Monday, November 5, 2007
Thursday, October 11, 2007
The Heritage catalogue is posted on the webpage under featured websites. On page 40 there is a list of common bonsai species that Heritage grows.
At the meeting there will be someone collecting pre-orders for Russel Nursery/Heritige Seedlings. The final prices will be 3 times the wholesale price plus tax. This springs' $5.99 acer buergerianum (trident maple) will be next spring's (if pre-ordered) $3.75 acer.
There are some conditions. They cannot bring in Oaks or Pines this year. As well, they must order in bundles of 25. Yes, this means dispite the reaserch you did into the ginko "chi chi," unless together we get 25 ordered, there will be no ginko "chi chi."
Tuesday, October 9, 2007
Thursday, September 27, 2007
Monday, September 24, 2007
Wednesday, June 27, 2007
One of the whips is very wire scarred. I think it is going to go into the garden to grow to a point where its currently mangled trunk won't matter.
The other tree is fine. I took off the wire at the perfect time to keep the marking to a minimum, but the tree is holding its place.
The tree has grown one set of branch about 5-6 leaves before they were trimmed to two; then they have budded and leafed but are only at 2-3 leaves.
Thursday, June 21, 2007
Saturday, June 16, 2007
Tuesday, June 5, 2007
Monday, June 4, 2007
Thursday, May 31, 2007
So in jinn, especially on big jinn, why don't we start with some darkened lime sulphur, and finish with the whiter?
Wednesday, May 30, 2007
The sulphur kills molds and spores which cause decay in the wood. It also makes the wood unpleasant to insects.
The lime, combined with the the sulphur, kills everything else by corroding proteins.
the lime dries to a nice white color, like old dead branches.
Saturday, May 26, 2007
If one is diligent with their plant, one can feed one's plant any plant food whatsoever.
However, if one is poor at plant care, even a perfect nutrient mix can weaken or kill a plant.
Fertilizers are made of salts, which dissolve in water. The plant is salty too, usually more so then the nutrient solution. When the salty water touches the salty plant, all the water involved (and the nutrients) go to the saltiest area.
When the plant is salty, then the plant absorbs the water and nutrients.
If one is over feeding one's plants, then there will be an accumulation of unabsorbed salts in the soil. One day this accumulation will result in the water/nutrient solution to be saltier then the plant. In this case the salty water inside the plant will be drawn outside the plant by the salty water/nutrient mix. When this sad thing happens, the plant will dehydrate, even though it is surrounded by water.
Tuesday, May 22, 2007
The Otho professional garden problem solver, one of the largest books (and most comprehensive) for solving plant problems, suggests this as a remedy for juniper root rot.
"When replanting area, use plants which are resistant to root rot."
When one is talking about their 20yr juniper that was grown from seed, this answer is utterly useless.
Another fellow, on the internet, discussed a maple disease he called tight bark syndrome. He claims that it is not a well know disease, because people who have infected plants tend to discard them. He argues that as long as people consider maples cheap and easy to replace, then maple diseases will remain common.
These are problems the plant health professionals are not interested in because common tree buyers don't love their plants - they love things about the plants.
We love our plants.
Wednesday, May 16, 2007
Monday, May 14, 2007
Sunday, May 13, 2007
Saturday, May 12, 2007
Of course there is no reason to transplant a bonsai twice in one year. Or is there? When I read about the expo in 1912, where bonsai were introduced to the west, the picture showed a Japanese fella planting out his bonsai trees in a small plot. But because the display was only there over the summer, I assume the FIRST TREES in the WEST were double transplanted.
Oh yea - in the northern cities, people plant out fig trees in spring then dig them up in fall.
Friday, May 11, 2007
Thursday, May 10, 2007
If a willow cutting was taken - and I have heared that one can use up to a six inch piece of wood - and left in a bucket of water, then that cutting will throw roots and survive.
I have treated my birch with cutting hormones and planted them. We shall see.
Oh- I think this will work because both birch and willow are swamp trees, which means that they have a more favorable symbiosis with water then most trees. These trees thrive in wet, wet conditions that would rot out or kill another tree. Hence I think that having no roots (due to water rot) is not uncommon in these trees, and they expect a life of throwing out fresh roots simply for survival. Red alder and swamp cypress are other swamp trees.
Saturday, May 5, 2007
Why? The horse chestnut has a very dominant apical bud. So much so that the horse chestnut will grow as a single branch for many years - with no branching at all. The solution to causing the tree to branch is to remove the apical but before or while the but is swelling. The secondary buds then burst forth bringing many branches in many direction, each of which with their own apical dominance.
The garry oak seeding is a slow growing, stringy tree. Removing the buds could promote branching, and more branches also means the tree puts on wight faster.
My de-budded garry oaks are developing about 5 to 7 branches per twig, up from 1 to 3. I think the technique will help.
Wednesday, May 2, 2007
Cannor Sears - they have some azaleas for $30. They are the variety "moon" something. They have white flowers with pink edges. The trunk girth is about 3/4 an inch or a little bigger.
Red Barn Market. There are some nice pieris in bin 11 out back. They could be worked as is - The variety I mean has a very dense crown already, but I did not look at the name. They could also be cut back. I cut back mine in the winter - back to a stump, and it is budding right now. They are about an inch in girth, and the crown is closer to the trunk then in some pieris. Unfortunately they are $40.
I consider both of these too expensive. However, I am one of the members who spends too much on trees. These are reasonable pieces of stock for their prices, but there are better deals for those who look.
Sunday, April 29, 2007
Well, these organic people have forgotten that ants cultivate aphids in return for the secretions the aphids produce. When a few hundred strong ant colony decides they want aphids on your trees a shot of water or squishing the bugs will not control the problem.
Saturday, April 28, 2007
1) it helps nutrients emulsify with mixed base - if it is an oil/water nutrient/base mixture.
2) it can coat the leave of a plant; reducing transpiration and reducing the chances of leaf fungi.
3) and most interestingly, it reduces water tension. Water tension is caused by the magnetic properties of H2O. This is why we have such large holes in our pots - the water holds onto itself and does not drain from the pot unless the hole is really big - in which case lots of water comes out at one time, which pulls more water out with it. Water tension is why we have to water some plants twice or three times. The water hits the surface, and because the first part beads off, it all beads off in one magnetic lump.
So surficant reduces water tension.
Tuesday, April 24, 2007
Taub's experiments were meant to determine the difference between low and high amounts of nitrogen feed in 19 species of grasses (1/10th strength and full strength of a complete nutrient product). It turned out there was a 34% increase in leaf mass; a 12% increase in the amount of leaves; but oddly, a 4% reduction in the size of those leaves.
I say feed, feed, feed.
Monday, April 23, 2007
The small branches were happy, but the larger branches had not set. So I unwired the small branches, and left alone all the large branches I had not unwired. I used guy wire to resecure the branches had unwired.
Sunday, April 22, 2007
The japanese maple requires a little stress to show both its fall colors and its variegation/leaf shape. A healthy japanese maple looks more like a green leaf palmatum then whatever else it usually is - though this effect may be very slight.
Wednesday, April 18, 2007
It takes alot of time to apply wire to every branch!
Before today I did not think it was worth it. However, I needed a small juniper branch to cover a very specific area on the tree. There were 15 branchlettes. I wired the branch to heck, and it did what I wanted it too.
Now I wonder how much more I can do with branches that don't need to be wired to the nines, but could be anyway.
Monday, April 16, 2007
From a handful of japanese maples seeds I have maples with red bark and with green bark. I have leaves with very pronounced lobes, some like Canadian flag, others have 3 lobes instead of 5.
From another batch of seedlings, I have one tree which is very sensitive to dryness compared to its siblings. It will droop at the slightest provocation, though its growing conditions were identical (until I learned it was different). By the way - it is not more thirsty, it just wilts faster.
I am wondering how to incorprate such details into my bonsai.
Wednesday, April 11, 2007
The darn aphids are out in numbers too. I have tries squishing, spraying with a hose, Tabasco and water. This year I am using pesticide. Just whatever Canadian Tire sells.
Sunday, April 8, 2007
I was thinking of screening some dried steer manure and replacing a portion of the bark in my soil mix with this. It may not be worth it, if I take proper care of my bonsai.
However, my garden stock could benefit from this - and it certainly wouldn't hurt them.
Wednesday, April 4, 2007
I wish steer manure came in 2 to 5 mm particles...
Sunday, April 1, 2007
Well now it is spring and I have hit the point where I am ignoring my book studies. Buying soil, ordering seedlings, potting, wiring; and most of all enjoying!
My nicest maple is half leaf right now. The leaves are very odd, when half formed.
Friday, March 30, 2007
Some trees which are slow at breaking their buds this year are the smooth bark elms, hackberry, hedge maple, and dwarf dawn redwood.
For most trees, root growth comes later then bud break, but not by much. Some exceptions are yew, boxwood, some pines, and wisteria.
Keep an eye out for aphids. Use leaf friendly bug sprays; lime sulphur will cause problems with leaves.
Monday, March 26, 2007
A couple things needed to be done. I had to put out my display ready bonsai. I usually have projects or favorites out on my main table. I hosed the dirt and debris off all my tables. I weeded pots. I cleaned my yard of small pots and plant flats - the wind really throws then around.
I have arranged for my photographer friend to teach me how to photograph my bonsai better. I don't thing composition is the problem. It is depth and color and background contrast that I have the most trouble with. With many of my pictures of my bosai, it is hard to tell the difference between the bonsai and the shrubs in the backyard. But even with a solid backdrop I find the back branches 'vanish.' Part of bonsai is the 3-dimensionality, something the 2-D picture steals away somehow.
Friday, March 23, 2007
Wednesday, March 14, 2007
Monday, March 5, 2007
I like having bonsai.
Friday, March 2, 2007
It is all about aftercare.
I bring my plants right up against the house, where the radiant temperatures of the house will keep the repotted plant a few degrees warmer then outside is in general. Others put their repotted plants in an unheated garage or shed. Still others have a greenhouse to leave the plants in. One could put their trees into a deep pit, where the ground will insulate them.
The only other solution is to wait until after the early March Victoria cold snap. Most of us know it is coming. And the trees whose buds have broken aren't going to be growing very fast when the temperatures are so low. So if the tree doesn't bud out too early, it is ok to wait.
Tuesday, February 27, 2007
I happened to find that many seedlings come up under the tree the next spring. I collected many of these in a ziplock bag, with a wet paper towel in it, and transported these new trees home.
Well, it is ziplock bag time for the next month! I saw the first crop of seedlings break their shell on Feb 25.
I will wait another week for my first harvest.
1) I had better have time to pot them up fast!
2) I have to have soil too - something I am low on right now.
3) if I wait to long, the seedlings will lose growing time this year.
Let me elaborate on point 3. Seedlings (in general) grow only from the energy they have stored within them. They do not need any nutrients or anything from the environment. After the first quick burst the plants begin to utilize their environment to generate more energy and structures. If the seedling is disturbed during the first flush of growth, it will quickly recover and re-establish itself.
So damaging the maple seedlings roots by pulling it out of the ground, and then storing the plant in a plastic bag with 200 of its brethren for a couple hours while I finish my errands; won't harm the seedlings a bit - if I do it to the seedlings first couple of weeks of their life.
Saturday, February 24, 2007
Someone in the bonsai club suggested that it probably depends on the species. Therefore, this year I am keeping a list of which tree's roots are active at repotting time, and which are not.
On a related note, bonsai literature tends to assume that new root tips are sensitive to breakage, freezing, and chemical burn from fertilizers. But some other literature suggests that new roots, new root tips and roots in general are as hardy as they need to be. Hence cuttings, seedlings and newly repotted trees can all be fertilized normally.
Friday, February 23, 2007
But what happened to me today was wonderful. I walked in and the nursery employee said to me - "Here is my damaged, discounted, over wintered stock."
The Escallonia I was offered was well zig zagged, it had aged looking bark, and it was 60% off. So was the other one I found in the pile of last years stock. The only branches which had broken off were the larger, longer branches that would have had to have been pruned off any way.
Over wintered, and what that means:
The nurseries price by pot size. They pot things up to larger pots in spring, like bonsai artists repot then. In spring, one is usually purchasing the smallest product for the highest price. Now, after a year in that pot, we know the plant is healthy; as well as it has grown, in someone else's yard, as well as in girth. So now we have a larger plant for the same amount of money, in the over wintered plants.
Monday, February 19, 2007
I thought I had done a good job of reveling the roots. I was wrong. The plant was an informal upright when I left the workshop. The roots were quite one sided, but impressive none the less. Now it has fantastic radial roots. Now it is a slanting style, and I do mean 45 degree angle.
Anyway, repotting should not be a problem. This is mostly because we live in Victoria with its lack of winter; the other part is aftercare - mist the tree and try not to rot the healing roots with too much water, nor dry them out with too little.
Sunday, February 18, 2007
Tuesday, February 13, 2007
The yearlings had plenty of roots. I chose the lowest, most radial roots and chopped the rest. I planted them in cut-down gallon pots; and put them close to the house so they don't catch any sudden frosts.
I would not do this with a bonsai-ed willow. Willows drop branches when stressed. Don't ask what stresses a willow, the list is too long. Dropping branches is, of course, very bad for a bonsai. Take the utmost care to baby willows.
But the yearling trees have no branches - so either the "one branch" will die, or nothing bad will happen because there are no branches. I have stated why I don't think the one branch theory will happen.
Monday, February 5, 2007
Workshops ($50-$80) start participants off with a tree, so they do not teach selection principles. They cover identifying the bonsai within the raw material, and how to make the tree like that. They do not cover how to care for the tree horticulturally. Nor do they teach how to refine a tree with the passage of time.
Bonsai is learned gradually; through trial and error; reading books; conversing with people of experience; and looking at bonsai trees. The Joshua Roth New Talent Competition considers "new talent" those with less then 10 years experience.
Tuesday, January 30, 2007
Thursday, January 25, 2007
I had planned on starting this blog with the first bud break. Here we are! The reason I started the blog early was so it would have some content right from the official opening.
I got this elm from a club member. She gave it to me because I had lost a big elm that summer. I have planted this elm in my garden and I am just going to let it grow. When the trunk is around two inches I will cut it back hard, that should be in two or three years.
What one needs to know about growing bonsai from seed is how to a) care for a seedling and b) develop good stock.
a) seedlings in crummy peat pellets are prone to drying out, or being drowned. This is because of the peat - it is either bone dry, or saturated. It doesn't spend much time slightly moist, what plants like. I suggest potting soil because people know how to keep plants alive in potting soil, or sand/gravel because the is what the seedling would want.
b) nebari and trunk girth are what is important about stock. The seedling has to be root trained by planting it on top of a flat surface, so its roots spread. Good nebari results in a greater trunk girth then a tree with poor nebari. But trunk girth is also obtained by unrestricted growth. This is why a bonsai from seed is a long term project.
Small bonsai from seed - 5 yrs
normal sized bonsai from seed - 12 yrs
large bonsai from seed - 18 yrs
Tuesday, January 23, 2007
...make tree growing boxes, benches and tags.
...replant some trees. Some young trees need to be repotted to take advantage of their vigour. The older trees need to be repotted because the soil in the pots has broken down to a level which makes watering difficult.
...dig up some garden growing plants, and pot them.
...dig up some garden growing plants, place a tile under them and re-plant them.
...trim the garden growing plants - no bar branches; trim to promote low branching.
...clean dead areas on trees - to heal over, or to apply new lime sulphur.
...do air layerings when the buds start to swell.
Friday, January 19, 2007
These trees are honeysuckle. They bud back super well from old wood and hard cuts. They also shed bark like mad. Fortunately, they were planted in front of a cement wall. The roots did not have a chance to spread far, but they were deep. I just hacked at the deep roots with my shovel. I took home 4 root balls, which ended up as 6 plants. One is thick (2 1/2 inch), two have nice shape and taper, two have dynamite roots, and the third is pleasantly grotesque. On the last I had to choose between the roots which emerged from the trunk at the surface of the soil, or the the heavier roots from the bottom of the bucket the plant was grown in before planting out. I chose the thick roots, but this leaves me with a bulge where the top roots were.
Monday, January 15, 2007
Thursday, January 11, 2007
Tuesday, January 9, 2007
Of course, when you have lots of pots outside, one must be careful to tidy them every so often. I found two large spider nests in my pot collection, as well as several spider egg sacks. It is possible the two live spiders were dangerous. The reclusive and widow spiders around here are dangerous. An upside down liter sized garden pot is about the perfect size and shape for these kinds of spiders; and they will also use smaller and larger spaces, like all of your other pots. Heck, just be careful!
Saturday, January 6, 2007
Wednesday, January 3, 2007
Mr. Miyagi gave Daniel, the hero of the movie Karate kid one, a bonsai tree. But this occurred on the first meeting of Mr. Miyagi and Daniel. Furthermore, Mr. Miyagi offered Daniel a tree for his mother, someone he had never met.
Mr. Miyagi had eight trees visible in the movie. Since he was an apartment building manager, I assume this was his whole collection. I do not understand why Mr. Miyagi was so generous with his bonsai "children." I thought he must have hated some trees and wanted to get rid of them; but he actually gave Daniel a choice of what trees to take. Whatever, Mr Miyagi.
Also, in the third movie Mr. Miyagi takes his prized bonsai and plants it in the wild, in a deep crevasse by the sea shore. Daniel tries to recover this masterpiece left by Miyagi years ago, only to drop the tree in seawater. Miyagi nurses the tree back to health, as any bonsai adept could do.
My Question is: what would you do with your best bonsai when you are perfectly healthy and have lots of time but no-longer want to do bonsai? I bet that bonsai would go to a good home and artist, and would not be abandoned in the wild.
This also shows Daniel had no clue about bonsai: a bonsai tree with 5 year wild/field growth, and it's a pine - this would not fetch a good price on any market. The branches would be leggy.
Tuesday, January 2, 2007
Nursery soil is about the same but the soil mixture includes a substantial portion of bark. Too much bark promotes too much moisture. As well, the high proportion of bark means a lot of organic material is breaking down at the same time. The bark is composed of cellulose, it has a harder structure which takes about 1 year to become compacted.
The solution to a plant in a compacted soil is to transplant the tree when the tree is healthy and vigorous. If it is not the right time for transplanting, the plant's soil should be fully immersed in water occasionally. Keep the plant's soil underwater until it stops bubbling.