Everything is still alive & well 2020

bonsai balcony brno

Hi there. Long time, I know. Been busy. Instead of a boring and long story here are some trees 🙂

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This Common Juniper was the subject of my first public demo on the 23rd of June in Poland at the Bonsai Triennale 2019. I was really happy with the result.

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bonsai late april

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Yes, bonsai was being done all year and I’ll continue to do so. See you next time.


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Boxwood Bonsai Thinning

Bonsai Iterate

Boxwood is one of my favorite species to work on. The work is precise, detail oriented, and rewarding… if you are patient.

The work I’m doing today should be done only after the current year’s growth has had time to harden off. My preferred way to determine whether boxwood leaves have hardened off is by feel, but that’s hard to show in a blog post. Slightly easier to show is the color, another indicator of hardening.

Boxwood branch showing tender new growth and older, darker colored leaves

The image above shows the light colored leaves of this year’s growth at the tips against much darker leaves from last year’s growth. These leaves are still too tender. It may be another month before I work on that tree. The leaves of various boxwood cultivars may vary in color, but all new growth will come in lighter and brighter, and darken up…

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Ground Boxes

Bonsai Iterate

I have initiated a new experiment for development of bonsai material. When we want to grow a thicker trunk we often hear the advice to “put it in the ground and let it grow.” In my experience collecting material from the clay-heavy soils in my yard, plants growing in the ground will often send their roots ranging far and wide which can result in a tree with too few feeder roots close to the base.

One approach to improving this situation is to use a spade to cut around the plant periodically. Another is to dig a hole in the clay soil and fill it with a looser soil such as sand, effectively using the hole in the ground as a pot. Both are effective ways of, at least partially, containing the roots while allowing the plant to gain girth and vigor. These also lack a certain amount of control…

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Japanese Holly in Early Development

Bonsai Iterate

Bonsai is an art of patience. Sometime around four years ago I found a Japanese holly growing wild in area where I knew I was able to collect. It was overgrown, but I saw potential for not just one, but at least two trees. I waited until the following growing season to take an air layer (which you can read about here), and then until the spring after that to dig the parent plant (which you can read about here). It has been recovering in a planting box for the last couple of years, so we are four years in and we aren’t even to the fun part yet!

Japanese holly “parent” plant

These trees have been growing strong and it is time to begin some work. The “parent” plant, above, needs to have some large roots reduced to get it into a smaller container. The air layer…

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