Sisyphus comes to mind when I think about my ume. I’ve been working on the tree for roughly 10 years, grafting, each winter, branches with white flowers onto branches that naturally sport double-pink flowers. Because the variety doesn’t bud back like other deciduous varieties, I find myself re-grafting branches year after year. This year was no different.
I started by removing the old leaves. This is fun with ume – I strip the leaves away by lightly pinching the base of each branch and dragging my fingers toward the end of the shoot.
Before stripping the leaves
Last year I repotted the tree thinking that slowing the tree down would help the grafts take. Not so – only a few of last year’s scions took hold. This year I simply cut back the long shoots and grafted the scions into place. You can see the grafting process in greater detail in last year’s post about repotting and grafting the tree.
Apparently grafting is fun
A scion in a bag – moss maintains humidity
I’m planning on repotting the tree at a different angle next year – from the current front, the trunk looks like a gnarled sling-shot. The goal is to show the tree with plenty of blossoms. I had good luck with this in 2004. The flowers all opened up at the same time and we set it by the door at our 5th Bay Island Bonsai exhibit. You can find a picture of the tree – the first one in the group – at BIB’s 2004 gallery page.
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