Central Virginia Bonsai Society
Lynchburg, Virginia
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Items below from the March 6, 2024, CVBS Newsletter
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ADAMS’ BONSAI HAPPENINGS> With the Japan trip taking so much time in the middle of the transition from winter to spring, my personal bonsai activities have been very intense. I did manage to do most of the wiring I wanted to do before heading to Japan. There was much wiring to do as many of my pines have reached the stage of refinement that annual wiring and pruning is essential to achieve their best appearance. Most of this was done solo. Volunteers often learn by watching but the shortness of time does not allow for a great deal of hands-on help beyond old wire removal.
Warm weather had stimulated the beginning of this year’s growth on many plants by the time I was back in town. Several volunteers, including a new member, have been very helpful in transplanting. Zuisho rooted cuttings, first year pine seedlings, and other rooted cuttings have been moved to individual pots. I did most of the root pruning and we all did the individual potting. Volume is the name of the game with these young seedlings and rooted cuttings. Repotting larger bonsai is a much more delicate procedure but can be very physical due to the weight of tree and pot.
The forecast for the next week or so is warm with no frost, at least in the Lynchburg area. That week of warm weather will certainly encourage many plants to emerge from their dormancy. More frost is not inevitable but is likely. Watch the forecast and prepare for moving vulnerable plants in if a cold night or early morning frost is coming. My persimmons are really pushing new leaves. If I don’t protect them from frost, the blooms will be killed and I won’t be able to determine the sex of the plants for yet another year.
Joe Sexton was a great help in repotting a very nice old Japanese five-needle pine seedling which I acquired from Hiro Yamagi years ago when importing J5NP was very easy. The tree was planted by Hiro’s father. I have worked on the tree from time to time and it has developed nicely as my skills have improved. At the urging of Bill Valavanis, I determined to place it lower in the pot. Removing about 1.5” from the bottom of the root mass called for application of the Sawzall. Joe provided the muscle to hold the tree while I applied the power tool. As this is an old tree with nice flaky bark, the trunk was wrapped with a towel to protect the bark and to give Joe a better grip. Taking the big slice off of the bottom of the root mass was quick and easy with Joe’s help. It was placed back in the pot, watered, and returned to the garden. It looks much better now. I will keep my fingers crossed that the buds will extend on time indicating that it has survived the operation.
Decay had threatened the structural integrity of two old railroad ties which secured the upper level of my terraced bonsai garden area. I had gotten two “new” high quality used ties from a local supplier. After aging them for a couple of months in the bed of my old pickup truck, I slid them out onto the ground near where they would be needed. I felt the need to get the repairs done before the growing season this year. The ties weigh about two hundred pounds each so moving them alone is not easy. In fact, their weight provided a good excuse for postponing the work. The approach of spring require that action finally be taken.
The first part of the job was to remove the old ties. My big pry bar, a couple of logging chains, and the Kubota provided enough help that I was able to lift the old ones out of their position without too much trouble. Both left nice hollows in the ground exactly matched to the dimensions of the replacement ties. All that remained was to move the new ties into position. Unfortunately, there is no room for the Kubota to do that operation so it was a muscle job. After several unsuccessful attempts on my own, Joe and I combined forces to move the heavy ties. Using gravity, a little muscle, and shorts pieces of three-inch pipe as wheels under the ties, they were moved into position and seated where the old ties had been. I probably could have done this on my own when I was younger but those days are past. All that remains to enable putting the bench back on this level of the terrace is to level the bottom blocks and stack the risers. This work will wait until all of the transplanting is finished.
Darrell Ramerth has been a great help over the last few days. He is a transplanting machine who also provides interesting conversation. With his speedy help, we individually potted all of my JBP and JRP seedlings as well as all of my small leaf trident, cotoneaster, and Koto Hime rooted cuttings. I now have over 300 individual pots of young plants ready for the growing season.
About 100 gallons of soil mix was made and stored for upcoming potting needs. I seem to use a lot of the soil mix but I continue to be satisfied with the result it gives in my bonsai practice. Unfortunately one of my storage containers (a 32 gallon plastic trach can) spit due to UV sun damage to the plastic. I was able to save most of the soil. I’ll check more carefully before filling them in the future.