Curly Willow: The Twisted Tree [Bonsai]
Curly Willow is the tree of the day. Please checkout my photos of this twisted tree in my bonsai tree collection.
Two main branches are growing around the husk of an old central dead branch. When pruning, sometimes I leave an old branch behind as a reminder of its former glory days, which adds to its colorful story.
Inspired by a character from fiction who represents an evil sorceress who lives in a twisted multi-tower castle in the shape of an upraised hand. Inspired from Michael Ende's The Neverending Story, the book provides details about her being so beautiful and alluring, her enemies often become her loyal servants even though her words are clearly poison. This tree truly lives up to its namesake. A few years ago it started to beguile me I admit.
I am always hoping this tree will look more creepy in October (Halloween) if I can capture a photo of a blackbird or crow perching on its central limb. That would truly define this as a witch's tree.
Type: Curly Willow
Age: 5 years
Last repotting: 2017, early Summer
Wired: 2017, Summer
Some other articles by @creativetruth featuring this tree in the distant past:
- Twisted Xayide casts a spell to beguile your interest
- Sometimes you have to Roll the Dice and see what happens
- Trimming the Curly Willow in Winter
- Fantastic Tour of my Spring Bonsai Collection
- Radical Transformation and Renewal
- Caring for Bonsai Trees during a Heat Wave
- Curly Willow: Quick Trim
Willows are not really ideal for bonsai because many old branches will die back and fall off. I think they are a great first tree for beginners to grow because they are easy to keep them alive, and they produce fast rewards every year to experiment with (many new leaves and branches).
Willows will grow in even poor, dense clay soil, but if you can provide lighter soil that is better. They do not grow well in pure sand, I tested this, as it retains water poorly. Gravel and bonsai soil works great too. As long as the soil is always a bit wet and swampy, the Willow tree is always happy. Some people keep their Willow trees growing constantly submerged partially in a dish of water. This type of tree is able to survive with the lowest roots underwater. In nature, they grow near springs, lakes, and ponds.
It grows long curvy tendrils that extend upward to the sun. They look a bit like witches wands. Green limbs and leaves can be pruned at any time, and it will cause new leaves and limbs to sprout.
I like to clip the branches short to encourage many other smaller branches to sprout. One day I hope this tree will have a mushroom shaped canopy.
Old bark on the tree is not particularly beautiful. It has a weathered surface that cracks and flakes off. It forms bumps that sometimes burst, scab, or scar. Again, this makes it a great spooky tree because the bark looks like diseased zombie skin.
Today it dawned on me that the character Xayide, who this tree is named after is also likely inspired by another famous witch. Most notably, the White Witch of Narnia, who is famously portrayed in C. S. Lewis's The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe and The Magician's Nephew. That witch's name was Jadis, and little is known about her origins.
Both of these witches were cruel, powerful, without compassion, and suffered from the same character flaw. They craved dominion to rule over everyone else, as this was the only way to have people of worth nearby in their presence. Rather than make friends, they manipulate others into becoming their friends. Although this serves towards the goals of a tyrant, ultimately it is their own undoing as rebellion always stirs to topple the tyrant.
From the ashes of the earth, the White Queen always rises again, and returns again to her illustrious castle to rebuild her empire. So is the way with this tree, with its dazzling emerald leaves dancing like flags in the wind on top, and the smooth spires supporting it underneath. Underneath, all of the ostentatious wealth is built on the murderous blood, bones, and stones atop an ancient dynasty.
Be sure to follow my work this week. I'm in the process of sharing the whole host of bonsai trees in my collection. There is over thirty trees I am growing. That means you can enjoy more than a month of fresh content from @creativetruth's back porch.
Share the goodness with me.
Find me on discord and chat with other tree growers, bonsai enthusiasts, and gardeners. We have quite a few accredited experts filling out our ranks, and a helpful Spanish-speaking community.