It's pretty hot right now in the southeast US, in fact the entire east coast is having a heat wave with temps 100+ for many days straight. Excessively high temperatures can be stress for any tree or plant - especially species that are not growing in their 'home' Zone, sometimes even humidity levels being the single downfall - temperature aside. Watering during these hot periods is essential to your trees surviving heat waves such as this - proper watering that is. Early morning and late evenings are the best times - no direct sunlight of intensity on the plants so they aren't burned by water droplets on leaves, and also not evaporating away before reaching the roots properly. You hear a great deal about over-watering in Bonsai, but I have to say I don't think that's quite possible given the current heat wave. I'm sure I'm still not being generous enough to them, but they are all happily sending new growth everywhere so my mix of fertilizing heavily in spring and good watering now seems to be paying off as it should.
Being hot, you could say that my trip to the closest thing to 'Bonsai Heaven' within a good 200-300 miles I'd estimate of my home, wasn't such a good idea in the middle of an afternoon? (I probably lost a few pounds just in water!) So what is bonsai heaven do you ask? Plant City Bonsai located in North Georgia, about 1 1/2 hours from my home - no matter how you try to skirt Atlanta's parking lots - I mean Interstates!
I was lucky enough to meet the owner of Plant City and Bonsai artist Steve Cratty while there, and really gained a good deal of insight just from walking around his gardens and hearing his thoughts on Bonsai, my choices that day for material - and in general finally getting to 'pick the mind' of a local artist who is basically an institution for material in finished and pre-bonsai stages in this area. Quite a selection of stock material that is attended to with 'bonsai' in it's future from the day it hits Steve's hands. Junipers and Tridents being the ones that caught my eyes that day, I came home with one of both, however he has many species that are calling for me to make a quick return. Absolutely beautiful crab-apples, horn beams, elm, ginko (I must have one, although I'll be old before it's a bonsai - I love seeing them and Steve had an absolute beautiful specimen there to gaze upon!) the list goes on. I'm going to hold off on pictures of my 'material' until each one launches as a project. For now they are getting used to their new home and I'm getting my thoughts around both and how I want to progress each of them, and what they are 'telling' me as I start to tend to them. Truly large material - I have a pot for the Juniper already mapped out in my mind that I already possess, the Trident - not so yet. Maybe Aaron can design a really beautiful low round pot for this beauty to finally rest in (in a year or so from now). Why a year or more? I don't plan to really touch either very much until next season as this is not the right time to be doing much of anything to Bonsai other than applying pesticides and keeping up on the watering. (Fertilizing is generally out for most species when it's this hot, I do lay off the organic and go with emulsions during the hot months).
So back to my visit - I spent almost 2 hours there in the hot sun, and I must say Steve was kind enough to provide some iced tea while I walked around - true gentleman indeed! This was my 2nd visit to Plant City. I was there in early May with my best friend Aaron on a visit and at the time there was a workshop in progress, and I was just amazed at what we'd found. We both stumbled around just enjoying the plants, pots, and atmosphere of the nursery, and did not get to really talk with anyone (just mumbling back and forth to ourselves - 'hey come look at this!'). This visit - I had an agenda.
I also found out that Warren Hill pays a visit fairly often to Plant City, and will have another workshop in October. I plan to be in on this one, time to turn things up a notch and really 'learn' as much as I can and also get involved with the local area Bonsai community which I've so far found to be all-so-far from where I live!
I'll have a great deal to post tomorrow - I've worked on a few projects recently that haven't made the blog yet, so I have catch-up to do and will also be working on a few projects tomorrow. If nothing else the blog will be a good journal showing (hopeful) progress, my enjoyment of the art, and beauty of the trees.