2 Acers in Development. Re-potted Today

Robert Nocher Shohin Bonsai

Here are 2 Acer Palmatum trees that I have been developing for a couple of years. They were put into their first bonsai pots today.

The first one was air layered from a larger tree 2 years ago. As you can see in the first picture, it has a strong evenly distributed root system and a nice flared  nebari is beginning to emerge. When the air layer was cut, the trunk above the cut was exactly the same thickness as the trunk below the cut. So the flaring at the base has developed in the past two years. I think this is very encouraging for the future development of this tree.


To allow the continued development of the roots, it was planted today into this large shallow oval.


This is the tree that the air layer was taken from.


The next tree was planted in a large garden pot for a while to…

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Clump style willow-leaf fig from a sawn off root ball

Adam's Art and Bonsai Blog

I’m in the weeds…..

Literally. Let me finish up here and I’ll show you the tree.

What is that? A balloon. A yellow balloon. That reminds me of a poem I wrote as a lad:

A balloon, a balloon,

Yellow in hue,

It floats through the noon,

The bright yellow noon.

Forget the balloon,

It’s gone now, it’s flew

Remember it’s color.

It was yellow, not blue.

Hey, I didn’t say it was a good poem.

Anyway, here’s the tree.Let me explain it’s history. It is an alumn of the BSF exhibit at the Epcot Flower and Garden show. At that time, it was a lot taller than it is now.

After the show, it was cut back hard, and soon after that, I came into possession of it. I decided to let it grow out. Here is lesson one: sometimes, cutting a tree back hard and letting it…

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Hedging Maples

California Bonsai Art

There is not a lot of information on the net about this process. I started treating my maples this way about ten years ago. Walter Pall has spoken about it at his blog, but not much in the way of how to keep up on the process.

There are other ways to treat the canopy of a maple tree and these other treatments have to do with where the tree is in development. During the trees early life, much like candle management on a pine, early treatment is more coarse and in a branch building mode. There is no need for select bud pinching on a tree that will have it’s branches cut many times during the growing season. Bud selection in April likewise on a pine is kinda pointless.

As trees in training begin pushing new buds, the main branches are chosen. As they harden off, the permanent primary…

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Young seabird rescued

Hermanus Bird Club

The new African Penguin and Seabird Sanctuary at Kleinbaai has already proved its worth, reports Club member Lee Burman.

On Sunday, while working in her garden opposite Hermanus High School, a car stopped at her house, a guy got out and picked up a bird which, to her amazement, turned out to be a young Cape Cormorant (Trekduiker).

A young Cape Cormorant (Trekduiker) similar to the one found near Hermanus High School. Image: Charles Naudé A young Cape Cormorant (Trekduiker) similar to the one found near Hermanus High School.
Image: Charles Naudé

“Wolf, which turned out to be the guy’s name, and I tried to return the Cormorant to its normal habitat,” Lee said. But at the shore were no other Cormorants and the bird showed no inclination to move off the rocks – just stumbled around looking somewhat disorientated.

Lee took the bird with her, collected a couple of pilchards at The Fish Shoppe, then dumped the bird on a not too happy Club member Mike…

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A unique willow leaf ficus bonsai 

Adam's Art and Bonsai Blog

On the way back from my Louisiana bonsai tour last year (great times, can’t wait to get back) I made a stop in Mobile Alabama and had a visit with Joe Day (he had actually offered to buy me lunch. And I’m not one to turn down a free lunch). He’s pretty well known for his seed grown trident maples and his natural rock slabs.

I took a tour of his garden…

An old trident.

A forest on one of his slabs.

Something you don’t see often, a cascade podocarpus.

And an old (old) boxwood. The last tree is in a live oak style (and extremely natural and well done). Joe has taken a study of live oaks in the South and hopefully he’ll publish his observations on their growth habits and branch patterns.

After pulling my jaw off the ground, (my poor photography does not do these trees justice…

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A little Trident Maple root work

Nebari Bonsai

Trees are usually strongest when their freshly dug, and this is the best time to make drastic root reductions…while they have the best head of steam.

Here is a look at some root work.
Trident 1:

Remember to plane the bottom:

An attempt at an approach graft with some roots:

Planted into an Anderson flat (everything in the grow bed must be dug and relocated this year):

Trident 2; grown for a couple years on a cd:


Trident 3; planted too deep, and was a mess after 2-3 years in the ground from a cutting. What to do?





Another messy root base that I failed to take a before photo of; but the after shot is telling:


Keep them cut short!
Another very nice example of developing nebari, which is just a few years ahead of those above:



And a little update on this one; my first attempt at…

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Trident Maple Project

Robert Nocher Shohin Bonsai

3 years ago, I bought a small forest planting of trident maples. I intended to separate them into individual pots, which I would then grow on to create my own shohin sized material.

The foreground of the first picture shows the saplings sitting on my benches, freshly separated and potted into 5 inch training pots, in the summer of 2012.


In the 2 and a half seasons that have past since the fist picture was taken, most of these trees have done very well. They all are considerably larger than they were at the start and are now ready for their third re-pot.

The next picture shows the three largest trees in the group earlier today. The roots are now filling the 12 inch wide pots and the trees are now ready to be planted into larger growing boxes. The oval pot in the foreground contained all of the saplings in 2012.


The shallow growing boxes…

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Spring’s Here

Natural Moments

In fits and starts, it seems Spring has finally arrived around here. With a couple of days this week showing up with clouds, a touch of snow on the mountains, a little rain and even unheard-of foggy days, this weekend has returned to sunny warm conditions perfect for being outside and seeing what’s going on. After checking on several reported locations for nesting Great Horned Owls, I finally tracked down a new one this week across the river close to Rio Rancho. Without too many possibilities for where it might be, it turned out to be fairly easy to spot.

Great Horned Owl Great Horned Owl

Returning a week later with some friends, not only did we see Mom sitting on the nest but looking around the nearby trees, this time spotted Dad keeping an eye on things.

Great Horned Owl Great Horned Owl

(Click on the picture to zoom in on this guy and those…

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