This is a little tree I acquired from Anne Spencer, a master of deciduous trees for bonsai in America. She found this little tree at a nursery in Mollala, Oregon in October of 2002. The tree was grafted 4 or 5 years before Anne bought it and whoever did the work was quite good because I’ve failed to find exactly where the graft union is on the trunk. It was in the pot you see in the first photo when I bought it February of 2011. The color is an o.k. match with the fall foliage but is a bit too deep for the tree to look it’s best. I also felt the tree needed to be rotated slightly to show off it’s best characteristics. So, let’s take a look at my little ‘prize’ here in its first fall in my garden, fall 2011:

I love those tiny little leaves! I always like to give the dimensions of the trees because it’s really hard to tell size from a photograph and a description like “it’s small”. This tree is 8″ in height from the rim of the pot and the trunk diameter is 3″ at the soil. Given those numbers you can estimate just how small the leaves are and why it’s called ‘Chris’s Dwarf’.

Fast forward to the spring of 2012; the buds are swelling and my window of opportunity opens to make some anticipated changes; first the re-pot to a new pot. I wanted to get it into a shallower pot, yet keep the shape of the pot similar. I also wanted the color of the pot to harmonize with some aspect the tree’s foliage and bark. Ginkgos have a beautiful yellow green leaf color in the spring and a golden yellow color to the foliage in the fall. If we look on the color wheel at yellow we find violet directly across from it as its complimentary color. A violet color pot would be quite stunning to harmonize with this tree’s fall color. If we find yellow-green on the color wheel, we see that it’s complementary color is red-violet, which would be an awesome match for this tree’s spring leaves.

After much searching of my modest pot collection, I ran across a soft rectangular, glazed Chinese pot with just the right dimensions. The color of the glaze is a very muted red-violet, more towards brown than red-violet…not perfect but acceptable given my budget. The ideal color for a ginkgo in my opinion would be a nice plum color that would harmonize best with the fall color but also look nice with the spring and summer foliage. I hope I haven’t lost you with this tangent about selecting a pot–I think it’s important to note that a lot of thought goes into this aspect of bonsai because it is about a tree in a pot after all!

After I got it re-potted and turned the tree counter-clockwise a bit, it was time to watch it bud to see if the small amount of root pruning I did affected it one way or another. It did not, and the tree started to bud as strongly as it had last spring in its much deeper pot. I wound up cutting back four of the branches and struck them as cuttings. Out of the four cuttings two have rooted so I’ll have a couple more of these wonders to play around with. You can also see from the photo that I wired two of the branches on the right side of the tree as these were in bad positions. So, here is the tree as of last week after re-potting, re-positioning, pruning and minimal wiring (with aluminum wire)

I plan to lay a little organic fertilizer on the soil surface once the leaves have stopped growing, maybe by the end of the month or so. Otherwise, I’m really looking forward to seeing how the new tree/pot combination looks with the golden fall foliage. Thanks for tuning in 😉

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