Yesterday I went with some friends to visit a bonsai store. This place is located in Bellingham, Massachusetts and is called New England Bonsai Gardens. It's a very large store - it has several large greenhouses with a huge variety of bonsai plants. I had driven driven by this place in the past (it's not too far from my condo) and was always curious about stopping, but never had the time. I'm glad my friends suggested going. It's a very nice place.
Right now there's a sale going on - 80% off a (rapidly shrinking) selection of plants. You can get some great deals on really old bonsai that would normally cost hundreds of dollars. With the 80% off, some of them are even cheaper than the original cost of the ceramic pot they came in. Unfortunately for me, I had to pass up on the good deals. All the plants that really appealed to me were outdoor bonsai. Living in a condo, I don't have any outdoor area for plants. Instead, I ended up picking up a small bonsai that is more suited for indoors:
It's a Texas ebony tree. The shop owner explained to me that for indoor bonsai plants it's better to go with a tropical variety. The outdoor bonsai plants need the change of seasons in order to trigger proper growth, while the tropical climate plants need a more consistent temperature all year round.
Interestingly, the Texas ebony plant closes its leaves at night. When I was first bringing the plant back from the store, the leaves started closing up and I wasn't sure if it was normal. By the time nightfall came, the leaves were completely closed, giving the plant a somewhat wilted appearance. Fortunately, from what I've read, that is the normal behavior of legume plants (which Texas ebony is).
Here's what the plant looked like once all the leaves closed up.
Here's a closeup of the closed leaves.
And here's a close-up of the leaves when they are open.
If you are ever in the Bellingham area, it's definitely worth a visit to New England Bonsai Gardens. The shop owner is extremely helpful. Even if you don't buy anything, it's nice to just walk around and take a look at the beautiful plants.
(Hmmm... I just noticed all my photos in this post have a watermark with my name. I just upgraded my photo software and apparently I accidentally turned on a feature for adding a watermark when I export photos for the web.)