&Q rescue missions that didn’t go so well. Despite me being really nice to it, it stubbornly stayed a rather fetching shade of…well, not rosemary-coloured. So I had the bright idea to turn it into a bonsai tree. With some help from this page and this video, I had some idea of what to do, so this afternoon I sat in an incredibly uncomfortable position for a couple of hours defoliating:

Halfway there...

Halfway there…Yes, they are lovely flip flops, how kind of you to notice

Nearly there...

Nearly there…

Defoliated entirely!

Defoliated entirely!

and clearing soil off the roots:

19_7_15 Root dusting action shot

(You can get specialist bonsai root forks, which is something I’m thinking about investing in. But this is a B&Q two-pronged hand weeder, and worked very well for this job. I left the tips on by accident but actually that resulted in a much gentler action on some quite delicate roots.)

At this point we realised that the original rosemary was three separate plants. Because he chews the furniture when he gets bored, I gave Mr D two to pot and grow normally, keeping the one with the strongest looking roots back to attempt to bonsai:

Not a great picture, but take my word for it, there are strong roots in there.

Not a great picture, but take my word for it, there are strong roots in there.

Meaning the final pre-potted plant I was left with looked something like this:

19_7_15 Final cutting

I trimmed the roots somewhat, though not much as the defoliating and separation was already quite a big shock. Then I left it to dry out in the sun for a few minutes because the innermost roots were soaking wet and freezing cold, which may explain why the plant hadn’t been doing so well in a big pot with lots of water. While it was drying, I made a soil of:

– approx 1/3 soil from original pot

– approx 1/3 Verve peat-free compost

– approx 1/3/ John Innes No 3

– some perlite mixed in at each layer

– layer of rough stones on the bottom for drainage

then popped the rosemary in there. I made it nice and compact:

19_7_15 Potted

before watering it until I could see water draining out of the bottom:

19_7_15 Wateredand that’s the current state of play.

At some point soon, I’m going to prune the branches back, and shape it into the eventual form I want it to take. But I am very conscious that this plant has had a lot of shocks today, so that might be a job for a couple of weeks’ time. Meanwhile I’ll be monitoring it closely for growth and watering regularly – though potentially less often than I was watering the parent plant, given the state of the root ball earlier today.

So watch this space! Next post on this will be my attempt to shape it into a nice design.

Share this page:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes:

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>