Saturday, 28 February 2009

Hazel - Winter Image

Spring has definitely sprung over here, although you probably can't see the buds breaking out on this one. Don't think it's ever had catkins. Would be nice, although if catkins = hazel nuts, I won't be too keen on the squirrels going a-gaga over this one.

From pot feet to highest twig, this guy measures 8.25 in / 21 cm. We don't have squirrels that small over here.

Pot might be Japanese. The tree came from someone local-ish to us (I think he does mostly stuff from cuttings). The lines still need improving on this one.

The good thing about photographing your trees is that it shows up all their deficiencies. Which is fine when you're into work-on-my-bonsai mode. If you are into sit-back-and-admire mode, well...

I suppose this could be labeled another WIP, or HIP even. Figured it out yet?

Primula 'Wanda'

I guess this is the brightest lighting I'm going to get for this guy today.

Pot is by Bryan Albright, a sort of turquoise glaze around the rim and olive / moss green glaze below. Total height of planting is in the region of 4 in / 10 cm.

What doesn't show up is the stunning magenta of the flowers, contrasting with the green-y/blue-y glaze of the pot. The plant was intended to go into a much smaller white-y Pitt-pot but what I wasn't prepared for is the size of primula rootballs. I can feel a dirty joke to John coming up here....

WIP (or a Study in Squiggly Lines)

What, did you think a letter was missing from that acronym?

Think of it as either a Willow In Progress or a Work In Progress. It's one of those things that self-seed themselves into the garden and have to get pulled out at regular intervals. This one was spared the trash bin on the basis that I wanted to try making a very small kusamono with a woody-something (did I just say that?) rather than purely herbaceous material.

I think there is a hosta at the base of the willow, have to wait until later in the year to see if memory serves me right. It wouldn't be a miniature hosta, but even a ginormous one will adapt itself to whatever size pot it's put in. *If this concept shocks you - spare me any moralistic pontification at this point, OK?*

Pot is by Petra Hahn, standing about 1 in / 3 cm high. The entire planting is about 6 in / 15 cm, but that's only because the willow hasn't been pruned yet. The buds are starting to break but I think I will wait until later in the spring for pruning. The entire thing is held together by the usual keto + gunge mixture. The fuzzy bits sticking out are the moss whatsits.

The object is to get down to about 3-4 inches total height, but also to get the trunk to as large as possible in this pot. How many years are we looking at? Depends on the willow, I guess. I'm hoping for something show-able in 4-5 years.

Cascade Chojubai

Chaenomeles japonica in a Pitt pot. This was on show at Swindon last week. Again, promised the Pitt-boss that he would get sent a photo, but I guess all he's getting is a link to this blog.

This guy is in pure akadama and is kept in an unheated greenhouse together with most of the shohin. Partly to keep the bloody blackbirds off the moss and partly to take the edge of the worst of the weather. The only problem is that the trees in the greenhouse tend to need more watering. Well they would, given the size of their pots. This guy isn't too bad, as he's in a deeper pot than most.

What's not quite visible is all the flower buds that are still coming on. If we get a profusion of colour, then I will post another photo.

Fuzzy Needle Juniper

I think this is rigida but I'm sure someone will be able to confirm / refute.

It doesn't show as well due to the crappy lighting and my less-than-stellar photographic skills. The whole thing looks like it is tipping over to the right but I cannot be bothered to take another photo as Blogger is starting to sulk.

Pruning of this prickly bugger will take place later in the year. Notice how we have one juniper berry - not enough for any alcoholic / culinary purposes. Assuming any juniper berry will do.

I think the pot is one of the ubiquitous Chinese models. Stand is probably Chinese too. The little ceramic water basin is by a Danish lady whose website I cannot find anymore. I have been through Morten Albek's and Wolfgang Putz's websites trying to find her. Last time I saw her was at the EBA in Belgium. Got loads of her stuff then.

Talking of which, in case you are looking for a link to something bonsai, check out
either Morten Albek's or Wolfgang Putz's site. They must know everybody (or everybody must know them).

The number of people blogging on Bonsai is staggering. Just on Blogger alone. Interested? Links are on Morten Albek's site.

How my friends think I should start the weekend

Got these in my in-basket this morning. Are my friends trying to tell me sumfin?


My uncle got a vasectomy. Put it on MasterCard. Forgot to pay.
The finance company came over and knocked up his wife


The newly born sperm was receiving instructions in conception from the head sperm.

"As soon as you hear the siren, run for the tunnel and swim in a straight line until you get to the entrance of a damp cavern. At the end of the cavern you will find a red sticky ball, which is the egg. Address it and say, 'I'm a Sperm.' She will answer, 'I'm the Egg.' From that moment on, you will work together to create the embryo. Do you understand?"

The sperm nodded affirmatively and the head sperm wished him luck.

Two days later, the sperm was taking a nap when he heard the siren. He woke up immediately and ran to the tunnel. A multitude of sperm swam behind him. He knew he had to arrive first. When he was near the entrance to the cavern, he looked back and saw he was far ahead. Then he was able to swim at a slower pace until he reached the red sticky ball. When at last he reached the red sticky ball, he brightened up, smiled, and said,

"Hi, I'm a sperm."

The red sticky ball smiled and said, "Hi. I'm a tonsil.


In Pharmacology, all drugs have two names, a trade name and generic name. For example, the trade name of Tylenol also has a generic name of Acetaminophen. Aleve=2 0is also called Naproxen. Amoxil is also called Amoxicillin and Advil is also called Ibuprofen.

The FDA has been looking for a generic name for Viagra. After careful consideration by a team of government experts, it recently announced that it has settled on the generic name of Mycoxafloppin. Also considered were Mycoxafailin, Mydixadrupin, Mydixarizin, Dixafix, and of course, Ibepokin.


Pfizer Corp. announced today that Viagra will soon be available in liquid form, and will be marketed by Pepsi Cola as a power beverage suitable for use as a mixer. It will now be possible for a man to literally pour himself a stiff one. Obviously we can no longer call this a soft drink, and it gives new meaning to the names of 'cocktails', 'highballs' and just a good old-fashioned 'stiff drink'. Pepsi will market the new concoction by the name of: MOUNT & DO.

Friday, 27 February 2009

OK, so some things can still surprise me

10 Downing Street on Twitter?

With 1,074 updates, I wasn't about to go trawling around to see if they had 'hate tweets'.

Wonder if this is this how the Civil Service finds out if they're getting pay rises? *snicker*

Seriously though, I wouldn't mind if you could tweet the tax people or an embassy/consulate with a quick question, like 'are you going to release my passport sometime soon or what?'

Wonder how many people it would take to handle all those updates... or is it that all the 146K or so (and probably rising) followers are all busy Civil Servants answering questions and taking flak? It's a dirty job but someone's got to do it.

Like, my job description is answering tweets. *snicker*

Caveat (probably the first of many)

Yes, I was serious about giving away the offspring of some of the specimens below. That said, interested parties will have to be somewhere where I can physically hand said offspring to them. Not even for the sake of this blog will I hike my ass to the Post Office.

No point in said parties not being able to take home their stash with them - so if you are in a country that doesn't like foreign flora coming in, sorry.

Also, seedlings/babies/whatever will have to be of sufficient size & maturity to withstand re-potting. So we will still need to be friends (or at least not hurling invective at each other) till at least next year.

And if you think a baby Hepatica will have more than 2 leaves next year, dream on.

If you are interested in any of the older stuff I may have, leave me a comment; I'm willing to do a swap at Lorca if you aren't local to me.

Also, none of these lot are copyrighted or whatever it is they do for uber-pedigreed plants.

Big Buttercup

This one is Ranunculus ficaria 'Coppernob' and is about 5 in / 13 cm from the base of the pot to the top of the flower. Still it's one of those invasive buttercups given half a chance. The leaves are a bronze / dark green colour, similar to Brazen Hussy and the other bronze varieties.

This one propagates itself freely so if you want one, leave me a comment.

Mike hates these guys - well they are close to the nec plus ultra of invasion.

Pot is by Bryan Albright; glazed only at the rim, colour is sort of a light tan with hints of green. The pot does not self-propagate, so I'm not giving any of them out. In fact, a few pots have met their demise here, due to territorial disputes among the neighbourhood cats. And we have marauding blackbirds.

The joys of bonsai growing...

White Hepatica

A white variety of Hepatica nobilis, this time in a vermilion Bryan Albright pot. What you may not be able to see clearly is the gazillions of baby hepatica growing at the base - ignore the crappy looking alpine mix. This is another one I didn't want to disturb at the beginning of the year, as it had self-seeded into its original pot. So at the moment it is a large-ish accent at about 6 in / 15 cm from base to tallest leaf tip; the plan is to break the plant up and move it slowly into smaller accent pots.

This one was the earliest to come into bloom, sort of early February. The flowers are now starting to go over. Oddly enough, leaves were out much the same time as the flowers were.

What you also may not have noticed is that it is setting seed again (look at the stalks without petals), so I will have even more white Hepatica on my hands. Breeds like rabbits, this one does.

Leave me a comment if you want one of them white boys over here, then. Oh, was that not a PC statement? Bite me.

Grape Hyacinths in a Pitt pot

Muscari latifolium, to be more precise, in one of the 'volcano' pots that John Pitt came out with a year or so ago. I think he still does them, but I haven't checked lately.

I owe the Pitt-man (John have you ever had Pitt-bull jokes?) photos, so here y'go. I know it's not fantastic but at least I cleaned the pot, OK. Green slime on white glaze is so not appetizing.

This plant has very dark purple (veering towards magenta) flowers that come out in very tight clusters. The only trouble is that the whole thing eventually grows to the size of prize-winning leeks. So the actual window in which the plant + flowers + pot are in harmony is probably 3 hours. Kidding. Anyway, by the time I get back from Lorca, the whole thing will probably be past it.

Another large-ish accent planting, this one is currently at the 6 in / 15 cm mark and still growing. Whether it will ever get exhibited is all a question of timing (that 3 hour window, y'know, har har).

The flowers are just starting to peek out, so if they become any more photogenic this weekend, I'll re-post a better photo.

Overpotted Hepatica nobilis

Yes it is overpotted (in a Dan Barton pot BTW) but the root ball was too big and it was just coming out into flower, so I decided to give it a minimum of disturbance. I think the plant came from Blackthorne nursery which is now closed, the owners having retired. They still sell some stuff via the Alpine Society, I think. Don't hold me to that.

This one has dark blue flowers which appear before the leaves. The inner part of the petals is a lighter blue, almost white.

Can't see the detail? Address all complaints to Sony Ericsson pleeze. It surely can't be my photography skills in question ;o)

Nobilis isn't a particularly expensive variety, and is quite strong. I've experimented with this variety in a kusamono planting, embedded in tons of keto and gunge. Tricky, as alpines don't like being over-watered but keto turns into brick if it dries out. The original plant looks like it's regressed into oblivion but it has sent up a young 'un alongside so my composition is still intact.

As to expensive Hepatica, I've heard of some varieties going for triple-digit sums. I indulged before Blackthorne closed, got one in the double-digits and it snuffed it....

About those pots...

Just in case anyone is wondering:

The drum pot is one I've had for a year or so now, it was probably purchased at the same time as the crescent pot at the bottom. Both are imported from Japan. They are both brown, unglazed; well the crescent has touches of glaze but they don't show up under the light. The flash sort of washed out the colour, which is why the drum looks blue. Want more info? Hunt Natsuo down, he chose them. He's probably on a ship in the middle of the sea in Japan somewhere.

Wave to Natsuo as he sails past - hi Natsuo!!

The other 'pot' is a gift from a Japanese friend who owns a pub in Tokyo. (Food and drink... things I like even more than bonsai.... nom, nom nom.) It's not got a specific purpose, from what they told me. Looks like a scoop of some description but it could just be the artist being, well, artistic. Again, this is unglazed dark brown clay on the outside, rendered blue by the flash.

What to do with the drum and the crescent? The drum is way strong and way deep - not sure if I will ever have a shohin with enough presence to put in it. The crescent? I got it originally intending it for an accent planting. Now either I use it for kusamono (in which case I will have to leave it outdoors and then my next problem will be the bloody blackbirds looking to alleviate their boredom) or I use it for its original purpose in which case can you imagine the whopping great tree it will have to go with? The pot stands about 6 in / 15 cm high.

So at the moment both pots are doing nothing. And if they stay that way, it's fine by me.

Thursday, 26 February 2009

We have lift-off!

Drum pot photo posted earlier was taken off my phone and posted direct onto Blogger, including text. It looks like I have managed to get all the bits of software talking to each other.

It only took a whole evening of fiddling with buttons, opening accounts with various service providers - 2 or which were for the phone - and waiting for server replication (or whatever those little boxes do) to take place.

Now we practice with more photos. Can't say I enjoy taking photos off my phone but there you go... maybe Picasso said the same thing about refracting his subjects.

Drum pot

Think this a Tokoname pot. A bit washed out by the flash.

Test photo - not really a bonsai pot

Taken with a Sony Ericsson and what a pain this is getting to be, trying to blog off a phone.

Bonsai pot

This one's a proper bonsai pot, taken without flash, so you can barely see the glazing detail. Will try to take another one of a Tokoname drum pot.

Still have to get the phone to connect to Blogger. Only a few days till we leave for Lorca and I still haven't got the whole set-up to work.


First post ever.

Have had to succumb and put up a blog because I can't post pics on Twitter.
How sad is that.

And life is never simple, is it? Now I need a blog so that pics from the EBA convention in Lorca can go up real time.

And I've had to upgrade to a phone that takes (hopefully) decent pics. And get e-mail + internet access sorted on my phone, + Twitter. And now Blogger.

Why am I doing this????