My bonsai won't win any awards; I doubt it will ever make it into any sort of bonsai show. I am not sure it would be classifies as a real bonsai!
But maybe it is. I have treated it as a bonsai, sort-of. I think I will call it the lazy gardener bonsai.
The plant in question is a Chamaecyparis pisifera 'Blue Boulevard.' This is a pyramidal semi-dwarf evergreen shrub that features soft, silvery blue-gray foliage. It is slow growing, and planted in the ground it will eventually reach a mature size of 12-15’ tall. It is easily kept smaller with minimal pruning. When young it has dense growth, but as it matures it has a habit of loosing many of its interior needles, a tendency that turns a lot of gardeners away, but which can give it character perfect for a bonsai treatment.
I planted my Blue Boulevard in a shallow pot about five years ago with plans to maintain it as a bonsai. The thick, frost-proof pot has a good drainage hole. Each spring I take the plant out and prune the roots so that they fit easily into the pot without crowding. I refresh the soil at this time. One can buy special soil for bonsai, but a good rich mix that will retain moisture but not allow the roots to get too wet is fine. I put some large pebbles in the bottom of my pot and mix some pine bark with the soil to insure good drainage.
It is important to keep the shallow pot watered but not over-watered. I stick my finger down into the soil on a regular basis when I am making my rounds of the garden. If it feels dry, I water it well. I apply fish emulsion fertilizer two or three times during the growing season. The plant stays outside year-round and is remarkably low-maintenance.
But artistically I have failed. Most bonsai enthusiasts spend a lot of time training and pruning their little trees to mimic larger trees.I have allowed my Blue Boulevard to do its own thing with only occasional pruning and certainly no wiring of branches to shape. I realize I should do better. In fact, looking at the photo I took for this post, I see branches that need pruning, others that could use a bit of wiring to pull them into a more pleasing shape.
I have been negligent, but next spring I am going to start a new regimen! Bonsai can be a fabulous hobby, and there are on-line instructions and books for those who want guidelines for creating truly wonderful specimens. One can choose a real tree such as an oak or maple, or one can choose a shrub such as an azalea or a juniper, whose thicker trunks can give the illusion of age while still young.
But one does not have to get caught up in rules and regulations, unless one wants to. The main thing is to have fun with it, and put your specimen where you can enjoy it. Remember outdoor trees should stay outdoors, though you may have to protect them from freezing in winter. Indoor specimens should stay inside.