Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Bay Laurel Bonsai

Bay Laurel is one of my best friends ;-) 

 Laurus Nobilis bonsai (Bay Laurel)with jin and uro

Why not!  I've told you long time before : My passion to grow bonsai trees has determined me to continue my project to make a bay laurel (Laurus Nobilis) bonsai. My laurel is special to me because it is a tree which stays green no matter what weather is: if is rainy climate (like in Vancouver); if is grown in the sunny days of the Mediterranean climate (like in my native country), or if is kept indoor for winter months.

And its aromatic edible leaves are a mix of highly fragrant and spice notes of cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, lemon and vanilla which I love to use in my recipes.

 Bay Laurel bonsai (Laurus Nobilis) new branches and leaves
At these, I added the tradition: it is the symbol of prosperity, creativity, determination and triumph over life adversities since ancient times, being one of the most present trees in classical mythology; the therapeutic properties: antiseptic, to stimulate healing, to reduce pain in muscle spasms and migraine;  and  it was a very pleasant scented companion in all my life that followed me wherever I went.


 small Bay Laurel bonsai (Laurus Nobilis)

The little Bay Laurel bonsai will be kept for a while in the terracotta pot in which was planted after  it was air layered from the big ones. It is still under special carrying - to be sure that the new plant grows properly... After it  developed a quite dense group of new leaves, we wired its branches into position and we will maintain the wires  one months - just to train it for a little bit ;-)

 Bay Laurel bonsai (Laurus Nobilis) with jin

The big Bay Laurel (Laurus Nobilis) bonsai evolved and in spring was re-potted in a bonsai pot which complements the trunk form and is a suitable size and shape. When we dug up, we trimmed its roots and carved a little bit its trunk.

 Last year, after we layered  the Bay laurel clone, we changed its shape and carved an uro in the the point from where was detached the new bay laurel tree.
Bay Laurel air-layered  in autumn 2010

In spring, when the warmer days began, the top branches were pruned off to reduce its height and we treated the jin with diluted Lime Sulfur against scale, black-spots and rust.

 Bay Laurel bonsai (Laurus Nobilis)with jin and uro

We decided to let the branches that start at roughly one-third of trunk height and smooth shaped the ugly scars from the trunk. Actually a large part of the tree was deadwood  (bark stripping) to shape it in "Sharimiki" / driftwood bonsai style. Then, we pruned its old large foliage to obtain a smaller crop of new leaves.

Every time when I'm looking at the result, I'm still thinking if this tree was eaten by animals or just ravaged by the unexpected  early winter frost ;-)

Waiting for the Canada Day 2011 fireworks

Canada's Day  is almost here again ...  and I can't wait to see the fireworks to start over Vancouver, in Burrard Inlet.  There are two-barge fireworks displays setup and ready to shoot, for the delight of all the persons who will wait for them on Kitsilano Beach, Jericho Beach, UBC shore, North Vancouver, West Vancouver, Coal Harbour and Stanley Park seawall.

Fireworks - picture taken at Vancouver's Celebration of Light 2010
Picture taken at Vancouver's Celebration of Light 2010
Well, this will be the evening show.  The early morning of  July 1st 2011, like every year,  will bring special citizenship ceremonies with a lot of famous Canadians. Vancouver's people will sing "Oh Canada" at  noon and will celebrate close to Canada Place, in parks and in every important tourist destination of Vancouver.

 Vancouver 's view from Empire Landmark Tower
Vancouver 's view from Empire Landmark Tower

As far as we are aware of typical city "hazards" on the crowded streets, we intend to enjoy the festivities at Canada Place and also, the Canada Day Parade which will be happening in the evening on Granville Island.

Vancouver's people waiting for 2010 fireworks show
Vancouver's people waiting for  2010 fireworks show

Last year we build the dwarfs house with the Canadian Flag waving at the entrance and we made a special miniature gardens for the celebrations. This year we intend just to relax with the family in the summer sun predicted for the weekend, no matter in which spot, enjoying the celebrations and the live shows, thinking about the Canadian traditions and why not, the freedom and happiness.

And, of course will finish the 1st of  July day enjoying one of the always amazing and magic fireworks shows (as we did many times, including  Vancouver's Celebration of Light 2010 Shows) - just waiting for dark!

Fireworks 2010 - Picture taken at Vancouver's Celebration of Light show
Fireworks 2010 - Picture taken at Vancouver's  Celebration of Light show

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Pelargonium Ardwick Cinnamon

Ardwick Cinnamon is a new entry in my pelargonium bonsai collection, although it has been adopted last autumn in my garden and my kitchen  ;-) ...

It is a variety of scented pelargonium emanating an abundant cinnamon scent from its leaves at any touching of the wind, reminding us the sweet flavor of the apple pie with cinnamon or the cinnamon sugared apples - one of our favorite dessert since childhood.

Ardwick Cinnamon Scented Pelargonium

It is a very compact and dense plant, with woody stem, growing slowly in a form of the column.

Ardwick Cinnamon Scented Pelargonium - woody stem, bark and leaves
Ardwick Cinnamon woody-stem 

It is an evergreen plant with velvety silver-green leaves and small almost white flowers which are blooming repeatedly all the summer - unfortunately the flowers are sterile and the plant does not set seeds - so this plant may be propagate just from softwood and semi-hardwood cuttings.
Ardwick Cinnamon Scented Pelargonium - flowers and leaves
Ardwick Cinnamon flowers

Ardwick Cinnamon Scented Pelargonium leaves
Ardwick Cinnamon scented leaves

This variety of pelargonium with scented leaves is suitable for growing indoor or outdoor. I kept this one close to the window over the winter, then I moved it outside once the sunny days began.
I trimmed the inner leaves at the base of the branches from time to time - good opportunity to try them in my recipes - just to savour the fancy cinnamon smell in my cakes.

Although I'm looking almost every week at its progress ... I am not decided yet which bonsai style is the most suitable for its habit.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Sudowoodo - Fukien Tea Bonsai

Sudowoodo bonsai - Fukien Tea
Sudowoodo bonsai - Fukien Tea

Few months ago, we found an almost "petrified" bonsai in one of our visits at Rona stores. Well, yes, seems unbelievable, but the plant was totally uprooted from pot, with tips turning black and many leaves already drooped, while the others were yellow - brown. On the trunk were two ugliest wounds and the bark seemed to be petrified... Although the plant was unlabelled, we recognized its leaves as Fukien Teas'. Although it was in such a bad shape, because the trunk had such a bizarre form, like any bonsai enthusiasts who enjoy a challenge, we decided to take it home.

Fukien Tea (Carmona microphylla) is an evergreen tree originating in China, with small, shiny dark green leaves if is well cared.
Sudowoodo - Fukien Tea bonsai
Fukien Tea bonsai
Fukien Tea has light brown bark that begins to crack with age... and judging the cracked look of its bark and the more than 3 cm dimension of the trunk at base, this one is old enough. Now and then, and especially in summer months, Fukien Tea tree produces miniature white flowers followed by tiny round green, red or black berries. It make a great indoor bonsai all year round, nice to care and trouble free from insects and diseases.

This one has a lot of flower buds and I'm waiting to see it in bloom.
Fukien Tea flower buds
Fukien Tea flower buds

First time when I saw its trunk, my thoughts were flying to the Sudowoodo character, one of our favorites from poke-world ;-) ... so we re-stylized its shape in a "Sudowoodo bonsai".   I was influenced in this decision also by the petrified look of the plant when we purchased it -  similar with Sudowoodo's which has a plant-like appearance but it is closer to a rock than a plant.

fukien tea affected foliage
Fukien tea affected foliage

We re-potted (better said we planted it, because its dried roots were uprooted from pot) the plant in a big bonsai pot (20cm x 25 cm), cleaned the dried and affected foliage and applied  few days a pest and disease treatment with a mix of chamomile tea and Hydrogen peroxide.

Few weeks later, once on the branches appeared new shoots, we were sure that the plant was save it. And when the new foliage started to grow, we started shaping the first stage of the trunk, giving it a new look.

Fukien Tea bonsai - top branch with new shoots
Fukien Tea bonsai - top branch with new shoots

Fukien tea bark and carved wound
carved wound

First we cut it down the driftwood and trimmed the opposite branches.

We let a trimmed branch on top of the log-shaped trunk, and two branches as hands. It was a decision for us to take about the angle of the trunk and how much to carve the wounds.When we finished the transformation, we reapplied the pest and disease treatment and fed the plant.

 Sudowoodo bonsai(Fukien Tea)
Sudowoodo Pokemon

Don't you think that looks like a Sudowoodo bonsai?

Monday, June 6, 2011

Taguchi Bonsai 2011 Spring Show Vancouver

This past weekend, on 4-5 June, the Taguchi Bonsai Club of Vancouver presented its 2011 spring show at Vandusen Botanical Gardens - Vancouver.

 Taguchi Bonsai 2011 Spring Show, Vandusen, Vancouver

The bonsai were displayed at their best: trimmed, pruned, with brushed soil,  moss and accent plants around, including flowering geraniums and pelargoniums ... really polished ;-)

 Taguchi Bonsai Club - 2011 Spring Show, Vandusen, Vancouver

The pictures explain better than me...

 Taguchi Bonsai Club - June 2011 Spring Show, Vandusen, Vancouver

Members of the Taguchi Bonsai Club were on hand to answer questions, showing off their work.

 Spring Bonsai Show, Vandusen, Vancouver

See by yourself  the bonsai which attended this show:

Mame bonsai:

 Mame bonsai - Spring Bonsai Show, Vandusen, Vancouver

Flowering bonsai in bloom like: Satsuki Azaleeas, Korean Lilac, Wisteria, Fuchsia and Cotoneaster.

 Flowering bonsai - Spring Bonsai Show, Vandusen, Vancouver
 Flowering satsuki azaleea bonsai - Spring Bonsai Show, Vandusen, Vancouver

or an interesting Cascade Bonsai,  the branches falling down from the top of its own trunk:

 Thuia cascade bonsai - Spring Bonsai Show, Vandusen, Vancouver

Other bonsai were a real example about successful air-layering techniques on Ginkgo tree, the Ginkgo Biloba  bonsai  from the left being air-layered few years ago from the top of the right-one:

 Ginkgo Biloba bonsai - Spring Bonsai Show, Vandusen, Vancouver

A very nice Japanese Larch Forest:

 Japanese Larch Forest - Spring Bonsai Show, Vandusen, Vancouver

Believe me... wordless is better, so enjoy by yourself the bonsai in their glory at the Floral Hall of Vandusen Garden, Vancouver, presented at the 2011 spring bonsai show:

Friday, June 3, 2011

PJM Rhododendron Bonsai

P.J.M. Rhododendron is considered one of the hardiest rhododendrons, being very tolerable at large variations of temperatures and light conditions.  I like very much this variety because it is one of the tiniest rhododendron looking more delicate than traditional rhodo's, being a perfect choice for bonsai.
PJM Rhododendron bonsai trained in semicascade style
PJM Rhododendron bonsai trained in semicascade style

In one of my previous posts I told you about one PJM rhododendron used in a custom-made saikei.  I really like its compact and dense foliage which is changing the color during the year from mahogany color in fall-winter to green color in summer. At this time, after the flowers passed, it has a lot of seedpods and the new foliage is enlighten the dark-green look of the plant with a mild grey-green tone. 

PJM rhododendron seedpods and summer foliage
PJM rhododendron seedpods and summer foliage

I love it because it is a scented-leaf rhododendron. Its elliptical-shaped leaves are aromatic if are crushed, with a mild tone of black pepper, limes and candy, unfortunately not edible ;-)

I like also how is looking in spring covered by small mauve-purple flowers. It is an abundant spring-blooming shrub, and the flowers are also scented with limes and candy notes.

PJM rhododendron flowers
PJM rhododendron flowers

P.J.M. rhododendrons are definitely outdoor bonsai, very easy to care in Vancouver's climate,  but although is a very hardy rhododendron, is better to protect their roots from winter frost and to avoid to over-water them. 

PJM rhododendron bonsai trained in broom style
PJM rhododendron bonsai

In the last two years we trained few PJM Rhododendrons as bonsai in broom, semi-cascade, slanting or windsept styles and, whatever shape you choose for them,  it is a real pleasure to have them around in any season.   
Don't you think they are lovely?


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