Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Bonsai Destroyer

Until now my bonsai trees had no natural enemies that couldn't be dealt with, but last Friday my family has got a new member who happens to be a perfect bonsai destroyer. Her name is Bella and this is her photo. She is an 8-month old cross between Labrador and Golden Retriever. I love her anyway!

Monday, December 03, 2007

My first hand-made bonsai pot

Last weekend, I finally got my first self-made bonsai pot. First picture shows a slab of clay flattened with a rolling pin. I used this slab to make the base of the pot. Second picture shows walls and legs of the pot cut from a similar slab. Third picture shows the pot before bisque firing. Fourth picture shows the pot after it has been bisque fired, painted with glaze and fired again to melt the glaze. I am not satisfied with the quality of this pot and my pottery skills have a long way to go, but at least this pot can house one of my bonsai trees!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Trunk bending devices

I found that buying commercially made trunk benders is expensive. Here are three examples of trunk bending devices that I made and used lately. The device marked "A" bends the trunk at an acute angle with a sharp turning point and allows a branch to grow through it.

Bonsai mention in the Taiheiki

I was reading The Taiheiki (a 14th century chronicle of medieval Japan) and came across a passage talking about bonsai and suiseki in the garden of Tani-no-do Temple: "The towers of forty-nine cloisters stood above rare trees and curious rocks by a pond, most like to the inner close of the Tusita heaven". Tusita is the Japanese name for Maitreya, an Indian prince nominated by Buddha to be his successor, so Tusita heaven loosely means paradise. By the way, in the book this garden has been destroyed by the bad guys.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

The beauty of a tree and classic philosophy

In his dialogue titled ‘The Symposium’ Plato claimed that all trees are imperfect copies of an ideal tree, which exists outside the realm of human perception. He observed that some trees are beautiful and some are not and tried to explain why it is so. He wasn’t very successful, though. The Ancients also found that the concept of beauty itself was impossible to define. Socrates often asked his audience to define beauty and always showed through reasoned argument, that that all proposed definitions lead to paradox or absurdity.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Juniperus conferta yamadori

Two months ago, I found this oldish Shore Juniper (Juniperus conferta). Two weeks ago, I pruned about 50% of its foliage, while it was still in the ground. Two days ago, I finally lifted it (see image on the left). Didn't get much of the feeder roots. The image on the right shows this tree after it has been pruned and potted. I put it in full shade and really hope it survives. The Shore Juniper is native to Sakhalin Island (Russia) and closely related to the Common Juniper (Juniperus communis). This species is sometimes referred to as the Japanese Shore Juniper, but Shore Juniper is a more accurate name because Japan renounced its claims for southern Sakhalin in 1951.

P. S. The tree died a few months later. It didn't have enough of fine feeder roots.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Styling a Thuja-like conifer

Had a day off yesterday, which gave me a chance to do some further styling to a coniferous plant similar to Thuja. The image on the left is how it looked before styling, the image in the middle is how it looks now and the image on the right shows what I am trying to achieve.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

My daughter's recovery

Today my daughter is sick and I got a day off. While she was having a nap, I got a chance to prune one of my prospective bonsai trees. It is a small Trident Maple. I got it on sale from a hardware store about a month ago (left image). Since then I planted it in a bigger pot, bent its lower trunk and cut its entire upper crown (right image). Now, one of the former side branches is the new apex. I am yet to wire and bend the branches, but it will take a couple of years of pruning and wiring for it to become a bonsai. When my daughter woke up, she felt much better and her temperature came down.

P. S. To see what I did with this tree 3 years later see the following entry: http://lomov.blogspot.com.au/2010/08/root-graft.html

Friday, October 19, 2007

Growing Bonsai

My son is 11 cm taller than me now.

It has been more than a year since I started a regular non-research job in a zoo. I am unhappy with my job and I deal with it by growing bonsai. Crazy...

I still haven't published many of my research papers, which makes it even more annoying.