Sunday, January 30, 2011

Spring is coming - Work to do

After the incredible winter we have had with 3 snow events (1 was the biggest in some 16 years), and very cold stretches where we didn't break freezing for many days straight - I was inwardly very happy with my decision to winterize my trees more properly this year.  So far everything looks to be surviving really well.  (Lessons learned)  I placed all my potted deciduous and many of my evergreen/conifer plants under cover.  A few conifers were left out that were in large garden pots or deep potted cascades - they fare better in the cold in pots, but still care should be given if it is in a shallow pot or a small specimen (shohin) sized bonsai. Just had a small stretch of really warm weather over the weekend, so decided to make use of it (spring is coming, even if it gets cold again it won't be long now).

No pictures to share yet but a good bit of work was done this weekend and over the past few weeks/days 'inside' as well.  I don't plan to do this for too many years - but I have in my mind the idea that I'm going to create 'crops' of different species for my play years down the road, by starting many different species of trees each year from seed or cutting.  A decade or more - isn't too hard to fathom to wait when you're in your 30's.  To think that in my 40's I will have so many different tree species to play with - is exciting and also a huge part of my 'learning' the art of bonsai care and growing.  It's not so far fetched to dream of and plan for; I'm still 'young' (especially in the bonsai community - no jab intended), and am really at the age that patience 'is' becoming a virtue I can appreciate.  I will share pictures later this season, but last year I began a crop of lace-leaf trident maple and japanese maple (mostly bloodgood) trees, and a few tulip poplar, and sweet gum maple (2 local varieties).  Everything is looking really good; about 100 trident maple saplings, 30 jap maple saplings, numerous sweetgum and tulip poplar yearlings that I transplanted from the back yard and beyond - not grown from seed.  In a few weeks I will 'turn the crop' and space the year-lings out better ( a few will move to pots, to 'stunk' them somewhat and prepare for a forest setting I have in mind).  I've made use of additional space on the side of the house and have 'rotated' some of my larger privet and azalea pre-bonsai that are still growing in the ground to allow space for more 'seedlings' that will go in this year in the back.  I filtered a few privets out (the 'eye' is getting better to zone in on good material).  I see the privet still as my 'testbed' to work on forms, and how to care for a specific species all at once.  I do have some interesting privet trees coming, so we'll see how it goes.  What I learn from the privet now will translate into all the less hardy but 'normal' species used for bonsai that I'm working on growing 'crops' of now.  The privet yamadori I am working on really do have promise - I don't think anyone has seen privet quite like this before as bonsai (I think they only 'grow' like this in the hot south - more like trees then bushes which is their general 'form' when found used as hedges, etc).  Pictures coming this spring of a few - and of alot of other projects that have had minor updates the past few weeks.

Quite a lot of species this year I'm beginning from seeds.  Hoping my lessons learned last year paid off this year.  I have more trident maple (excited about this after the success of last year), and japanese maple coming, crepe myrtle, coton-easter, crabapple, cleveland pear, cherry, mugo pine, japanese pine, dawn redwood, sequoia, spruce, japanese white birch, english elm...  Yes alot of stuff..  Will see what I have the best of luck with, and will focus on these for the next few years worth of 'new' crops.  Will probably start new crops like this into my early 40's, then focus totally on all the material I will have in the ground all over my back yard and in pots, from that point on.  My hope is to grow enough different material now, to work on for the rest of my life and to trade for things I 'don't' have later on that I decide I want to add to my collection.  The upside to this; I will 'know' intimately what I'm working on, it's habits, it's history since birth (hah).  The downside - unless I do well in my growing techniques, I will not have as much 'weatherized' trees, but more 'clean' trees.  (Believe me I plan to cut to stumps, all these beautiful maples I am looking at now).  That's a hard one to explain unless you already do bonsai - that gets into 'styles' and 'forms', things left to people better at it than me to explain.  (Walter Pall has for years and is currently extending his thoughts on how cultures effect styling of bonsai - and how time/generations also effects these styles, amid culture effected trees as well.  (Or maybe that's just my take on what he thinks, from what I've read and seen recorded recently during Noelanders).

That's the plan, anyway.  Bonsai until I'm in my grave, or blind, or nuts from dementia - but bonsai till whatever end awaits me.  :)

See you in a few more weeks - beginning of March the trees will begin to be 'photogenic'.

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