donderdag 22 december 2016

Photobook '30 years Bonsai De Leie'

Bonsai 'De Leie' is the largest regional division of the Flemish Bonsai Association.

This limited edition photobook remembers the exhibition '30 years Bonsai De Leie' that was held in may 2016.

My Japanese Larch (literati) is pictured in the upper left corner.
Nice souvenir.

woensdag 21 december 2016

outstanding medium for airlayering

Logics (and a lot of existing experience in horticultural world) allready told me this was a great medium, and my own experience showed just that.

Vermiculite, as outstanding medium for airlayering.

Vermiculite has specific great advantage for the purpose of airlayering:
1. lightweight, which comes in handy for airlayering higher up the trunk
2. high water buffering capacity
3. sterile, and anti-fungus (it does not rot, it is a repellant for fungi)
4. just use it allready will ya !

It is very easy to come by, it is marketed for several purposes, in construction (for leveling floors, for insulation), but also in horticulture. One example is the 'organic vermiculite' from the brand 'Espoma'. But keep in mind, this is nothing other than the usual Vermiculite you find anywhere else, even the one used for construction. I got a bag of 100L of the latter (brand Sibli). If you think that's way too big a volume to stock, well you can perfectly use it to mix with your potting soil for flower baskets etcetera.

Why is it, that the big bonsai scene does little or no effort with regard to exploring possibilities beyond the paved road, to research alternative techniques and materials. This can only be because there is a fear to lose control, to go outside this save haven and risk things (ego?image?) Perhaps lack of young people wanting to explore, perhaps too few critics? We say we are creative spirits, don't we? We have a job to do, and that is to build our own unique European way to bonsai, that includes renewing, if we can benefit from it (results or knowledge).

What does it look like? Well, a picture of the vermiculite I allready included in an article of mine that I posted on my blog earlier about 'a durable substrate as alternative for akadama and peat'.
The results I got, you can check in my recent post about the 'ulmus procera project'.
Feel free to google however, all vermiculite really looks the same.

dinsdag 29 november 2016

Ulmus Procera/Fiel Elm - project has started

The Ulmus project has begun last weekend.
I seperated the tree, that was airlayered in april, from its old and awkward roots.
I knew the airlayer would be succesful but did not expect so much roots, so nicely spread.
This tree will have a great start next spring.
I planted it out in the garden with a nice (natural looking) rock right next to the trunk on the left side, and carefully positioned a good lot of the roots on that side on and under the rock. Ulmus vigourously grows out long and strong roots, perfect for the job. It will need about 2 years for a good grip on the rock. After that I can dig it out for inspection, and replant it for another couple of years. I want to double or triple the trunk thickness, so vigorous growth with sacrifiche branches is the plan. This should be quite straightforward and easy, if you take into account the virtual I made in september, because sacrifice branches on the top is no problem for this design.

dinsdag 25 oktober 2016

Alder after 1 year pond basket - Autumn 2016

One of my 4 common European Alders (Alnus Glutinosa) after 1 year in a pond basket and 2 to 3 seasons in my garden after harvesting. All finer branches are new since this year. Obviously, I'm building it up, and I will continue using sacrifice branches here and there. Another +/- 2 years vigourous growth ahead before ramification can 'really' begin.
I guess you can allready see how this will evolve

I love Alders, did you notice yet?

Autumn 2016 portraits: Field Maple, Two Birches, Crab Apple, Rowan

Just a few autumn pictures of last weekend.
Many of the trees still bonsai-to-be

1. Field Maple (about 22 - 23 years old): in ramification process, and with several rootgrafts still on.

2. My most developped Silver Birch, so far that is.

3. Crab Apple, free growth this year (second flush untrimmed). Lots op building up ahead.

4. common European Rowan, harvested in april 2014. Very small size, building it up ...

5. The other Birch (probably Betula Pubescens). Harvested a few years ago, longterm project

zondag 4 september 2016

Ulmus Procera project

The 'Ulmus that could never satisfy me' has finally been transformed in a big project. This year I allready airlayered it, and this has succeeded very well. There are plenty of new roots and at the new root'base' (airlayer spot) there allready is visible swelling/thickening.
Next spring it will land in my garden, probably in the ground but lifted up in a wooden box surrounding it to better control rooting. For what I intend to realize with this tree I need a trunk size of 2 to 3 times the size it is now. So, strong and uncontrolled growth will be needed, but I will try to realize this only with sacrifice branches in the top because this 'top' will become dead wood again later on. I made a very quick ballpoint-virtual, and used mainly the existing branches. These branches are very flexible still and when planted out next spring the will allready get guy wires or limited wiring to get a good start (which will be removed as soon as possible again).
Walter Pall would perhaps call my virtual a 'fairy tale style' but I like to call it grotesk realism (referring to Bachtin and Rabelais), just like some ancient veteran trees...

Timing? Thickening it enough for my purposes will take anywhere from 3 to 5 years? Another 5 years to further build branches? Time is on my side...yes it is.

woensdag 31 augustus 2016

2 Alders cleanup 30th August 2016

And, after 2 to 3 more weeks growth, two of my Common European Alders (glutinosa) got a bit of a cleanup. Very happy with the results I got in only 4 months time from lifting them up from the garden into their first pot/basket. And, some more weeks to go, this Alder species still grows through the month of september (allbeit more modestly).

maandag 29 augustus 2016

European Hornbeam - update 29th August 2016

Last update was 19th May 2016.
European Hornbeam, carpinus betulus, harvested from a 20yo hedge in 2012.

This was its first pruning this season, growth had allready stopped for 2 or 3 weeks. This year and next 2 years is all about letting the main brances thicken. So, pruning is left aside until after the end of the growing season. Little wiring done.

Top needs finishing, deadwood needs finishing,...all in due time, not a priority for now.

In 3 to 5 years a nice pot could be possible? A rough 'normal' pot, or maybe a rough slab-like pot.

And, back in May 2012:

A very rough virtual, made in febr 2013:

dinsdag 16 augustus 2016

- In between things -

What do I do in between things...

Starting my first selfbow ever. I want to craft a (or several) true longbow(s). Feels like a 2nd hobby may be lurking. The wood is Robinia, which I cut in january. The wood preferably needs to (air)dry first. Now I've split the trunk and again let it dry a few weeks or months. Next comes the shaping/carving of the stave. Crafting a longbow is quite a processus, you need the right part of the wood, splitting technique, sap wood vs heart wood etc.

Fun times, especially in summer.

Winterflowering Cherry - update 16th aug 2016

Winterflowering Cherry (Prunus Subhirtella, autumnalis 'rosea')

This tiny one (about 20cm in height) just..grows...
No real training yet. Obviously I've let the lower right branch grow freely, checking possibilities.
The grafted branch (backside) does great, so I'm very certain it will survive in the future.
Maybe next year it will get its first bonsaipot, even with lots of ramification ahead. Could work in a bonsaipot, because it is a very small tree anyway.

Rowan #1 - update 15th aug 2016

Update of my selfgrown (seedling sjnce 1997) Rowan (Sorbus Aucuparia).
A bit of a messy look for this small tree, but I've selected which of the second flush of green could grow freely. All will look better by next spring.

3 common Alders - update 15th august 2016

Update for 3 of my common Alders (alnus glutinosa) raw material, preparing as prebonsai since this year. Last update was in may (see blogpost archive). Grown in wiring here and there, but not too much of a problem with these Alders. With growth persistint through september, these scares will be gone by winter. I'll 'cut' most of the pruning for this year and will cut back either late autumn or late winter.

dinsdag 2 augustus 2016

Update airlayer Ulmus Procera

Here is how my Ulmus Procera has done, since I airlayered it in april (see blogpost of 10th april 2016).

Obviously roots starting to appear from underneath the airlayer pot. That is a good sign.

Plans for this tree? Well I must be honest, I never really had a satisfying feeling with this litlle tree, so what the future will bring is still a mystery. I actually quite dislike the image it had, I don't really want to train it like that any more. I will even consider cutting it back to half the size and put it back in the ground again after I removed the old roots in late winter 2016-2017, and go for a more dramatic look or even informal 'dramatic' broom style.

I can't seem to stop thinking in 'project terms' with many of my trees which I am not 100% satisfied with.

maandag 1 augustus 2016

Silver Birch update - august 2016

Silver Birch
from a 3 inch seedling in 2008.
Refining has really begun this year, even with the top that is still behind in thickening and developing; this I can do whilst refining the rest. It has had its first leaf pruning in june. I will repeat this next year and see where I am at. I have to take into account that this is a small size tree, for a Birch, it is about 45cm high.

Rowan #2 - update august 2016

Common (european) Rowan.

Update, just 3 months after previous post where I showed the freshly done carving and buds after initial cutback in winter.

Has established some good new branches which I can use for further canopy development.
I am happy with this very small sized tree.

Next year it needs a repotting, using my adapted substrate mixture, I will look for a more suitable trainingpot too I think.

bonsai rocks and stones

Collected just a few of many millions of stones and trillions of kilogrammes of rocks and stones from holidy in France, Dordogne. I saw many many thousands of 'useless' bedrocks that could be useful for bonsai purposes, at least for trees in the more informal and natural look.

Varying in size between 10 x 10cm and 15 x 25cm.

I'll use them next spring, to start more root-over/on-rock bonsai with seedlings and very young material (Oaks, maples, wild apples, and ulmus laevis).

donderdag 26 mei 2016

Birchy business

Most likely downy Birch or Betula Pubescens, or natural hybrid between downy Birch and silver Birch or latin name Betula Pendula.

Has been collected on a building plot in november 2013. A lot of building up ahead, a bit of carving where it has been chopped-off, etc.

Alders first cleanup and wiring this season

A few updates, pictures without words...