|They look like little pineapples, but they are strobili, developing on my ponderosa pine.|
|In its custom-built growing box.|
My wife bought this ponderosa as my 2010 Valentine-birthday-anniversary gift, in Andy's semi-regular "Burlap Bonanza." When it came, I measured the rootball and then built a growing box while the roots soaked. The planting mix is a 6:3:1 mix of scoria, Turface, and composted bark.
Pines are somewhat exotic to me. I know that sounds odd coming from someone in the United States! But they are not native to Ecuador, where I grew up; tropical trees, and their growth patterns, are what shaped my thinking about trees. I find pines fascinating in much the same way that many people in temperate climates find tropicals fascinating: appealing to the eye, fun to work with, but different.
|Angled side view; you can see the new growth.|
|The lower trunk is about the 3/4 the thickness of my wrist.|
This tree has been in its box for two years now. Many new buds broke on the branches this spring, a welcome sign of vigor. And the appearance of strobili, for me, is the icing on the cake: only strong, healthy trees produce them in a bonsai environment. I'm going to send pictures of the tree to Andy, to get his opinion before I make a final decision. But I'm pretty sure I'll be taking this tree to his workshop. :-)
What do you think? Feel free to comment even if you don't have much pine experience; but if you do, and particularly if you have experience with ponderosas, I'd like to read your opinion. Do you think this tree is ready for major work?