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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.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Bonsai Stolen - Toronto

     We sometimes see alerts about bonsai stolen in Europe, but - sadly! - it happens here in North America too. Please click on the link to the information at Lakeshore Bonsai:

Here's a picture, from Lakeshore Bonsai. Please be alert for this bonsai; a tree of this quality will not just blend into the typical backyard in the USA or Canada. Nor will it be easy to dispose of if the bonsai community, and our friends, are on the watch.

American larch bonsai (Larix laricina,) stolen in Toronto, Ontario on June 23, 2014. Photo from Lakeshore Bonsai.
If you have your own blog, especially in the USA or Canada, please pass on this alert! I learned of this theft from Ian Young's Bonsai Eejit. Ian learned of it from Lakeshore Bonsai. You get the idea. And writing this post has taken me all of about 15 minutes, link, picture, and all. Not much to ask, in my opinion.

}:-(   }:-(   }:-(

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Ft. Wayne Workshop with Adam Lavigne, Part 1.

     This past Tuesday, June 17, the Fort Wayne Bonsai Club had a workshop with Adam Lavigne of Orlando, Florida. Adam is the owner of  a studio and nursery (painting and bonsai,) gives classes, leads workshops, and writes a humorous and knowledgeable blog. If I understand correctly, we were part of his inaugural bonsai-teaching tour in this part of the USA.

Adam brought along a good variety of styling-ready stock. Some people bought trees from him for the workshop, some brought trees they already had, and some did both. (I was in the first group; more on that in my next post.) Adam styled trees for whose who wanted him to do so; for those who wanted coaching and tips as they worked on their trees themselves, he did that.

Since Adam is from Florida and works a lot with tropicals, it's no surprise that several tropical trees were brought to the workshop, including Bruce Kennedy's Florida buttonwood (Conocarpus erectus.). My camera caught Adam just as he was listening to the question: "How much of a buttonwood's rootball can safely be removed at a point like this?" (That's not annoyance on his face; it's careful attention.) 

Florida buttonwood is a good subject for artificial deadwood.

He answered the question a moment later -- !

About half the rootball was removed, as Jeff Calder held the patient.

Becky Dull's juniper (shimpaku, I believe) was one of the most promising pieces of raw material there, in my opinion.

Adam works on Becky's juniper as Ed, Tony and Angie also watch.
Explaining something to Becky about separating layers of foliage.
This tree will be a prize-winner in a few years!

One of Adam's specialties is dwarf yaupon holly, Ilex vomitoria 'Schilling's Dwarf.' Several of us asked in advance that Adam reserve 'Schillings' for us, which he did.

Discussing options with Bruce Kennedy for Bruce's 'Schilling' yaupon holly.
Finished for now. This is actually the back, but it looks good from here too!

Adam was also promoting a new tool company, American Bonsai Tool and Supply. I'm not sure if he has a formal arrangement with them, but he definitely thinks well of their tools! (I intend to check them out.)

He even cuts wire with his scissors, though he doesn't recommend that others do so.

Among the trees Adam brought along were Ficus microcarpa and Ficus salicaria, and some of each species were bearing fruit. He drew our attention to the fact that on the F. salicaria fruit the distal stomas were all open, but on many of the F. microcarpa figs, the stomas had closed. That happens when the fruit has been successfully pollinated. The specific wasp that pollinates F. microcarpa, Adam told us, has found its way to Florida, and microcarpa seedlings have begun to appear in the landscape!

Very interesting!

For Adam's Art and Bonsai, please click here.

For his side of his visit to Fort Wayne, please click here.

:-)  :-)  :-)

Saturday, June 14, 2014

"Ramification Techniques," from Cartagena Bonsai.

Sergio Martínez's graphic for his post.
     Two weeks ago, Paul Stokes at ofBonsai asked me to translate a post from the blog of Sergio Martínez, owner of Cartagena Bonsai in the city of the same name on Spain's Mediterranean coast. I enjoy translating bonsai-related items, and usually learn something in the process, so I was happy to fit it in when I had a chance.

Mr. Martínez gives a good explanation of clip-and-grow, with plenty of pictures that clarify any questions very nicely. Wiring he leaves for another post. More important, though, he goes into some of the underlying concepts which a bonsaiist needs to consider when deciding on an approach to a given project. One example: the design one wants to execute needs to be considered when deciding whether to rely more on wiring or on clip-and-grow, just as truly as the species's characteristics do.

For Mr. Martínez's original Spanish post, please click here.

For the English translation, please click here.

Let me leave you with another of Mr. Martínez's pictures from this article, to whet your interest.

Mr. Martínez's plan for a bunjin olive (Olea europaea.)

And by the way, and completely unrelated to bonsai: I learned that the city of Cartagena is more than 2200 years old and was founded by Hasdrubal Barca, brother-in-law to the famous Carthaginian general Hannibal Barca who gave the Romans such a hard time.

:-)  :-)  :-)

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Surprise Figs

     I'm presently growing four species of Ficus: F. burtt-davyi, F. buxifolia, F. microcarpa 'Tigerbark,' and F. salicaria. They have all set fruit at one time or another, except the 'Tigerbark.' That's a little surprising, since F. microcarpa is one of the figs most widely grown for bonsai, and has a well-earned reputation for being relatively easy to grow.

And I've seen fruit on other cultivars of F. microcarpa, like 'Green Island' and 'Gold Coin.' Just not 'Tigerbark', which appeared to be the holdout. Until a couple of weeks ago, that is, when my oldest 'Tigerbark' surprised me with a few figs!

Figs on Ficus microcarpa 'Tigerbark.' Yellow cast due to artificial lighting.
The fruit is small, not much more than half the size of an ordinary dinner pea. Like the fruit of many Ficus species, it doesn't dangle. The darker spot at the distal end (blue arrow in the picture above) marks the stoma which, in the wild, allows a symbiotic wasp entrance to pollinate the flowers. (For more on the structure of a fig fruit, see  this post.)

This tree is parent to many other 'Tigerbarks' that I have kept or sold. I have two rooted cuttings that I'm readying for sale now, and one of them has started throwing figs!

New figs developing on a rooted cutting of F. microcarpa 'Tigerbark.'
 There won't be viable seeds without the presence of the correct pollinating wasp. But I'm happy with the situation all the same!

(For more about my big 'Tigerbark' as parent to many others, see this post.)

:-)  :-)  :-)

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Anniversary Haiku

     Princene and I celebrated our 13th anniversary today. As one of her anniversary gifts to the bonsaiist-to-the-core man she married, she composed a haiku for me:

Silvering hair,
Bonsai clippers placed with care -
Happy man content.

She has not attempted many haiku, but I'd say she did a fine job with this one!

Then our daughter NaevEnya took a picture to go with the haiku:

My wife writes a good haiku, and my daughter takes a good picture! (Tree is a Black Hills spruce.)
(For any who don't know, haiku is a Japanese form of poetry that, like bonsai, has come to be widely appreciated in the West. A haiku consists of just three lines, and traditionally contains 17 syllables, in a 5-7-5 arrangement, tho minor variation in the number of syllables is allowed. It need not rhyme, and usually evokes a mood and/or has something in nature as its subject.)
Thank you, sweetie! 
:-)  :-)  :-)