The ponderosa featured in my last post is not only the largest of my pines, but with an estimated age closer to 50 years than 45, it is also the oldest and most mature.
Here is the youngest and the smallest. I haven't yet identified its species.
|One year old. The trunk is about twice as thick as a pencil lead.|
About a year ago, my wife accompanied our oldest daughter, who is a skilled semi-professional jeweller, on a rock-collecting trip to Arkansas. They had a fine time, finding plenty of interesting rocks and crystals, sharing a tent, and enjoying each other's company.
And our daughter noticed some pine seedlings, newly sprouted that spring. She's a competent gardener herself, and she brought some back. She gave one to me to see if I could eventually develop it into a bonsai. I potted it up in a small plastic tray (see the picture), using a fairly coarse mix.
By the end of the summer it had matured enough to start producing its needles in bundles - 3 to a bundle, never 2 or 4. That and the fact that the needles are naturally twisted have let me tentatively identify it as a loblolly pine, Pinus taeda. However, Arkansas has four native pine species, so I'm not going to say I'm sure of its species for another couple of years.
It spent the winter under triple-layer shelter, directly on the ground, with my half-hardy specimens. If it is a loblolly, it won't be cold-hardy much below 10 degrees F (-12 C) in a pot, if it is even that cold-resistant. It came thru this winter fine, so the protection it was given must have been adequate. It is now acclimating to the open air. Its terminal buds are elongating and will soon open.
|This year's candles getting ready to open.|
I may not live to see this tree developed into a creditable bonsai - loblollies can live well over 200 years. But I'll try to follow Colin Lewis' advice to us older geezers in such a case: "Do it right for posterity!"
Stay tuned for more on my little "gift pine"!
:-) :-) :-)