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Rants, Raves, and Musings from the Heart of Dixie

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The ramblings of the resident bonsai artist...

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WINTER COLORS FOR AZALEAS

Living in the Heart of Dixie does not afford one a chance to see a lot of fall color on trees.  Most of the time it does not really start getting cold until November and most of the bonsai like maples and elms are tired and the leaves just turn...


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A PLETHORA OF POTS

At a recent club meeting, Joe Day showed up with a trunk full of pots for sale.  They had belonged to a member who is no longer in the hobby and was looking to sell them.  It is always nice to have a selection of pots sitting around to select from...


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RHIZOCTONIA FOLLOW-UP

I took a little time to work with this poor satsuki azalea (gumpo white) today and I thought that I would post a follow up to the rhizoctonia web blight article.  As you can see it can be very devastating to the plant that it attacks.  It lost...


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RHIZOCTONIA WEB BLIGHT

As some of you may know, I have been on the mend for the last couple of weeks.  I was in a car accident in which I broke the patella on my right knee into six pieces.  I had surgery to fix it and have been confined to the couch.  Yesterday, I was...


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THE FICUS FUSION PROJECT

I had a few ficus retusa, or tiger bark ficus, sitting around in pots so I decided to do something with them.  I have read numerous articles on the internet on ficus fusion so I thought I would give it a try. What is ficus fusion?  It is, in a nut...


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LATE SUMMER BALD CYPRESS TRIM

Normally I don't trim many of my trees this time of the year since fall is right around the corner but bald cypress are very aggressive growers and being atypically dominant, you have to keep the top in check so that it doesn't get too thick.  Here...


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LATE SUMMER GROWTH ON BALD CYPRESS

As Summer starts to wind down and we approach Fall, the bald cypress are getting that last bit of trunk thickening in.  In fact, I think that they thicken more at this time than in the spring.  I grow all of my bald cypress with the pot submerged...


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HEDGE TRIMMING A COUPLE OF ELMS

I do this many times throughout the growing season - hedge trimming.  Walther Pall has an excellent article on the subject, read it here.  It is a great tool for development of your trees.  I mean why not hedge if it is not a show tree, who cares...


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SAVING A SERISSA

If you have been keeping up with the blog, earlier you nay have read, "A Goodbye for an Old Friend".  I posted an update to that article showing how it had recovered today and it was an impressive recovery.  So, I thought that I would try it on...


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OK, MY AZALEA HAS FINISHED BLOOMING, WHAT NOW?

I see this question asked a lot on various bonsai forums and, at times, on Facebook so I thought I would write and article about how I treat my azaleas post flowering. Before I get started, let me offer this little disclaimer: This is by no means...


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OVULINIA AZALEAE, OR PETAL BLIGHT, THE BANE OF THE AZALEA ENTHUSIAST

You may have experienced it, I know that I have.  One day you are outside admiring your azalea bonsai’s beautiful blooms, the next day you check them and they have all turned to jelly and are hanging off the plant like some type of slime.  What...


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TRYING TO TAME A JAPANESE MAPLE "ARAKAWA"

I have had this cork bark maple for a while and lately have been focusing on trying to make it look somewhat decent.  The spring flush is almost finished its push so I decided to thin it out and give it wiring to position the new growth.  I started...


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MAKING AN ELM BROOM

I have always admired broom style bonsai trees, especially the elms.  What’s not to like? A nice flare at the bottom and spreading branches up top, spreading out to make a perfectly round canopy.  I have had this elm that was in a batch of...


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CHINESE ELM GETS ITS FIRST TRIM

Chinese elms are very prolific growers and since we have a long growing season, usually at least 9 months, it is not uncommon to cut them back 2, 3, or even 4 times.  This one looked like this on February 12


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CHINESE ELM REPOTTING

Elms, everybody needs at least one.  I have four or five, all were started from either air layers or cuttings.  They were just before budding out so it was time to repot, and this time into some nicer pots as they had both been growing in larger...


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REPOTTING SATSUKI TSUKI NO SHIMO

This is one of my favorite varieties of satsuki azalea, it has a curled leaf that looks pretty cool and the growth habit is perfect for bonsai, nice and tight.  The flowers are a very light pink and have kind of a pearlescent sheen to them.  The...


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JUST AN ACCENT PLANT

I don't have many accent plants, I just never really took the time to put many of them together.  Plus, I don't need that many as I don't show my trees in many shows.  I planted this one last year, nothing fancy, just some resurrection fern, moss,...


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KINGSVILLE BOXWOOD REPOT

Have you ever held a mighty oak in the palm of your hand?  Me either, but I think about it whenever I am working on this tree.  I am trying to style it like a Southern live oak, I think it kinda looks like one, or maybe, it looks more like a Dr....


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IS MY AZALEA DYING?

...it has dropped a lot of leaves? If it is winter, probably not. While most are considered evergreen, they should be called semi-deciduous, as most of the ones that I have seen lose some or most of their leaves in the winter months. A case in...


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SERISSA DOESN'T LIKE WET FEET...

Or moss on their trunks. Unfortunately, I knew this. Last years extremely wet spring and summer kept the pot too wet and fed the moss plenty of moisture, add that to a busy schedule and you have a recipe for disaster. Moss crept up the trunk and...


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A FEW AZALEAS

Spring is upon us in the Heart of Dixie and some of the azaleas that I have been growing as bonsai have started blooming.  This is my favorite time of the year, I wish the flowers would last longer.


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MY BEN OKI AZALEA

Favorite Minion came across some pictures of me attending a Ben Oki workshop from 2013 and asked me if I still had the tree.  Of course, I did, and after comparing the drawing that he made for the future tree, I thought it would make an interesting...


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AZALEA WINTER COLORS

Azaleas are usually classified as deciduous or evergreen, but actually it is not that cut and dry.  I have been growing azaleas for many years now, indicas, kurumes, satsukis, and some that I am not even sure of; but I have come to the conclusion...


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SUMMER ROOT GROWTH ON BALD CYPRESS

I was hoping to write this article and post it sooner, sometime around the end of October, but I did not have time to get it done.  So, I still thought I would share my experiences with this super species for bonsai.  If you have been reading on...


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THE GREAT BLIZZARD OF 2017

On December 9, 2017, the Heart of Dixie, got some snow.  I know that this is not a big deal for some of you who are reading this, but for those of us who live in Lower Alabama, it is magical, and, well, a catastrophe, too.  It is beautiful, but no...


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"A" IS FOR ANTHRACOSE

Those who keep bonsai for any length of time usually have some sort of fungus or virus infect their trees.  This year I have been battling two on my azaleas, ovulinia petal blight and rhizoctonia web blight, and another on my maples, anthracose. ...


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A GOODBYE FOR AN OLD FRIEND

This one really hurts.  I have had this tree for probably 10 years, it was started from a cutting and I spent a lot of time throughout the years working it to try to make a decent tree.  This spring I decided to give it a repot because it had been...


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IT'S UNCANNY!

The aggressive growth of the bald cypress never ceases to amaze me, they are truly amazing trees.  This growth rate and their forgiveness for mistakes makes them and excellent tree for beginners.  Results are achieved quickly and it helps keep...


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NEW SHEARS

When I am out and about, I always have my eyes open for things that might be useful when I am working on the trees.  The other day, my daughter and I were at the local flea market (why do they call it that) and I happened across these shears.  Now...


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BALD CYPRESS REPOT

The following work was done in February of this year (2017).  I wanted to use this repot as an example of the root and tree growth that can be achieved by submerging your bald cypress trees in a tub of water Spring through fall.  If you would like...


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LARGE FICUS FOREST REPOT

The following repot was performed in late July of 2016. I decided to write an article about it in case there was an interest in repotting a large tree or group planting. It was a major undertaking that took several hours, in the rain some of the...


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A NEW POT

I received a new pot in the mail today, I had won it on the 99 Cent Bonsai auction page on Facebook page.  I is a nicely made pot with a great finish.


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FICUS BENJAMINA DEFOLIATION AND WIRE

I had a little time a few days ago, I decided to defoliate this ficus and give it a rewire.  Normally you would not defoliate this late in the year, but here in the deep South we still have another month or so of warm weather and the tree should...


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REVIEW: DRAMM 1000PL WATER BREAKER NOZZLE

If you read the how-to article that I wrote about building your own watering wands, you saw that I used the “shower heads” off of the old wands that I threw away.  One of the heads gave a nice soft flow, it was the purple one, but the other two did...


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AT A LOSS FOR WORDS

It has taken me a week or so to get over the rage and kicking myself in the rear to get up the nerve to write this post.  While out watering my plants, I came to the stand where my favorite satsuki azalea lives, only to find it upside-down on the...


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SUBMERSION OF BALD CYPRESS FOR INCREASING TRUNK GIRTH

This topic is almost as hot as the subject of bonsai soil.  Just mention that you grow your bald cypress in a tub of water and you will get all kinds of hate mail.  Most will tell you that you don’t need to submerge them to get them to grow well....


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THE SECRET LIVES OF APHIDS

Today, while watering my trees, I noticed that the newer growth on my dwarf crepe myrtles (I think the Chickasaw variety) was looking yellow and sickly.  A few causes flashed in my mind; first was the heat, it has been incredibly hot these past few...


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MUST HAVE TOOL

Today, I picked up a must have tool or bench accessory that all aspiring bonsai artists just can't be without.


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