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Archive for January, 2014

Well, I’ve got my little bonsai sitting on the window sill, in the sun (that is the sun available in Seattle), acting like a real plant.

I have taken advice I’ve read about watering it.  I’ve set it in a dish filled of water so it can drink from the bottom, rather than watering from the top.  Actually, there’s very little room to water from the top. IMG_1468

Here’s a link that will tell you WAY more than you ever bargained for.  If you want a little less sophistication, you could try reading this page.

I’m watering mine about every other day and hoping that will work.  As you can see from the photo I took of it having a drink, I set it in a shallow dish, and the water does NOT get to the top of the bonsai pot.

 

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I found this fascinating.  It’s loaded with pictures and explanations of what this Bonsai group of Irish guys is doing at a workshop they attended.  Amazing.  It’s called Lyon’s Bonsai.  Do visit!

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Until I’ve visited the Seattle Flower Show, I’ll not be doing any work on my little Bonsai.  However, that doesn’t say I can’t go looking for all kinds of information while I wait.bonsai_tree_Wallpaper_nl7cp

There is a link here to a site from the Washington State University Extension Service about Bonsai.  It appears to be a good one.

Here is another site that has all kinds of information, including additional sites to visit.  It’s called the Bonsai Site.

Living in the Northwest, you might be interested in visiting the Bonsai collection at Weyerhaeuser.

If you’re interested in joining the American Bonsai Society, try that link.

At any rate, that should keep us all occupied for a little bit!

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I have decided that I have been blessed with a fresh palette in my new little Bonsai.

I think I need to make some decisions about how I would like this to look ultimately.  As you can see, it looks right now, like a little bush…not a work of art by any means.  Which means I can plan from the ground up with it…quite literally!  IMG_1432

I will need a picture in my mind first and then I will need to get the tools to make this “picture” work.  I imagine I’ll need to tie down a branch or two in order to have it go in the direction I want.

Here is a link that talks about the artistic principles of bonsai.  It is quite interesting.  I hope you’ll go there and read what it has to say.

The Seattle Flower Show is in about a week and a half.  I’ll track down a bonsai expert there and hopefully get some good advice. As I go along, I’ll post what I do, and what I’ve learned.

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It came!

It is a Cold Hardy Conifer-Juniper Bonsai!  It’s smaller, but very pretty.  I think the leaves are such that will be unattractive to black aphids…  I’m happy!  It should probably be outside, but for now, it’s inside here with me.  In the summer I will hopefully be able to park it on a shelf in one of our Garden Terraces.

IMG_1429Here’s a picture of it as it arrived.    As you can see, it has needles.  I have been doing a bit of reading on the care of this little guy.  It appears it should be tucked into a garage or shed for the winter.  I should water it every other week.  THEN I can bring it inside to sit on the window sill.  I hate to part with it.  I think I’ll disobey the experts and keep it inside!

Actually, the directions that came with it said that I should do just that.  Guess who I’ll pay attention to???

The window sill where it sits is a little chilly because of the window.  Hopefully that will be enough to keep it  sufficiently chilled!  You can’t really see it, but there is a little rock behind the stem.  It makes the stem look very wide.

IMG_1432Hopefully, this will become more apparent as the plant matures and grows.  We’ll see.

I am supposed to trim any new growth every week.  Hmmm…I’m feeling a bit intimidated by that.

It also says it’s supposed to get fresh air.  Maybe I’ll open the window right above it at night.  BUT, I can’t imagine that will be good for my other plants that require a steady temperature.  I’ll be thinking about that issue and researching it a bit further.  BUT, I don’t want my pretty, new, little tree to be buried in the shed downstairs in the garage!  I want to enjoy looking at it EVERY day!

Stay Tuned!

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BLACK APHIDS

Oh, boy!  What a time I’ve had with my little bonsai!

I was SOOOO excited to receive it from my son (Thanks Pete).  But, then a few days after getting it, I noticed the leaves had little black spots on them.

Hmmm….  I tried wiping them off, and they came off easily, but were smooshed.

Hmmmm…again.  What exactly WERE these little black spots?

So, I got out my big magnifying glass and checked out this little black spot on my finger and it was taking a hike right across my skin!!!!!!!  AN INSECT!  I HATE bugs inside the house!!!!!!!  So, the battle began!

After some web surfing, I came up with BLACK APHIDS as the culprits.  At this point, I wrote to the company that had sent the plant.

Here's a photo from University of Minn. Extension of what they looked like.

Here’s a photo from University of Minn. Extension of what they looked like.

I tried just washing them off.  Then I soaked them in Neem, and re-did the Neem, to no avail.  (I wrote the plant company again!)  We were about to leave for the weekend, and I didn’t want these guys to infest all my other plants, so I cleaned it off again and covered it with a plastic bag.

When we got home, there were little aphids flying all around inside the plastic bag.  At that point, I tossed the whole thing!  How sad!  I had written twice to the place from whence the plant came, but they have STILL not responded.  Just in case you might like to order a plant filled with aphids from a place that does not respond to their emails, you might try “9GreenBox”.  Can you tell I’m NOT happy?

Pete has contacted his credit card company, and will get his money back, but NOT the postage!  He has  ordered another bonsai for me, from another company.  I am excited to continue my little adventure!  I’ll keep you posted.

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Hey, it’s a PLANT!  Actually, a tree-like plant, miniaturized, if you will.  I say “tree LIKE” because it isn’t always a tree.  So, what is the definition of a “tree”?  Here’s the definition of a tree right from a dictionary: “a woody perennial plant, typically having a single stem or trunk growing to a considerable height and bearing lateral branches at some distance from the ground.”

Hmmm…  That’s not exactly any bonsai I’m familiar with!  Usually they (bonsai) don’t have a single stem growing to any considerable height, with branches high off the ground.  It’s a small, tree-like structure (plant) that doesn’t get

search-1 high at all, nor does it have high branches.  The whole purpose is to make it look like a very aged tree, that has been stressed all it’s life so it’s gnarled, stumpy, maybe growing on top of a rock, looking like it’s hundreds of years old.  BUT, it’s not old at all.

The art involved in bonsai is to make it LOOK old. You do that by training (usually with wire), pruning, pinching, root trimming and root compression.  I guess nature can be pretty tough!  So, we give this little tree plenty of  “tough love”.   Are you with me?

I understand the word, literally translated from Japanese is:  “bon” meaning “a shallow tray”; and “sai” meaning “plant”.  So, literally, it’s a plant in a shallow tray.  So far, so good!

Bonsai is also understood to be an “art form”, originally Chinese.  It is something that takes patience and lots of TIME.  If nothing else, it helps you to contemplate and appreciate the way trees grow, and how they look in nature.  What is it that makes them interesting…and how can you translate that into your bonsai?

searchBut, above all, bonsai is a tree, or a grove of trees IN MINIATURE.  It can sit on your windowsill or table top.  They can be grown exclusively indoors-or outside for that matter.  Sometimes these little trees are really generated from shrubs, so they aren’t necessarily what we generally understand a tree to be.

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