Evergreen Gardenworks Purchases

Brent Walston’s site has been very helpful to me over the past few months of learning about bonsai from any source that I could get to.  He is an experienced grower with a variety of trees in his bonsai nursery.  He has lots of articles that describe in detail the information he has gathered and learned over the years.  I highly recommend checking it out.  I really wanted to buy some bonsai trees from his nursery for a couple of reasons.  One, he has a good variety and I could get trees that aren’t available in my area.  2.  With his contributions to bonsai, I wanted to support his business.  Here’s what I purchased.

Cedrus atlantica (Atlas Cedar) -10° Pale blue green foliage in tufts, much used for formal upright bonsai. Native to the Atlas mountains of North Africa.

Cedrus atlantica ‘Glauca Pendula’ (Weeping Blue Atlas Cedar) Similar to above in needle length and color, but this cultivar is perfectly prostrate and must be staked or trained. It can be worked into any shape but continues to grow and develop a large caliper just like its tree counterpart.

Juniperus chinensis ‘Shimpaku’ (Shimpaku Juniper) The classic Japanese bonsai species. Deep green soft scaly foliage to about 3 feet x 6 feet makes a very dense flat mound. Pinching the tips keeps it very compact. Excellent rock garden plant.

I’m really excited about the trees that he sent and are hoping they have a good future.  It’ll take a few years before I even think about pruning them, but I’ll have species that aren’t very common in this area as bonsai.

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Louisiana Day of Bonsai Hosted by Bonsai Northshore

This was really one of my first real visits to a local bonsai show and I must say it was excellent.  I really enjoyed talking to the people and seeing all the great trees at the show.  Guy Guidry is a great artist, but more importantly, he’s a hospitable person.  He welcomed everyone into his backyard and asked them to stay as long as they wished.  There were several bonsai workshops, including one working on a monstrous bald cypress where his nephew and son were wiring for a few hours.  I managed to take some pictures, but unfortunately, my camera died really early in the day.  I did get some video of the bonsai competitions, but I haven’t been able to edit it yet.  His nursery was really spectacular and I thought the prices were reasonable. Here’s a gallery of the bonsai trees that I did manage to get.  These were on display for judging by everyone that attended.  The kingsville boxwood won.

http://picasaweb.google.com/s/c/bin/slideshow.swf

Three New Junipers

I decided to try my hand at junipers with the addition of these 3 Chinese junipers to my bonsai collection.  I’ve pruned all three to a point where I left enough branching to make decisions later about the final design.  Depending on the way each of them back-buds, I’m hoping that at least one starts showing promise as a viable bonsai sometime next year.  Junipers are really tough and can be repotted in the fall because they experience some renewed root growth right before going into dormancy.

It was also an experience into the bonsai world of shari and jin which was very interesting.  At first, you are certain you are killing the tree by peeling off that much bark, but all of them have showed no signs of slowed growth, and the branching around the scars have not shown signs of being wounded or stressed.  My plan is to let the scars dry out till next summer when I will treat them with a lime-sulphur solution.

Juniper Bonsai #1

Juniper Bonsai #2

Juniper Bonsai #3

Chinese Elm from Schley’s Bonsai

I have wanted to buy a bonsai from a bonsai nursery for a while now to see what kind of quality I would get and to see what the shipping process is like. I started looking for bonsai nurseries in my area to keep shipping costs low, make sure the trees were already adapted to our zone, and to support the local bonsai trade. The closest to me is still about 4 hours away so shipping was my only option. Two really stuck out to me as far as quality and price. Schley’s Bonsai in Florida and Brussell”s Bonsai in North Mississippi.

There are three different trees that I have considered buying. A hornbeam (Korean or American), a Trident Maple, and a Chinese Elm. After looking around, I decided on a chinese elm from Schley’s would be a good compromise between cost and quality. It also helped that out of the people I contacted, they were the most helpful and sent me pictures of individual bonsai when I requested them.

The chinese elm I finally picked was perfect for a style that I don’t have in my bonsai collection, which is a broom. It has a nice start on some nebari (surface roots), a slightly slanting trunk, and some nice twiggy branching. It was sent in a small 6″ pot. I immediately repotted it without touching the roots in a bigger pot so I could encourage a lot of new growth. In the early spring, I’ll prune some of the out of place branches and cut back some of the growth. Here it is:

<img style="max-width: 800px;" src="http://lh3.ggpht.com/subnetrx/SLBgn9ZfMDI/AAAAAAAAC8A/AwgEt1QQ09o/s400/Chinese_Elm%20002.jpg&quot; />

Here it is after repotting.

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Ficus Microcarpa coming along

I have a couple of ficus microcarpa trees that were a part of the first pre-bonsai trees that I bought. This one in particular is my favorite. Ficus trees are really easy to take care of, grow profusely, and can survive many beginner mistakes.  They are tropical, so you have to keep them indoors in the winter.  Under a good florescent light, they will continue to grow nicely.  Here’s a progression of one tree over the past few months.

The above picture is right after it was freshly repotted in late February.  I potted it in orchid mix, which at the time was the best soil I could find that would be fast draining and help the roots to flourish.

After a lot of growth, I started having problems with fungus gnats in the soil.  So, I repotted in a mixture of 50/50 turface and pine bark mulch.  I also did an extensive branch prune due to many branches coming out of the same spot on the trunk, causing bulbous pertrusions.

Unfortunately, between nature and I, this tree has seen a break.  Birds snapped some of the branches, then proceeded to defoliate the rest of the tree.  It has really proven to be a good thing in this specific case.  The branches that are sprouting are in much better places and will provide better balance for the informal upright style that I was shooting for.  I continue to hope this will be one the best bonsai trees in my collection one day.  It’s one of the first trees that people notice when looking at the different varieties on my deck.

Walter Pall’s Gallery

A bonsai master by many accounts, Walter Pall has one of the best (if not the best) bonsai galleries on the internet.  He works mainly with bigger trees, but he is a true artist with a uncanny vision for what the future should be.  I’ve seen progression shots where I think to myself “Wow, he really screwed that up”, only to see it leaf out a year later and look great.  Here’s a link to the gallery.