Sunday, December 1, 2013

Pear Bonsai Update, Urban Yamadori

I've never known what to do with this little Pear I collected from a rocky slope in Kentucky. It may qualify as urban yamadori. The plan is to find a better pot and change the angle when spring comes around. These wild Pear trees like to pop up everywhere here. I had a fatter one that died this year. I found it growing in a field with others like it, in rocky soil that actually kind of resembles bonsai soil, same as the American Elm I collected.  

Saturday, November 30, 2013

American Elm Bonsai

I am still not completely sure what exact type of elm this is but I am leaning towards American Elm. Here it is today, the original leader has died and now there are several leaders that make up the apex. I just love the bark on this one and the branches are coming along nicely. The tree was collected near some railroad tracks behind a McDonald's a few years ago. I'm letting the tree do what it wants to do for now while I figure out the first branch. I keep it outside all winter here in Cincinnati with zero protection (could be why I lost the leader branch).

I don't have a garage or a shed or a yard to bury the trees in. I live in the city and all my plants survive on a balcony facing east. These conditions are less than ideal for gardening but I am somehow able to keep them alive. My mulberry died last winter but I attribute that to over-working the roots. City/balcony gardening can be annoying but it beats the alternatives; giving up bonsai or moving out of the city, both things I would never do at this point. Anyhow, the elm is perfect for such a situation as it is very cold hardy and tolerates receiving only morning sun. Pests are still a problem.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Slanting Ficus Bonsai

Well it has been a long time since I have made a post. My life has changed considerably in the past year and I also didn't have easy access to a computer (iPad and phone would not let me load images).

Here is an update on the slanting ficus bonsai that I have posted before. I now have it in a round pot and the plant seems to be growing steadily. I grew it in a larger pot all summer and pruned aggressively so it has a whole new look.

I will try to get a better photo in the future but you can see the trunk line clearly enough in this one (my good camera has also been away from me and this was taken with my phone)

This ficus started out as a mallsai from Meijer. I am a believer in these mass-produced "generic" trees. I believe that many of them have potential to be nice trees. In the future, on this tree, I think I will let the canopy expand to the right a little with a rounded apex. I might even style it with some pine-ness to its structure.

I will be posting more frequently in the future. Let me know if you have any suggestions for the composition of this tree.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Crabapple Bonsai

Here is an update on my crabapple bonsai. I chose not to repot this year so it's a little root bound. I hope to get some short internodes and small leaves so I can begin to refine the image. I need a new pot for this tree eventually. I kind of like it in a round pot. Still no sign of flowers yet.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

American Elm Bonsai

I will have to apologize because I had originally been calling this tree a winged elm. I now believe that it is not a winged elm since it has failed to produce wings. I will now be calling this tree American Elm. Sorry for the confusion.

I got the tree out today to take a quick photograph while the leaves are still small. I like this tree a lot and it seems to be getting more tree-like each year. The leader had died back over the winter so I wired up a new one. I'd like to keep the tree tall like it is now but if I need to, in the future, I may shorten it. Lately I am favoring tall trees. I never much liked the perfectly tapered sumo trees that have become such a trend. Also I am favoring the more upward reaching branches and eventually branches going all directions in a slightly haphazard construction. This tree isn't supposed to look ancient but I do hope it to look naturalistic as it progresses. So far I am pleased with its development.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Pear Bonsai

Here is a little pear tree that was collected by the railroad tracks in Northern Kentucky a few years ago. Actually that is where I get a lot of my trees from. It takes some time and energy, of course, to collect a tree from the wild, but it beats paying a lot of money for some plant material that totally lacks character. One thing I like about the Pear tree for bonsai is that it is extremely hardy. I leave it outside all winter here in Cincinnati, only bringing it inside when temperatures drop below 16 degrees (Fahrenheit) and even then the tree would probably survive. Just being cautious I guess. They always develop nicely textured bark in a considerably short amount of time which you can see is beginning to happen with this one right around the base of the trunk. This tree will also produce white flowers sometime in the future although I'm starting to wonder when exactly.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

My Little Plant, Ficus is Magic

This Ficus benjamina Variegata, variegated weeping fig, is mostly a house plant. I grew it from a cutting in 2008 along with a few others which I then gave as Christmas gifts to friends and family members. Now, five years later, my good friend has managed to keep it alive. I snapped this photo the other day while I was visiting. You can tell by the density of the uppermost branches just how apically dominant these are. She keeps it indoors at all times. Another cutting off the same parent plant is on its way to becoming a very small root-over-rock. It seems to be coming along just fine. In the future I will take some pictures of that one as well. I will also continue to root cuttings for giving away to friends. One of these days I will invest in some interesting ficus material with some actual maturity, especially now that I know I can keep them alive for many years.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Developing a mulberry bonsai

This mulberry was collected last spring and is one of the trees that is not going into the ground. It's a strong grower and very hardy. It does appear to get some type of fungus which results in spots on the leaves. I hope it doesn't cause any die back but I have noticed that all the local mulberries have this condition. I know I have already posted this tree but I am getting anxious for spring. Some of my trees will be spending the summer in Indiana where I trust they will be cared for. This will ensure that they grow freely without me being tempted to trim them every other week. Well, maybe I still will with the more vigorous ones. I will try to get some pictures when the leaves first break.

Monday, March 4, 2013

strange little ficus bonsai

Here is a little ficus microcarpa that I have had for a little less than one year. It's not much, but it's my tallest indoor tree. In fact, most of my small indoor ficus trees are cloned cuttings from this parent tree. Cloning is the reason I got this tree. The cuttings that come off of this tend to root easily, even thicker ones. I've had a difficult time deciding what to do with the canopy on this one and I still haven't a clue. The movement is a bit contrived and the taper isn't great. I might try to graft some branches lower on the trunk.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Winter, crabapple bonsai

Here is an update on my crabapple bonsai. Collected from the side of the road in Kentucky, it's now been four years in a pot. I am happy with the way it is growing, however I believe it's now time to put back into the ground for thickening. I will still keep the top cut back but what I hope to achieve is some thickening of the lower branches and overall improvement of the nebari. I hope to let it grow in the ground this way for about three to five years. I will attempt to update with a picture of it in the ground if I can get a good one.