mindGrazing

chewing ideas down to stubble, then moving on…

Posts Tagged ‘plants’

Bonsai Non-Failures!

Posted by Jason on March 18, 2009

Ok friends, spring has sprung and it’s time for me to show you some trees I haven’t killed. I’m so stoked at these trees especially, because I tried some things without the immediate help of any mentors, and they’ve all worked out well so far.

First is a couple pictures of a little elm tree that I dug out of my in-laws’ yard (with permission) and unceremoniously plopped into a pot with some potting soil. I pulled all of the leaves off that were on the thing already and cut it back a bit. It was originally about 3 feet tall with a trunk about as thick as my little finger. So it kinda sat around and didn’t do anything while the weather was cold (ya know like 50’s), but in the last couple weeks, the buds have started to swell and voile! Little baby leaves all over the place!

Full shot

Full shot

 

Buds on the Trunk

Buds on the Trunk

Branch Buds

Branch Buds

The next two trees are California Sycamores and they were both stuck in the same 5-gallon pot. I’ve been working the fatter one, chopping it back and trying to make some sense out of it, but I haven’t worked the skinny one at all really. A month or so ago I decided to dig them out of the 5-gallon pot and separate them both into 1-gallons. I found they were joined at the root system, so I basically butchered everything under the soil to get them to fit into the little pots. I wasn’t sure if they would survive, and I’ve been anxiously awaiting the little red buds popping off from the trunk. They have and now they are turning into little green leaves. Wahoo! I’m so excited that things are actually working the way that I’ve read they’re supposed to work!

 

Tall and skinny

Tall and skinny

Baby Leaves

Baby Leaves

Now for the fat sycamore.

 

This one has potential!

This one has potential!

Sprouts all over!

Sprouts all over!

They all have several years to go but they’re alive for now!

Posted in Bonsai, California Natives, gardening | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

New Acquisitions in the Bonsai World

Posted by Jason on January 6, 2009

Over the Christmas Break, I got a chance to work for my new buddy Dave and help him trim his hundreds of trees that he’s been propagating for quite a few years now. He’s got a great collection of “real” bonsai in addition to his many starter trees. I got to work on a little bit of everything. For my efforts, Dave hooked me up with some real nice material to augment my collection. The olives are in 1-gallon containers, while the pomegranate and and the big juniper are 5-gallon containers. Click for enlarged pics!
Check out the gnarly base!

Check out the gnarly base!

This olive tree has a really cool base on it. We trimmed him back pretty hard, but he’ll be fine. I’m pretty sure the base gets all giant and gnarly like that from letting some of the suckers grow wild from the bottom, and then chopping them off after they’ve been growing for a while. I still have to do some wiring of the branches and stuff like that, but there’s no big hurry.

This has some cool movement!

This has some cool movement!

 

This olive doesn’t have as cool of a base, but its shape is totally awesome and twisty. It’s a little closer than the previous one to actually deserving a bonsai pot, and I’ve pulled the top left branches down a little further so that they’re actually horizontal now. Dave picked this one out for me and wanted to see what I could do with it. I’m tempted to allow any suckers to grow out of the bottom in the spring and thicken up the base over a couple years. We’ll see. Both of the olives are about 6-8 inches tall with maybe like 3/4-inch trunks.

Wait till spring!

Wait till spring!

 

This pomegranate (I hope it’s a pomegranate… I can’t tell that well with no leaves!) has a trunk width of about 2 inches, and I’m working it into a nice-ish broom style bonsai. Pretty much all of the branches were growing straight up before we pulled them down to resemble an actual tree. This one has quite a bit more development of secondary and tertiary branching on the branches that come directly off the trunk. Dave said this one doesn’t produce a lot of fruit, but it does produce quite a flower show each year. Sweet!

This is a big one!

This is a big one!

This big juniper is awesome. Dave wanted me to find something in the growing yard that could be showable within a couple years. This guy is very cool. There is a big shari or deadwood strip going from the base up to about that first branch on the left. The vein of living wood runs up the back most of all. The trunk on this guy is about 3.5-4 inches at the base. I’ve cleaned it up a little bit and will make some more jin or deadwood branches on some of the smaller branches on the right side. This is a very cool tree! Check out the detailed pic of the trunk below.

Soooo cool!

Soooo cool!

Anywho, thanks again to Dave for all his help and guidance. I helped him a tiny bit, but he’s been more than generous with his knowledge and material. I think the best thing in working all those trees is that I’ve gained like 10 or 20 years worth of tactile experience under my eyes and hands. If I only had one or two olive trees, it would take me forever to muster the experience in number of trimmings that I enjoyed in these past two weeks!

Posted in Bonsai, plants | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »