Vaccinium angustifolium collected in 2018

Someone I admire told me that good blueberry bonsai are as rare as hen’s teeth. I’m not sure if this is what he meant by “good” but I have been working on this clump style Vaccinium angustifolium since I collected it in April. Yes, I am using the singular in regards to this clump! The entire thing is one plant linked together by a thick fat horizontal root. It’s actually an old lowbush blueberry and the connecting root is almost as thick as my thumb even though the canes themselves are thin. That is just how this species grows! I collected it roadside on top of a boulder, which is why I was able to plant it right away in this forest oval. It’s pretty cool to have it be in a pot only 2" tall in its very first year!! I’ve been learning the specific needs of this blueberry shrub as I go. Nick Lenz in his book and “Leo” on bonsai nut both have written some helpful information about working with highbush blueberries, Vaccinium corymbosum. Much of the same care can be given to the V. angustifolium, but I think it will be a little easier to manage the canes as time goes on. We’ll see. If the plant puts out too many young canes and the old ones will die off so that is always a concern. You also need nerves of steel to wire blueberry bushes! They are brittle beyond belief. Thin gauge wire and gentle bends are the only way to proceed. In addition to this collected blueberry, I have a young cultivar of dwarf blueberry which is known as “TopHat”. This hybrid grows from a single trunk and has traditional branching. It is still very brittle, though. I will include a pic of where that one is at for reference. I only have a few berries on the clump, and none on the TopHat, but I am still looking ahead with the best yet to come in the way of fall foliage. What do you guys think? It’s a little non-traditional.

Here’s how it looked after collection. Half of the canes were already dead.

Here it is in May. All the living canes from April are still kicking!

Here it is at the start of Summer.

And the little TopHat. Very different!