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Bald Cypress is a "deciduous conifer"- it has cones and sheds its feather-like foliage in the Autumn. These seed were collected in November 2011, stored through the winter in a bucket of water then planted in a wet-muck seedbed in February 2012.
Broken Bald Cypress cones expose the seed- Feather-like foliage
Seeds are produced annually and good seed production occurs about every 3 years. Seeds are dispersed more frequently by flood waters. Under swamp conditions, the best seed germination generally takes place on a sphagnum moss or a wet-muck seedbed. On better drained soils, Bald Cypress seed usually fail to germinate due to lack of surface water. Soil saturated for 1 to 3 months after seed-fall is required for germination. Seedlings require light for good growth, thus control of competing vegetation is necessary.
Germination takes place on a wet-muck seedbed------- Bald Cypress seed sprout
Taxodium distichum seedlings
It has been six months since the sprouting Bald Cypress seed were planted
Bald Cypress tree is an excellent choice for someone who is just getting started with bonsai. Seeds and small trees are easily collected in this area, now is the time to find trees with cones and watch for them to turn brown so that the seed can be collected just before the cones open. The best digging time for cypress is from mid-December to late February. Bald cypress bud back easily and will produce vigorous sprouts from the stumps. Taxodium distichum are frequently planted in groups in a single container, forming a Bonsai forest. Japanese term for growing a bonsai from seed is Misho.
Taxodium distichum along the Altamaha River
Pond Cypress Taxodium distichum var. nutans in still-water wetlands of SE Georgia
Collected Bald Cypress
The Ginkgo Tree is also called the "Maidenhair tree" and nicknamed "The Stink Bomb Tree."
yellow fruit has a large seed inside
Gather the seeds as they fall from the tree (wear good latex gloves). Remove the fleshy coating (wear good gloves!) crush the coat and squeeze the seed out with ones fingers. Then rinse the seeds a few times until they are very clean!) and let them dry well. Store them in a closed container filled with slightly moistened sphagnum moss in the fridge or in a cool, dry place until they are planted in spring. When they are sown, carefully pop the seed shell open.
From a seed collected in1980
Some people are sensitive to the chemicals in the fleshy outer layer. These people should handle the seeds with care when preparing the seeds for consumption, wear disposable gloves. When I cleaned the seed of these trees, I had several 5 gallon buckets full. The cheap rubber gloves developed holes and my entire arm was coated with the juice. fortunately I had no allergic reaction, but the next morning my arms had turned black. Two weeks later the skin pealed a way........
The other tree from the seed collected in1980
The Ginkgo Tree is also called the "Maidenhair tree" and nicknamed "The Stink Bomb Tree."
Wire is an essential in bonsai for maintaining shape and creating movement. I took a few cuttings off of one of my Ficus benjamina to see what I could do with wiring them. I wired two new Cascades, an interesting spiral, and I wired 5 together to create an upright tree.
Obtain decent length cuttings
Obtain wire at least the length of the cutting
Apply wire and create movement, being careful not to snap the cutting
Comments always welcome!
A friend and I made a trip up to Meehans Miniatures, a large bonsai nursery on the East Coast, yesterday. It's a nice hour drive from where I live. The owners have been working with bonsai for 38 years. 38! They had decent prices and were very wonderful people. I picked up two trees. The first is a Willow Leaf Ficus I bought for $70 and the second is a Ficus benjamina 'Christine' in desperate need of a trunk chop. I just liked the movement in the lower trunk.
Bad roots that will need removal:
I was not looking for anything in particular...... just outside my windowsill where I have kept my three flower pots with bonsai (in the making), ginkgo biloba, fig and wisteria. I was attracted by a sudden movement at the base of the gingko biloba sappling and what I saw was something the least expected.... a potter wasp had just landed and it was dragging a caterpillar.
Wonder of wonders...... it had dug a neat hole at the farthest extent of the flower pot and I had no clue of its labor of love. It took all the time it wanted to clean up the larva, at least that is what it appeared to me. The wasp would sting the larva again and again as it it was injecting some fluid inside the larva in preparation of the diet for its baby. Finally it appeared satisfied and dragged the still wriggling caterpillar down inside the dark chamber.
Internet does not talk about potter wasps who live underground. The ones I had written about earlier had made pots of the regular shape and size and the wasps were themselves as close relatives of paper wasps.
My wasp today is of iridescent blue black color and half the size of its cousins reported earlier.
With due apology to the poet: "Men may come and men may go, the potter wasps go on for ever".
I am a natural gardener, untaught and unread. I do my gardening instinctively.
I do not plant my flowers in flower beds. I love azaleas because they do not demand a lot of care and they bloom where they are planted. Azaleas put to shame many other "delicate" flowers when they burst out abloom. The way my azaleas are blooming clearly tells me they are as happy as could be, but not so my hydrangeas; the overgrown crepe-myrtle is too much of a deterrence.
Now, it is time for bonsai-ing a wisteria and a ginkgo biloba. My bonsais are not tiny, I let them grow up to around fifteen to eighteen inches. I have written in my earlier blog that I moved into my present house only couple of a months ago and these bonsais are the very first ones in this house.
I have taken a two years old wisteria plants from an old vine to start my bonsai but my gingko biloba will be growing out of a seed I bought on ebay. I have been fascinated by this plant.
During World War II, Nagasaki and Hirosima were flattened, razed to the ground by the first even nuclear bombs. No one knew how long the two cities would remain thus in ruins but come Spring season, everyone breathed a sigh of relief when a green sprout emerged from the desolate landscape; it was gingko biloba that had stood there for more than two centuries before being burnt to ashes by the nuclear inferno.
I also strongly believe in its medicinal value and hence my favorite subject of bonsai.
By Risidra Mendis
Controlling a tree’s growth, reducing it to more than half its size and admiring the finished product is known as bonsai. However bonsai artistes have failed to see the manipulation and harassment imposed on these trees for many weeks and months, while they cut, wire, clamp, defoliate and chop to get the required design.
It was the Chinese who introduced this art to the Japanese. ‘Bonsai’ is a Japanese pronunciation of the Chinese term penzai. The five basic bonsai styles are formal upright, informal upright, slanting (or windswept), semi-cascade and cascade.
Speaking to The Sunday Leader environment lawyer Jagath Gunewardene said he doesn’t like stunted plants. “I like to see plants grow out naturally and bloom,” Gunewardene said.
Former President Dehiwela Mount Lavinia Horticultural Society Sunila Rajawasan said when we prune or cut branches from a tree or plant it feels it. “This theory has not been proved but I read it in a book. In bonsai you are basically limiting the growth of the tree by controlling its nourishment and lessening the soil. Wires are used to control the growth of the branches and unwanted branches and small roots are cut off,” Rajawasan said.
Landscape Architect and Chartered Architect Shereen Amendra said in nature you find stunted plants. “Due to the low layer of soil and high wind conditions plants are stunted. In Hakgala due to the wind conditions trees that should be 30 to 40 feet high are only three to four feet in height. A bonsai plant was initially created by planting a plant in a shallow pot and exposing it to high winds. However since these conditions couldn’t be found easily wires were used to bend the branches,” Amendra said.
“According to Peter Thomkins and Christopher Bird’s Secret Life Of Plants, plants have their own life. In an experiment one plant was hooked to a machine to test its reaction and another plant was mutilated in front of the previous one. The plant hooked to the machine responded when the other plant was mutilated, therefore proving that plants have their own feelings and energy. The roots are pruned and the growth of the plant is controlled. It’s not torture to the plant but manipulation. A plant needs to complete its cycle within a time period. We cut the branches to get more leaves. We are depriving the plant from completing its normal cycle by forcing it to do what we want,” Amendra said.
She added that if a person has a small garden space and wants to have a bonsai plant that is fine. “It is a lovely art form from a human’s point of view but not from the plant’s point of view,” Amendra said.
Techniques used in bonsai include leaf trimming, pruning, wiring, clamping and defoliation. Copper or aluminium wire is wrapped around branches and trunks to hold them in place until they lignify (convert into wood).
Screw-based clamps are also used for shaping trunks and branches and are a much greater force than wiring. To prevent damage to the tree, the clamps are tightened a little at a time and make their changes over a period of months or years.
In defoliating most or all of the leaves are removed by clipping partway along each leaf’s petiole (thin stem that connects a leaf to its branch). Petioles later dry up and drop off or are manually removed once dry. The tree responds by producing a fresh crop of leaves, but defoliation weakens the tree.
Has been called Ficus salicifolia, Ficus neriifolia, Ficus subulata, and even Ficus mexicana......................
now a new and improved name: FICUS SALICARIA
Has narrow leaves that respond well to leaf reduction techniques
Regular defoliation will help develop ramification.
To defoliate, cut the leaves just above the petiole.
Under very humid conditions and with a dense tropical canopy the tree will drop aerial roots
FICUS SALICARIA will make vigorous roots, called tubers.
Large surface tubers can be cut and carved to create new smaller roots from the cut surfaces.
I started training this tree in 1999
It was in a 4" pot
It thrives in shallow pots and hardly needs any roots for growth. However little root room will slow development so it’s best to put only finished shohin bonsai in a very small pot.
I just removed an airlayer: Pictures
Flattened "muscular" trunks and exfoliating bark, revealing the white inner bark, add an extra special interest to the tree. If the soil does become too dry, the leaves will dry up and fall off; but in 2 weeks it buds out again. And by the 4th week the tree will be covered with new leaves and shoots!
This tree can be grown from cuttings and large branches can be air-layered to form good small trees quickly!
The Seedlings are Growing
One can grow bonsai from seeds a process known as 'misho'
Seedlings can be potted together to form a "forest" or "Clump"
Japanese Maples are spectacular in the fall
Grow in Moist, well-drained soil and give Part Shade
If there are Japanese Maple trees growing near you, the seed are ripening; now is the time to gather the seeds yourself
August has been a busy time in my garden, even though we haven't had much rain. Morning, is the best time to be out though the mosquitos seem to be really thick this year. With school starting next week, I have to get as much done as I can before I am lost to faculty meetings and lesson plans. I plan to bring some of my baby bonsai to my classroom to introduce my students to the art form.
What's Growing In the Yard:
Silver Queen Sweet Corn-about 15 plants over knee high
Beans-whatever the snails leave me
Beets-just poking out
Snapdragons-I thought they would have burned up by now
apache blackberries-first year growth
pineapple-little black bugs got it before me
Gulf coast Blueberry- I hope it makes it
Strawberries- slowly dying
I added a couple of pictures for you. I hope that you don't mind. Witt
Atlast I able to post some of my bonsai picture. Though they are not in a very good condition cause the scorching heat. they will look good in the months of December and January. I requst everybody to take a look on it. And if you have any suggetions or comments please let me know. I will be highly obliged. thank you. have a good day.
There are many ways to grow bonsai; you can grow bonsai from seeds. Growing 'misho' bonsai from seedlings costs less and is very rewarding.
The Japanese Maple Acer palmatum seeds are beginning to Sprout
And all of the Wisteria seed:
Lordy I hate waiting. No camera yet, lol.
I want to get a pic of my Herb Pot. I have two sages, one silver, one purple. A Mother of Thyme and some Garlic Chives (Thanks, Poe!) that were all potted separately. So I tossed them in a big pot and wow, the space. Amazing how much space a couple pots take up! I have two Purple Thai Peppers (thanks to the seed exchange!) I had started in that pot and I repotted them to take inside as it is starting to chill a bit around here. Here is my method of herb pots. It will be great because this means we will have something green out there all winter. I am going to put a firepit out there, yes, it's a balcony. In an apartment building. My building manager was going through an abandoned storage unit and found a small smoker grill and gave it to me. With the lighter fluid. WITH the charcoal. So...we can have FIRE! Been using the heck out of the smoker, first time in years I had my OWN Carolina BBQ. The real stuff. Alder plank smoked fish...oh yum.
I have two new plants out on the balcony, two 'liberated' plants. My excuse? They SAID they wanted to come home with me and we were wandering by...and had been 'out'...and well, they came home with me. A Hardy Fern, I don't do ferns. What is wrong with me? I kidnapped adopted a fern?!? I put it in the hanging basket, and as Shannon said the fern is all 'I'm a FERN! I'm up HIGH! It's COLD and WET and I LOVE IT! WOO! I'M A FERN!' So...guess it has grown on me, it is a family member now. I am sure TIppy would love to meet it but I think the fern is safer outside (she is good about *most* plants, it is the ferny types she just can't help herself about, lol). There is another plant and Shannon has fallen in love with it. It has no use that I know of, it is just pretty. It seems to be getting happier the more it cools down (as if it ever really warmed UP this year, lol). I will take a pic of it...when I get the camera...and it is flowering (several blooms are begining to open) as I am not really a flower growing type either (too selfish with the space) so I know it is simple, but I don't know what it is!
Oh, and as a side note, I have had a few messages and comments about bonsai. If you really REALLY want to get into it, read here: BONSAI! I give a few great tips about them :D
Yeah, no camera yet. Stupid mail, lol.
This is the best time of year to devote some time to your bonsai. Thye do need to be repotted now and them, depending on the tree either one or two years. The pots are small so they tend to get rootbound a bit faster and use most of the nutrients faster. Some people insist on keeping them just as they are but I do NOT recommend that at all! Make the tree's happy. I am never the same about it, I tend to repot half in Fall and the other half in Spring. Whatever strikes me at the time.
I have pictures here that include basic maintenance as well, right here --> BONSAI
Always keep in mind, you feel better with a great haircut. So do they, but that should include the roots as well, consider it giving your tree a great haircut and pedicure. That would make YOU feel great, wouldn't it :D
Removed the Otohime Japanese Maple air layer today
A 4 trunk raft:
For an Updated look at the tree
The layered section was a lower branch that would not be suitable for the final design of the tree. We started the layer about 2 months ago and it had already established a good number of roots. Nothing fancy went into the prep work. I believe we used one side of a shear to shed the bark down to the cambium, then spread rooting hormone over the section and covered it in moist sphagnum moss and a section of a plastic. We then placed wire around the bag to tighten the seal and conserve the moisture.