#My Other Love… Size Matters…

Anita Dawes & Jaye Marie ~ Authors


Size Matters

Most people think bonsai are just small trees in pots, but they can be any size. There seems to be so many different names, too which makes it all very confusing.

Japanese classificationRequired hands to move bonsaiApproximate size
ImperialEight-handed bonsai60 to 80 inches
Hachi-uyeSix-handed bonsai40 to 60 inches
Dai or OmonoFour-handed bonsai30 to 48 inches
Chiu or ChumonoTwo-handed bonsai16 to 36 inches
Katade-mochiOne-handed bonsai10 to 18 inches
KomonoOne-handed bonsai6 to 10 inches
MameOne-handed bonsai5 to 8 inches
Shito or KeshitsuboFingertip bonsaiUnder 2 inches

Traditionally, the size of bonsai was measured by the number of hands needed to carry the tree.

For some reason, I have never considered having a large bonsai. Probably because they are not too easy to handle or for the amount of space they would…

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Bonsai ~ My Other Love…

Anita Dawes & Jaye Marie ~ Authors


Real, or Fake?

On those frequent occasions when my brain takes a hike and I am looking around my office for inspiration, I often find myself studying the items on my desk.

One of these is an artificial bonsai tree, although you have to look carefully to realise this. It is a white pine, brought from a specialist company called Bloom. They make the most amazing silk flowers and the occasional artificial tree, and the minute I saw it, I knew I had to treat myself.  It is stunningly life-like and beautifully made.

You wouldn’t think that a dyed in the wool bonsai enthusiast would give such a thing house room, but it appealed to me simply because it cannot die. It will always remain perfect no matter the weather, never lose it‘s leaves in the autumn, and I love it.

I cannot help but see the differences between this…

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A Strange and Unexpected Visitor…

Anita Dawes & Jaye Marie ~ Authors


It hasn’t rained for nearly two days and I was looking forward to escaping the confines of my office and getting some fresh air.  Anita called me to come outside and see something, and she was being very mysterious. I found her standing near my bonsai, pointing to the one on the end of the shelf.

I wondered what had caught her attention, for as far as I could tell, they were all there on the shelf, looking a bit scruffy to be fair for I haven’t been keeping them tidy due to the weather. None of them were missing or damaged, although I thought some of them were looking a bit like naughty children, revelling in my lack of attention.

DSCF3270 (2).JPG Image by Jaye Marie

That’s when I noticed what Anita was pointing to, a very small mushroom was happily growing in the pot alongside my bonsai tree. This tree…

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A Moss Tray

Bonsai Iterate

For years, I have collected moss from places where it grows naturally. To simplify the hunt, I have encouraged a large patch of moss on the north side of my house. The moss that grows in my yard, however, is not the fine-textured moss I prefer for dressing bonsai for a show, and this is sometimes hard to find in An appropriate quantity. I have seen some small patches of lovely moss growing in sidewalk cracks this fall, and with no show in the immediate future, I decided to start a moss tray. Let me share how.

Pictured are the items I used for this project: a cheap plastic boot tray purchased from IKEA, a drill, nylon screen, a pumice lava mix (either would do, but I had the mix sitting around), sand, an old blender, collected moss, and a beer.

I should probably insert a joke, here, about drinking…

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Some Fresh Air… in the Soil

Bonsai Iterate

What do you do when you get a tree that is in desperate need of repotting, but it’s not repotting season? I believe there are a number of good answers to this question, and the various approaches these answers represent may each be suited to a different situation.

I recently became the new caretaker of a white pine that had not been repotted in over a decade. It is planted in what appears to be potting soil or a similarly organic soil. The soil is decomposed, and stays very wet between watering. I applied a simple operation in an attempt to get some fresh air down into this soil until I can repot it in the spring.

First, I cleaned off the soil surface removing damp moss and other debris. A small part of me hoped clearing away some of the decomposed soil might reveal a more granular soil below…

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The Worst Winter? – Muir of Dinnet NNR

Muir of Dinnet National Nature Reserve

“They said there’ll be snow at Christmas, they said there’ll be peace on earth. But instead it just kept on raining…” …yup, with you on that one, mate. We all picture snow at Christmas…or, at least, some nice frosty mornings. But we’re in a maritime climate here in the UK, which means our weather generally isn’t too extreme. We don’t get the really harsh, bitter, continental winters, nor do we swelter in 40+ Centigrade in the summer. And, over  the winter, the longed-for snow is far more likely to be mild weather(well, 2-6 degrees) and rain. But let me take you back to the winter of 2009/10….remember that one?

The Vat

I certainly do, especially when my feet get cold, as I got a toe nipped with frostbite that year! The snow started in early December and persisted, on and off, until February. We were working outside in minus 8…

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