Here are a few of the trees shown in the dedicated area for Bonsai-A-Thon.
One of my favorite parts was a display showing a show ready Olive, an Olive in semi-refinement, and a stick in a pot. I love that this shows that it isn’t some magical seed, species, or immediate action. Great display.
There were a few different trees on display in the Japanese Garden than the last time I was there. Here are a few of those photos:
Winter isn’t every gardener’s favorite time. Things die, gardens don’t look as good, and the fall color is gone. All that said, I love winter just because of the propagation aspect of hardwood cuttings. They are the easiest form of cuttings to propagate from and there never seems to be a lack of branches to prune for cuttings. Take around a 6″ cutting of a branch and cut right below a node for the bottom, count up 3 nodes and cut above the 3rd node, then stick in some well draining soil (pot or ground) and keep is moist until it buds out in the summer.
While my main interest in bonsai, I run a plant nursery. That leads to propagating as many varieties and species in large quantities when I propagate. Above I have fruitless mulberry, plum root stock, and mulberry cuttings. Below is where I add around 200+ cuttings of chinese elm, forsythia, pomegranate, and zelkova serrata.
Winter is just getting started and there is time for you to get some done! I still have plenty of mulberry, thornless honeylocust, grapes, blueberries, butterfly bush, goji berry, pomegranate, willow, california sycamore, cottonwood, and flowering plum to go!
This was a great trip overall. We had more rain in the past month than we had in years for that period of time so I figured it was time to collect. To be more precise, depending on the specific area it was anywhere from 200% to 400% of the normal rainfall for the month of November. Once December rolled around we planned and headed out by the 7th.
Here is a shot from the top of one of the hills we hiked up and dug our first two trees. One of those trees was dug and completely removed from the hole within 2 minutes. We weren’t that lucky with the remaining 7.
PSA: Make sure to pump up and/or check your tire pressure before dragging a cart up a mountain, you’ll be a lot less frustrated.
We dug about 3 that were this size or not much bigger. These came out a bit easier and were manageable when it came to getting them back to the truck.
The second half of the 9 trees we dug up were in a bit of wet clay. This helped to keep the root balls together pretty well and we got a significant amount of fine roots.
Here are two trees that I took home. They happened to be two of my favorite ones if I’m being honest. It is hard to see the twist on this first one with the trunk so dark and wet, but it has a good amount of character.
This beauty was one of the bigger trees we dug, but we were able to get a pretty small root ball all things considered. For a better view on the trunk make sure to check out the aftercare post for a good shot of it.
One of the last two we dug, this one ended up losing almost the entire root ball which resulted in a bare root juniper. I took it home for one of the other guys to put in my sawdust bed in my greenhouse to hopefully keep it alive.
Another victim of our yamadori hunt.
A victim of the victims…
Seriously though, getting these back to the truck was much harder than the digs themselves. I think if anything what I learned was to keep the root balls small and target smaller trees or trees you can trim back to easily carry. It would also be great to have a type of makeshift stretcher to carry trees out on. We were able to be close to the truck and not far from civilization, so bringing one isn’t out of the question.
This tree about killed us. Huge mistake was having a root ball that we didn’t reduce enough. We used two shovels parallel to put under it and carried it down like that. Another photo of it is below. That same tree is the one on the tailgate.
This was about as much as we could smile after carrying the last tree that was a freaking behemoth.