Wednesday, 20 April 2011
Red Japanese Maple - in flower, no less
Last week ended with a Spring re-potting and pruning session with Teacher-san. Almost a whole day gratifyingly consecrated to the trees - not just those that needed root and branch work but also those that just needed their top dressing refreshed; plus some weeding, clearing out dead branches, checking benches for pests, etc. Everything in a pot got looked at, Accent Plants as well as this ornamental red Maple in a very large patio pot.
Although this would be considered a patio plant rather than a 'true' bonsai (unless you are one of those nitpicking purists so PLEASE let's not argue semantics here, OK?), the lessons learned are what are of interest. 'Nuff said.
This is the first year where this Maple has produced so much flower - you'll notice the little dangly things running all the way along the branches, right up to the very edge of the extending shoots. Teacher-san took one look and said, 'pot-bound.' Apparently when there is that much flower, particularly when it goes up to the leader shoots, then that's a sure sign that the old root pruners need to come out.
Sure does look pretty, though - a bit like an ersatz Christmas tree. And when you think all that flowering effort is all about reproducing... oh yes, an oversexed red Maple. Oh my, oh my , oh my.
Swiftly leaving that topic... in the background, visible through the Maple leaves, are rows of Accent Plants on shelving propped against a wall. Although this gives them some protection during the Winter, the last couple of years have been pretty hard and we have lost a couple of the more fragile plants. Even among the plants we keep in the cold greenhouse, we've lost some Shohin bonsai and Accent Plants. This coming on after a holiday taken during a very hot May in 2010, where a lot of the smaller trees had dried out. Lesson learned: when you have someone come to water your trees, make sure they REALLY REALLY understand what it is to water bonsai properly. *sniff, sniff*