Air Layer Followup

Bonsai Iterate

I was clearing photos from my phone and realized I had never posted a followup to the Chinese holly air layer I started in the spring. I removed it way back in the beginning of September, so while my post is very delayed, I can add that the Layer is doing well and has even shown signs of new growth before the cooler weather started to arrive.


Above is the layer as it was when I cut from the parent plant and carried back to my garden.


Lots of fine roots!

I will let this become established in this pot before I mess with it.

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Creating a Template for Building a Bonsai Pot

Bonsai Iterate

In my last post, I shared that I recently started working with a group of bonsai society members who want to learn to make their own bonsai pots. In that post, All Secrets Revealed, I shared a video of the actual construction of a bonsai pot, and while I include every part of the clay construction, one thing I omitted was how I created the template I used to make the pot. Today, I remedy that omission. Check it out!

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Leaf Removal on a Collected Beech

Bonsai Iterate

It could be argued that maybe a bonsai enthusiast should stay away from a species named for its large leaves. Ok. That’s fair.

The North American beech is just that – Fagus grandifolia – pretty much translated as “the large leaf beech.” I will concede right from the start that I should look into getting a European beech, but at home, in my immediate surroundings, the American beech plays a big role in defining the woods I love to walk in. It’s a beautiful species, and I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to collect this young tree that displayed a very full mass of persistent beech-brown leaves when I found it this past spring.

It has done exceedingly well in this first year. In the photo above, I am about halfway done removing the leaves in advance of winter storage. It’s rather surprising how much green you can still see…

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Winter Protection 3 Ways

Bonsai Iterate

For a hot second I considered calling this post “A Winter 3-Way” but I’d hate for a poor choice in title to keep this post from getting through someone’s filter. Of course, putting it in the first paragraph is probably no better. Oh well.

It’s the last week in November in Northern Virginia (in most places, truth be told). While the weather has been rather mild here, this is about the time of year I tuck my trees in for the winter by putting them in a place and manner that will provide some protection from the coldest weather of the season.

This year there are three ways I am arranging trees that will each provide different levels of protection.

#1 Least Shelter – some trees are just placed on the ground with a couple of my benches tipped and arranged to offer a slight barrier from strong, desiccating winds…

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Now I Know Why Pots are So Expensive.

Bonsai Iterate

Maybe not a perfect quote, but that was the gist of a comment during a recent ceramics workshop with some bonsai society members, “Now I know why pots are so expensive!”

Some of the content below is modified from a write up on that meeting that will be shared with the membership. I am going to take a risk and hope that if a couple of you readers are members, you won’t be offended that I share it here first.

The sunny, mild afternoon of December 3rd and Gary’s back yard provided the perfect setting for the second-ever NVBS Ceramics meeting. A small group met in Gary’s heated shed to continue developing basic ceramic hand-building skills. The focus of this meeting was a slab construction process which involves rolling out slabs of clay, designing and creating a paper template, then using the template to cut and assemble the slabs to…

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Is there a bonsai class I could take?

Bonsai Iterate

The thermometer on my patio says it is 8 degrees Fahrenheit this morning as a very cold stretch of weather is finally about to let up here in Northern Virginia. With all my trees in deep freeze, I was glad to get a question that could break my bonsai boredom. From a person with a new found interest I was asked, “Is there a class I could take?” Well, yes and no.

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