Judge #1: Nice, I wonder about the purpose of the nude top branches.
Judge #2: What happened to the beautiful roots?
Orange Jessamine (Murraya Exotica)
51cm (20.1") / 46cm (18.1")
This plant is exotic (not indigenous to South Africa) bears white flowers in spring and summer and red berries in autumn and winter, and will grow into a small tree in our temperate/subtropical climate.
This plant was selected for the dead branches, well developed roots as well as the blooms and berries it will bear at a later stage. It is currently approximately 51 cm tall from the soil to the apex. I plan to style it as an informal upright with some jinning using existing dead material.
This plant already has a very strong root system which needs some refining.
A pot will be selected after styling from Misty Moon Bonsai, Assagay, KZN, South Africa
One Quarter Progression
When I removed my plant from the nursery bag I found it had a root system as big as the above surface growth, but a lot denser! It took me a whole afternoon just to trim the roots back to a reasonable size and take off a few excess branches on the top growth! The more I work on this plant the more excited I get.
Half Way Progression
Poor thing is in hospital after serious root pruning and splitting one large root longitudinally! I have removed some slightly spindly excess growth with my Ryuga Satsuki shears and will leave it to recover, although a week after re-potting it has started opening some flowers. I have also pinned cotton gauze over the soil to keep it in place to protect the roots.
Three Quarter Progression
This is my poor plant after some serious beauty treatments! I have wired the left branch down temporarily, but will slowly release it over the next month, by which time I hope it will have set in place and not spring back into its old position immediately! It will also need to be re-set in the pot, as I was simply trying to accommodate enough roots after the massive root-pruning I had to do to start with.
This plant was purchased from a local nursery before the beginning of the competition. It was hidden away in a corner with other plants which seemed to be in line for the compost heap! It had some dead wood in the centre which caught my eye and then I explored a little more and found some nice roots, which made up my mind to rescue it.
This plant has been amazing! I cut back (75-80%) the enormous root ball to re-pot it into the small pot, and cut excess branches off, and within 2 weeks it had developed buds! I knew then that I had a strong plant that would not die easily. At the time I re-potted it, I tried to decide which roots to keep and decided that the large root at the right side (shown in the side view) was too thick and would have to be removed or split. I split it longitudinally and separated it with a pebble and some pinning with wire. Eventually, when the hair roots have developed a little more, I will remove the half of the root towards the back of the plant.
I exposed the existing dead wood in the centre and stripped the bark from one other branch that seemed to be growing from the dead material to create a lightning strike effect. As the foliage develops I will trim back the longer side branches to give it a better shape, but I will retain the jinned branches so that the eventual effect will be of a more mature tree that survived and flourished after a lightning strike.
In spite of the 2,5 months of wet and cold and then 1,5 weeks of sweltering 35 degree Celsius weather, nothing seems to get this plant down. I am really going to enjoy it for many years as it matures.
[tab title=”Judge #1″]
Final Outcome: 4
Nice, I wonder about the purpose of the nude top branches.
[tab title=”Judge #2″]
Final Outcome: 6
What happened to the beautiful roots?
[tab title=”Judge #3″]
Final Outcome: 5