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.