Lonicera nitida 'Baggesens Gold'/Honeysuckle Bonsai Progression Series

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Lonicera nitida are a great, if little used, species for bonsai, very fast growing, naturally minute (3-4mm) leaves and have the ability to bud back like crazy. The only real drawback is they can take a little while to develop decent trunks and they have a shrubby habit, producing suckers that form many thin trunks instead of one fat main trunk.

Lonicera/Honeysuckles are commonly known as vines/climbers that flower prolifically during the Summer, however, there are a few Lonicera/Honeysuckles in the genus that are shrub-like (commonly known as shrub honeysuckles) that produce tiny, fairly nondescript flowers and are often used as hedging. Shrub honeysuckles include L.nitida, L.pileata and L.morrowii.

This Lonicera nitida 'Baggesens Gold' (a yellow-leaved variety) honeysuckle was dug up from my neighbours garden in June 2004; not a great time to collect any plant but it was a case of digging it straight away before my neighbour threw it out! It had been kept pruned to a height of around 5ft for years, when I reduced the height of the tree, I could see that that nearly all of the interior growth had been shaded out for years and had died.

Lonicera nitida 'Baggesens Gold'/Honeysuckle Progression Series

This first picture shows the tree immediately after collection, having been potted into a large mica pot.

Lonicera nitida 'Baggesens Gold'/Honeysuckle Progression Series

By the time I had tidied up the tree by removing all the dry, dead twigs and branches, there wasn't a lot left!

Lonicera nitida 'Baggesens Gold'/Honeysuckle Progression Series

The tree was allowed to grow pretty freely for the remainder of 2004. It grow like crazy and didn't seem bothered in the slightest by its drastic pruning and mid-season collection.
In January 2005, I chopped the three trunks back again; this time to try and establish the 'final' trunk heights and positions. Again, not a pleasant sight!

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