Recent work on Junipers


Just want to share before and now photos of two juniper bonsais I worked on recently.  These are Tam Juniper bonsais from a landscape project in 2015.   I look at these bonsais and again reflect on some of the life lessons they teach me.  If I did not save these (seemingly pieces of junk materials) from 2 years ago,  those years would have just pass and nothing to show for.  That time I invested 2 years ago is starting to payback today in terms of “joy dividends.”  As I look at these trees, they are thriving and becoming more beautiful as they progress.  My time in terms of dollars may not equal to what the trees are worth today but the feeling of accomplishment and satisfaction is priceless.  Meanwhile, during these whole process, I’ve exercised my creativity muscle, my  awareness, my patience, and my appreciation for the smallest things.  Enjoy!



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Woodcocks, snipe among the more oddball members of a diverse shorebird clan

Our Fine Feathered Friends

Photo by Leah Hawthorn/U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service • An American woodcock probes for food among fallen leaves on the woodland floor.

March is traditionally a month of erratic weather, characterized by blustery winds and occasional drenching rainstorms. While the month is also a signal to get ready for the return of migrant songbirds, they are hardly the only birds on the wing each spring. Birds from waterfowl to raptors migrate through the region in March, April and May, but the real migratory champs are the shorebirds.

Known for migrating incredible distances, the shorebirds are often referred to as “wind birds,” a romantic allusion to their habit of taking wing for the epic journeys that astound scientists and birders alike. Among the far-flung family are birds known as sandpipers and plovers, as well as whimbrels, willets, tattlers and turnstones.
Still, among the general public, as well as some birders, the…

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Plovers among migration champions of vast and varied shorebird clan

Our Fine Feathered Friends

0815171646c (1) Photo by Janice Humble • A killdeer wanders in a grassy area near the Wal-Mart on Volunteer Parkway in Bristol. The killdeer, a species of plover, is one of the more common shorebirds found in the region.

I’m always glad to lend a hand at identifying birds. If you’re uncertain of a bird’s identification and have a photo of the bird in question, assistance is an email away. Janice Humble emailed me seeking some help with identifying the bird in a photograph attached with her message. She noted that the bird was accompanied by a companion in the grassy area near the Wal-Mart on Volunteer Parkway in Bristol. She also noted that the two birds uttered loud “peeps” during her observation.

The bird turned out to be a killdeer, a species of plover native to North America. Plovers belong to the family of shorebirds that include various sandpipers, curlews, dowitchers…

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Green herons will depart from region in coming weeks as cooler conditions return

Our Fine Feathered Friends

With the arrival of September, migration’s pace will quicken. In late August, I started seeing warblers passing through my yard. In other locations in the region, birders have shared reports of shorebirds and wading birds.

13435451_10208227244911211_1254837562662583452_n Photo by Bryan Stevens • Green herons are short, stocky herons that can assume some comical poses.

Jonesborough resident Julia Ellis wrote about her own observation of a green heron that took place recently. She had seen a photo of a green heron with one of my recent columns, which helped her identify the bird.

She explained in her email that she saw the heron at along a creek on her Cherokee Road farm. “I was at a loss as to what it was,” Julia wrote. “It showed up several times a few weeks ago very close to dusk. The picture in the newspaper cleared up the mystery for me.”

Although not unusual at this…

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Japanese Andromeda

The Bonsai Novice

I found this at Home Depot. I noticed the trunk had potential, and I have a weakness for flowering plants. I haven’t seen this flower yet, but it should produce a white flower. It won’t produce any flowers next year though.

I was impatient when I brought this plant home. I excitedly pruned it without fully realizing the potential repercussions. It was out of season to prune it. By pruning it at the end of summer, I removed all of the potential flower buds and I have forced it to focus on recovery.

You may notice the cut paste. I hate the sheers I used. They take off more bark than branches. I am seriously considering getting the concave cutters.

I’m worried I trimmed it back too severely. We will see in times. It has survived almost a month now. So, I’m optimistic.

The good news is that it is…

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