Another bloomin' azalea

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Another bloomin' azalea

Post  fiona on Mon May 30, 2011 4:35 pm

I have had this azalea for around seven years now, and as you can see from this pic taken about three years ago, it has never disappointed in the flower department. In fact it flowers so profusely that I have become accustomed to referring to it as the Big Girl's Blouse azalea.



However, it had grown too far outwards for my liking so I decided two years ago to start the process of bringing the foliage back into the trunk - a process which also necessitated losing some of the height if it wasn't to look like some gangly teenager. This wasn't a problem as the crown was ramrod straight which didn't tie in with the curves of the rest of the trunk. Since it seems to thrive on good old celtic air, I took it down to North Wales where Kevin B assisted me in the early cut back.



This was in July 2009 and by the end of that summer, after a few further trimmings, it looked like this:



It wasn't at all bonnie-looking but I decided not to do any more to it that year owing to the "unpredictability" of the Scottish winter.


Last edited by fiona on Mon May 30, 2011 4:53 pm; edited 2 times in total

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Re: Another bloomin' azalea

Post  fiona on Mon May 30, 2011 4:49 pm

I had been told that it probably wouldn't flower because it had been cut back the summer previously, but, just to show how hardy us big girls are, in the May of 2010 it tried its best to throw out as many blooms as previously. I kept a few for show but removed the rest of the buds as it was my intention to do further pruning in the summer of 2010.

I still wasn't happy with the crown, so I set about taking it down even further and also pulling the rest of the foliage in even more towards the trunk. That happened in the July of 2010 an this is what it looked like in the spring of 2011:



The tree was kept in the unheated glasshouse over the winters of 2009/10 and 2010/11, which is jsut as well as they were the coldest we've had for quite some time. However, it started pushing growth very early this spring and I relocated it to a sheltered spot outdoors in April. I also decided to be brave and remove a final section of the crown as there was plenty of new growth behind and to the front. At the end of April 2011 it looked like this:



I am relatively happy with the tree now but am not discounting further work. it still needs a fair bit of trimming rather than pruning to get growth where I want it, but overall I am quite pleased. I even allowed it some flowers again this year just as a well done. Here is the tree as photographed today:








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Re: Another bloomin' azalea

Post  Frog on Mon May 30, 2011 5:28 pm

blimey it doesnt look that big in the first or second pics. Amazed how big it was! great tree!

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Re: Another bloomin' azalea

Post  Glaucus on Mon May 30, 2011 5:42 pm

Looks a lot like 'Kaho'.

I don't have a very good eye for bonsai aesthetics, but this one looks pretty good. And of course it's pretty big!

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another blooming azelea

Post  moyogijohn on Mon May 30, 2011 6:17 pm

Fiona,, another great job!! i really like the way you brought the foliage in toward the trunk,,didn,t hurt the flowers any at all!! it looks big how tallis it now?? GOOD Trunk !! take care john

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Re: Another bloomin' azalea

Post  Russell Coker on Mon May 30, 2011 6:41 pm

They do have a tendency to get wide with time. Nice job of reeling it back in. Girl, you need to get busy with some wire! Wink

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Re: Another bloomin' azalea

Post  fiona on Mon May 30, 2011 6:54 pm

It's on the to-do list, Russell. The new growth is still pretty fragile in places so I'll let it get a bit more sturdy then I'll have at it.

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Re: Another bloomin' azalea

Post  Kev Bailey on Mon May 30, 2011 7:16 pm

Hmm, Azalea growth is snappy at all times when wiring and at its snappiest when older. It's best to wire as early as possible.

It's come on in leaps and bounds since we first had a go at it. Well done!

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Re: Another bloomin' azalea

Post  -Brent- on Mon May 30, 2011 7:38 pm

Just lovely Fiona. I quite like the new form and overall image of the tree - great job.

Cheers
Brent

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Re: Another bloomin' azalea

Post  JimLewis on Mon May 30, 2011 7:42 pm

Gorgeous tree, Fiona.

I hate to wire azalea, but Kev is right; fine twigs and fine wire. Your dainty (and steady) hands probably will do better at it than my clumpy and shaky ones.

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Re: Another bloomin' azalea

Post  fiona on Mon May 30, 2011 8:00 pm

Kev Bailey wrote: Hmm, Azalea growth is snappy at all times when wiring and at its snappiest when older. It's best to wire as early as possible.
I probably wasn't specific enough there. I really meant that there is some very young growth (still green and fleshy and not even at the twig stage) that I want to enourage in various directions. I have actually started wiring but to wire any more would endanger this green growth. Remember we're at least three weeks behind everyone else in the UK right now.


Kev Bailey wrote:It's come on in leaps and bounds since we first had a go at it. Well done!
Thanks Kev, especially for your own assistance in the process.



PS I was going to return the "come on leaps and bounds" compliment about your hairdo, but that would just be rude. Wink Razz

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Re: Another bloomin' azalea

Post  xuan le on Tue May 31, 2011 2:47 am

Well done Fiona, the tree looks a lot better than befor with the straight top.

Xuan

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Re: Another bloomin' azalea

Post  John Quinn on Tue May 31, 2011 3:00 am

Nice result, Fi. When was it last repotted?

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Re: Another bloomin' azalea

Post  fiona on Tue May 31, 2011 9:41 am

moyogijohn wrote:it looks big how tall is it now?
Hi John. It is 21" all now, which means I took roughly 3" off the top. As you can see in the first pic, it was pretty much as broad as it was tall originally, but now it is 20" broad. So again a reduction of some three or four inches.

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Re: Another bloomin' azalea

Post  fiona on Tue May 31, 2011 9:42 am

John Quinn wrote:Nice result, Fi. When was it last repotted?
John, it was last repotted in 2006 so a priority next spring is a repot for it. I decided to hold off doing that task over the past two years as I figured it would be stressed enough by the reshaping process. I have been thinking already about a suitable pot and have pretty much come down in favour of something very similar. I like the rectangular shape and the depth & width seems about right to me. Colour-wise I have had suggestions of a coloured glaze (blue and green seem popular) but I rather like the plain no-fuss pot it's in as it doesn't detract in any way from the tree when in flower or when just in leaf.

But if the virtual experts wish to persuade me otherwise.... Wink

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