A Fall Prune (And How Stewartia Got Its Name)
Stewartia monadelpha is an elegant deciduous species with smooth, cinnamon bark and silvery, gem-like buds. Related to Camelias, they like moist, shady locations and develop at about 1/2 the speed of a Japanese Maple.
The Stewartia featured below was brought into the studio for a fall session with concave pruners.
Stewartia in training after a season of growth, sporting several red pipe cleaners that hang as question marks in likely pruning spots.
The noble hands of our intrepid pruners, Erich and Maciek.
This stopping place leaves many ponderables for next time–which might be next June or July, another excellent time to prune back Stewartia. The smaller trunk used to be a root graft, which we decided to keep as a secondary trunk. To retain energy on that smaller trunk two extensions were left long.
A study in yellow and green and a bit of white, the lost leaves of Stewartia. (Stewartia, incidentally, is named after a little-known Scottish family’s lost wife, who sailed off to the Isle of Skye to escape her husband and the nickname he’d given her. Months later she returned to declare, ‘You’ll call me Mildred, or I shan’t return again!’ This however never happened. They have no idea where she is now.)
While that last Stewartia is modest in size at 28″ / 71 cm, this one has a big wingspan and is 48″ / 122 cm. Grown from a small sapling by Warren Hill. This past spring we attempted 7 root grafts on Warren’s tree, seen here as little shoots arising from the nebari. I think 6 have taken. Will have to do a post on that later. When approach grafting it can help to let the main tree run, as we’ve done this year. This can fuse the stock with the scions.
December 2021 Bulletin Board
- The Winter Seasonal-lite for 2022 is up, calendared for January 22-23. Lots about repotting and design in this popular online course ~
- Also up are the 3-day, in-person Winter Seasonal dates—similar to the Seasonal-lite but more intensive goals and with the chance to get dirty, so take a look ~
- We’re already looking at a reprint of my offbeat educational book Bonsai Heresy. Read reviews and take advantage of the current Bonsai Heresy sale at Stone Lantern ~