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"And the LORD God made ... trees that were pleasing to the eye ..." Gen. 2:9, New International Version.

"Bonsai isn't just something I do; it's part of what I am." Remark to my wife and daughter.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

"And here Comes ... Feetlebaum."

Feetlebaum, as I mentioned in an earlier post, was a fictional racehorse, in Spike Jones' 1940's-era spoof of the "William Tell Overture;" the horse trailing far behind the others. I don't know how often I heard my dad repeat the line: "And here comes ... Feetlebaum" (with the last syllable in a sepulchral bass.)

"Feetlebaum" was also what I nicknamed one of my in-development ponderosas, the one that was lagging farthest behind all the rest this spring. As of mid-June, Feetlebaum's buds, while alive, still had not opened.

But in the last five weeks, Feetlebaum has made very encouraging progress! The new needles have opened; the gray arrow in the first picture points to some of them.

Next year's branch-end buds have set; see the next picture.

Next spring's apical bud, set and maturing.

And -- the most encouraging development -- Feetlebaum is doing well enough to break, and sustain, an adventitious bud on the lower trunk.

Breaking of adventitious buds indicates a tree with plenty of resources available.

In the Spike Jones piece, 20-to-1 underdog Feetlebaum somehow comes from behind to win the race. This tree has not "passed the field" -- others in the project are still further along in development -- but it's sure doing better than it was!

Go, Feetlebaum!

(To see my earlier post where Feetlebaum is mentioned, please click here.)

:-)  :-)  :-)

Saturday, July 20, 2013

"Hamisu" for the Heat! (With thanks to Michael Hagedorn.)

     Summer heat seems to be creating problems in some unusual places. Even a couple of bonsai-blogging friends in Northern Ireland have reported temperatures up to 33 ° C (91.4° F,) which apparently is quite unusual for them. While we here haven't had the extreme heat and drought of last summer, we just went thru the first "heat advisory" of the season, and I'm sure there will be more.

Wayne Schoech of "Bonsai Bark" blog thoughtfully reposted an item from Michael Hagedorn of Cratageus Bonsai, that has to do with summer heat. I did a little digging, and here are excerpts from two posts Michael wrote about the Japanese practice of hamisu.

Friday, July 12, 2013

"The Best-Laid Schemes;" Demo at Fair, Part 2.

"The best-laid schemes o' mice an' men
Gang aft agley [go oft astray]."
-- Robert Burns

     Actually, plans for a bonsai presentation at the Kosciusko Community Fair on Saturday, July 13th, haven't really gone "agley." The Master Gardeners have asked me to postpone my program until their Fall Harvest event at the beginning of October, and I have agreed. The topic will still be bonsai with tropical trees, and the presentation will still be open to the public.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Upcoming Bonsai Program at the Kosciusko Community Fair

     Saturday afternoon, July 13, at 2 PM, I'll give a presentation on bonsai at the Kosciusko Community Fair, under the auspices of the Kosciusko County Master Gardeners. If you are in or near Warsaw, Indiana, that day, please stop by. The Home and Family Arts Building has a workstation purpose-built for demonstrations, and that's where I'll be.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

A Wacky Remedy --

-- that just might help.

John Kirby once referred to my yamadori ponderosa pine as a "happy pine!" This season, I'm afraid, it is anything but. Many new buds failed this spring: they started to grow, then died and dried up. Some buds are alive and pushing new needles, but are at least a month behind schedule. Foliage from previous years is still basically healthy, but looks "tired;" I don't know how better to describe it.