Thursday, 4 March 2010

Not Quite a Starting Line-up...

Well, I actually did forget some of the other plants I had put on display at the Swindon Winter Image show in my earlier post.  Not that I could've posted them on this blog any earlier due to my recent monitor problems, but better late than never, I suppose.  So here we go with the rest of my starting line-up of display trees and accents for 2010 - and then some.

Our accent plants are starting to wake up now and some of the compositions I put together last year are starting to show signs of rejuvenation.  So more photos to come in the next few weeks, hopefully.  But for now, this photo is the collection of accent plants that went with us to Swindon Show; all but one went out on display:
The Ranunculus ficaria 'Coppernub' (rear upper left hand side) is a slight disappointment to me, as it didn't flower any more profusely than it did last year, although the plant has bulked out considerably.  The other guy to the right of him is also a Ranunculus (another lost label jobbie, so don't expect a variety identification anytime soon from me) and still hasn't flowered.  Leaves are funky, though.  This second Ranunculus is in a pot by Alan Harriman.  The lighting in this photo is brighter than last year's so the colour of the Coppernub's Bryan Albright pot is a lot closer to the original.

This picture of a Shohin cascade Cotoneaster frigidus 'Cornubia' was taken before clean-up and show prep:
We've been growing this guy for at least 4 years now, and this Walsall pot is now its second home.  It started out with quite a large rootball, hence the slightly over-potted look; however as it only has come out on show when either the flowers or berries are out, then it also has these over-long branches which slightly compensate for the whopper of a pot.  Being a cascade, this is a difficult one to give dimensions to, so if I say that the pot is about 4 in / 10 cm high, that should give an overall indication of the size of the tree. 

This isn't one in our collection that comes out in public very often (although I have taken it to our local club several times), partly because we aren't 100% satisfied with its ramification.  Although the trunk is rather interesting.  Here it is at a slightly different angle, showing the trunk line and the berries:
 A little later in the year, I'm going to give this guy a massive prune. 

As an aside, the winter colour on our cotoneasters was gratifying this year.  However, we didn't get a lot of flower and fruit out of our shohin cotoneasters this time, although the larger ones did all right in that department.

Again another shohin that went through the popsicle stage this winter.  Here is how this Picea looked on show:
And here you can just about see it on the left-hand side in all its frozen glory.

The pot is a Tokoname, apparently by Bigei.  As I can't read the markings, I have no way of confirming this but I'm sure someone will give a shout if it proves otherwise.

And this last one is a shohin Japanese White Pine which will only go out on show if I'm really, really desperate as the branch structure still needs so much work done to it.  Plus that trunk line sometimes strikes me as being totally dire.
Another small tree that we've had for several years but really only a WIP for the past two.  This one also went popsicle during the winter freeze, and you'll see it on the right-hand side of this photo.

The reason I've got this White Pine in here is to illustrate a couple of things.  Rather than buy expensive trees, our bonsai acquisition strategy has been to pay for trees that - by our guesswork - will need about 5 to 8 years' work and fall into a medium (or more) price range for that type of bonsai.  We have been lucky with some and they have literally only needed a couple of years before they've been deemed ready for show.  We have also acquired dead cheap / unwanted trees that showed their potential in a relatively short space of time.  Others, like this White Pine, will need both time and patience - in spades.

But if you are mad keen on getting a 'finished' bonsai to go out immediately into competition (and win), then expect to pay the full market value of that tree. Whatever that may be. Because - in bonsai just like in everything else - you get what you pay for.

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