I'm trying my hand at bonsai for the first time. I enjoy flower gardening, but where I live right now I don't have a yard to dig in. So, I thought I'd try my hand at container gardening, and bonsai sounded like the most fun. I've read a bunch of stuff on the internet and ordered Harry Tomlinson's Complete Book of Bonsai which should arrive any day now.
I went to the New England flower show at the weekend and the gardening bug hit me pretty hard. I saw the most beautiful Shimpaku Juniper bonsai there, and I said to my girlfriend "I want one!"
I've been perusing the local nurseries over the past few days as the weather has warmed up and spring seems to be in the air here. I saw a number of plants with the glued rocks, but refrained from buying any after what I had read about that sort of thing on the internet.
But tonight I found some 'Purple Gem' Rhododendrons at Home Depot, and I couldn't stop myself from bringing home a pair.
Here are some pictures.
First, the two of them side by side:
Here's the one on the right:
Here's the one on the left, which I'm really excited about:
It has a split trunk that has scarred over on both sides. I'm not sure if you can see it in the picture above, but here is a closer look:
Am I correct in thinking that the wound could be a plus when I eventually try to make the tree into a bonsai? Maybe it's a negative?
Anyone have any tips for Rhododendron bonsai that I might not find readily? I have to admit that I haven't done a lot of research on Rhododendron bonsai, but I plan to. I know they like acidic soil and hate to have their roots stay wet--I've grown azaleas in the ground before. At this point, I'm planning on using Orchid bark, Perlite, Turface MVP, and sand--or some combination--as my soil. What should I add for the acidity?
Do I really need to water with rainwater if my tap water is hard?
Should I just repot them in a fast draining soil when the weather warms a bit and then leave them until next spring? Maybe a bit of pruning after they've flowered?
Thanks in advance for any responses, and for all of the info in other threads. You've already been a big help.
Oh, and BTW, the two of them cost a grand total of $12 and some change. That's less than the cheapest bonsai I've seen all week!