Latest Entries »

Accent On Spring…

Well gentle reader…it’s been quite a while since I’ve put a post up; I spent the winter adjusting to some health issues (life-altering, not life-threatening) but the show must go on! (As they say ;-)) We have had a pretty dry spring here in Portland, coupled with a mild winter and the native accents I keep reflected that…blooming, but not when they should–the Grass Widows were very late to wake up…

Grass Widows

These normally come out in January and didn’t flower until March this year…

Grass Widow

Love this native member of the Iris family…

Grass Widow

The Bird’s Foot Violet made an appearance…

Bird's Foot Violet

Bird's Foot Violet

This little clump turned 26 years old this spring…not bad for a non-woody stemmed plant!

Some Hawkweed up next…

Hawkweed

And a close-up of the flower…

Hawkweed

A Wild Rose I’ve had for 16 years…Rosa wodsii

A little closer…

Rosa woodsii

More…

Rosa woodsii

Closer…

Rosa woodsii

One I grew from seed, Coral bells. Started in 1992–you do the math πŸ˜‰

Coral bells

The Calypso flowered the same time it always does, March 15, and lasted a full month

Calypso

And I’ll finish with a Rock penstemon I’ve had in this same pot since 2006

Rock penstemon

I hope you’ve enjoyed nature’s ‘fireworks’ display as much as I did…the little ones require attention but reward us with their best!

Advertisements

Winter Wiring

Winter…and all my trees are resting. Now is the time to catch up on some wiring and re-visit some junipers I’ve had quite a while. We had a hot summer here in Portland and the junipers really put out a lot of growth; if branches aren’t pruned and foliage thinned out, a juniper can get away on you rather quickly πŸ˜‰ And even though some of the branches that were wired a couple of times already may have taken a set, it’s nice to have a wire on them to keep the design consistent. The first tree I took on is a Rocky Mountain juniper I collected in 2000 and brought to a bring your own tree workshop with Masahiko Kimura in Dallas in 2002. It has been fully wired twice since then and the last time it had wire on it was two years ago…here is what it looked like a month ago prior to work:

Rocky Mountain juniper

It had become really bushy in the two years I let it rest and was in need of some branch pruning and foliage thinning…about all I did in the way of work on the tree the last two years was to cut back the long shoots at the tips of the branches. And here’s the result after work:

Rocky Mountain juniper

I plan to re-pot it later this spring to something a bit more ornate than the current pot. Next up is a small Rocky Mountain juniper collected from the same time, also let go for a few years and in a bushy state prior to work:

Small RMJ

This little tree had been ‘out to pasture’ for three years and needed lots of thinning and pruning before it could be wired and here is the result:

Small RMJ

Sorry for the busy background! It was the only sunny spot that day, as the winter sun is so low in the horizon. Coming up is a little common juniper I wired for a client and have no ‘before’ photo to show you, only to say it too was a little on the bushy side:

Common juniper

I’m going to leave you with a shot from the backyard of some birch trees during sunset one evening this winter:

Birch sunset

I hope you are staying warm and dry this winter!

Pacific Yew for you

Sorry it’s been so long since my last post…I skipped an entire season–fall πŸ˜‰ I thought I’d share the story of a Pacific Yew–Taxus brevifolia–with you today. I was invited to stay with some friends at their cabin in eastern Oregon, Memorial Day of 2013. The area the tree came from had been logged and this tree had been living in the understory of the forest for a long time, slowly growing and waiting it out, losing its top somewhere along the way…it was the tallest thing around when I spied it–towering at just a little over four feet in height and had several morel mushrooms growing around it. There were enough morels to feed three–what a bonus! So the first shot is of me digging the tree from a rich duff and finding lots of feeder roots close in to the trunk:

digging yew

The diameter of the trunk is about five inches above the surface roots and tapers nicely to the broken top of the tree; my guess is the tree was about twelve feet tall at one time. The next shot is the moment we all live for as collectors…out of the ground and on some burlap with a great set of roots close to the trunk:

yew and I

And the last shot from collecting, tying the rootball up with some twine:

yew collecting

I don’t remember why I was laying down on the job, other than it may have been to get a better view of the trunk base as the tree was quite bushy down low. Another good quality we like to see a tree in the wild possess. I potted it in 100% pumice in the Anderson flat you see in the next photo that was taken just prior to putting it into a bonsai pot for the first time. The tree spent roughly a year acclimating from collecting and budded and grew vigorously–a sure sign it was ready for a bonsai pot:

Pacific Yew

It’s possible to see the three live veins comprising the tree starting with the one at the base on the left, then the vein running to the apex in the center and a third smaller vein a little lower down and to the right. I have a few shots next to show those of yew that get off on seeing roots–I know I sure do πŸ˜‰

yew roots

They were so fat and succulent…sort of reminding me of ramen noodles:

yew roots

yew roots

And on to the potting! I wanted to anchor the tree securelyΒ into its new pot, so I used a couple of galvanized wood screws to put in some of the larger anchor roots that were cut when I collected the tree:

anchor screws

You can also see the sixteen gauge galvanized steel wire used to tie the tree in…a lot more substantial than the aluminum I had been using. I have Ryan Neil to thank for that tip!tying the yew into the pot

The wires attached to the screws ready to tighten…

anchor

I used an old root as another anchor…

pot and yew

Here’s a shot of the tree anchored in ready for soil around the edges…I left most of the original rootball intact for this first potting and filled in the sides to the edge of the pot with a mix of 50% akadama and 50% pumice that was sifted to 1/4″ particle size. The pot is a Japanese Tokoname.

Pacific Yew

Here we are with the tree all potted and a layer of screened New Zealand sphagnum moss on the surface, to protect the mounded area of the rootball. I let the tree acclimate another year to a bonsai pot this time and it grew very well and is strong enough to see its first styling sometime this winter…I’ll keep yew posted!

Farewell to Summer…

Portland Oregon has a reputation for being a very wet place…until we get to July, which is the start of our dry season when we typically don’t see rain again until sometime in September. And so today is really the first time since then I’ve had the luxury to post to my blog because we finally have some rain! This summer has been unusually hot for us too–20 days of 90* F or above, which means watering multiple times a day for some of our trees and accent plants. What I have today is a variety of shots taken during our dry spell…first up is a bougainvillea in bloom for the first time since moving to Oregon from Arizona:

bougainvillea

This tree was given to me from a bonsai friend in 2003–11 years and counting. It was part of a hedge that was growing too close to a house and the trunk consists of three trees that fused into one. Trunk diameter is four inches and the tree is fifteen inches high. Next is an unusual accent plant–Scouler’s catchfly; Silene scouleri from the pink family:

Scouler's catchfly

I collected this plant in Arizona in 2005 and put it into this little pot I made–it has never been re-potted and continues to come into flower every summer. Close up of the flower:

Scouler's catchfly

A small, chuhin-size lodgepole pine I collected here in Oregon is happy this summer:

lodgepole

0ct08 010

The same tree a year after collection, October, 2008. And below, after its first styling back in 2008:

0ct08 014

It’s filled in nicely over the six years since this picture was taken. Now it needs to be planted on a rock or another pot…I’ll wait for spring for that! Next is a clump-style ginkgo planted in a pot I got especially for this tree from Mariusz Folda. I think the color will harmonize well with the golden fall color of the ginkgo:

Ginkgo

I bought this tree from Anne Spencer in 2009 and have been working on getting the trunks spaced better and increasing ramification; the branches are quite flexible and aluminum wire works fine on ginkgos. I know the tendency is to let these grow naturally into a ‘flame style’ tree, I wanted to try something a little different with mine πŸ˜‰ Even though it has been very dry lately, some mushrooms have sprouted from one of my accent plants–these remind me of little chanterelles:

mushroom

A collected vine maple; Acer circinatum, sporting early fall color and little mushrooms as well:

Vine maple

A close up of the mushrooms:

Mushrooms

My Southwestern white pine in early morning sun:

Southwestern white pine

An unusual little accent I found in July; I have yet to identify:

New accent

Interesting ‘bald’ spot at the center; I think this could be quite old:

New accent

And here’s a little gardenia; Gardenia jasminoides, there is a photo of this tree in the post titled ‘Bonsai Society of Portland Spring Show’ in its old pot…I re-potted it this summer and it likes its new home rather well:

Gardenia

I hope you enjoyed this eclectic ramble through my late summer garden!

Out of the Crucible…

It”s been a while since I put up a post, there just isn’t enough time in the summer with all the watering and trimming and de-wiring and all else that needs doing! I was able to get a few shots taken of things in and around the benches in June and we got a cool showery day today, so I thought I’d share some things from last month. First, a shot of an accent shelf that was once a power pole cross arm:

accent shelf

Detail of a glass insulator:

insulator

And another shelf:

accent shelf

The iron objects were found and can be used as stands for accents:

accent stand

Next is a sub-alpine fir planted on a rock with some six spotted saxifrage in bloom:

sub-alpine fir

Detail of the saxifrage:

six spotted saxifrage

Closer:

six spotted saxifrage

A viburnum I bought from Anne Spencer was in bloom:

Viburnum

A detail of the flowers:

viburnum flower

And a privet from Michael Hagedorn flowered:Privet

Detail of flowers:

privet flower

A ponderosa pine I potted earlier this spring:

Ponderosa

Next an Ocean Spray, a northwest native in full bloom:

Ocean Spray

And look what volunteered in the pot of a maple cutting…I have no idea where this came from. It’s a sundew, a carnivorous plant:

sundew

The forecast for tomorrow and the rest of the week is for more hot weather…typical July in Portland! I hope your summer is going well!

I know you’re wondering what I’m up to with a title like that πŸ˜‰ This post is about feeding our trees and I feel comfortable in knowing my trees probably will not demand my head for exclaiming they should eat cake…but, fertilizer cake is the topic and I’ve found a good source of this already mixed, pelletized and bagged, with mycorrhizae thrown in for good measure!

Rose Society Fertilizer

The Rose Society of Portland (OR) has their own organic fertilizer packaged for them and luckily, a couple of their members are also members of the Portland Bonsai Society. They bring several bags to the meetings from March through?? so we can also benefit from this convenient product…

Rose Society Fertilizer

It’s all there on the label…good numbers for promoting steady growth with every watering.

Rose Society Fertilizer

It costs us $16 for a 20# bag. I go through about two bags per growing season for all my bonsai; includes trees that are in pots and stock trees in grow boxes and nursery cans. What I’d like to show next is the extra step I take with this fertilizer for trees that are in pots and trees that are mounded above the rim of their container.

Rose Society Fertilizer

This is what it looks like right out of the bag…it is pelletized and there is some fine dust from all the handling in the process of shipping–never bothered me but really concerns some who are new to this stuff. I use it straight out of the bag for all my stock trees in grow boxes and nursery cans…I just sprinkle the pellets around the base of the trunk and let daily watering do the rest. Flies will lay their eggs in the stuff and birds will go after their maggots and really make a mess of your pots and benches. How can we stop this? Fertilizer cups! Or fertilizer baskets…

fertilizer cups

They come in packages of 10, I think and are a little spendy…

fertilizer cups

Just a simple basket of polyethylene with four little tabs to hold them to the soil

fertilizer cups

I line them up in aluminum cookie trays

fertilizer cups

Then I fill them roughly 1/2 full of the pellets…

fertilizer cups

Then I water them with rainwater…I’m sure you can use tap water, I just collect rainwater as we get a bit of rain here in Portland πŸ˜‰ I will then put them somewhere critters can’t get to them, in my case, the garage. I like to let them absorb the water and water them again the next day. They swell to fill the cups completely and it makes it easier to place them on your trees that way. I actually let them go long enough you can see the mycorrhizae hyphae…it looks a bit like mold growing. Then I invert the baskets onto the soil surface and mash them down quite firmly. The baskets do a pretty good job of preventing flies from laying their eggs on the fertilizer, thus eliminating all the hassle of organic fertilizer regarding maggots and birds…but the birds do figure it out after a while and sooner or later, they will flip the cups and there will be a nice little mess waiting for you when you come home from a long stressful day at work πŸ˜‰ That’s when I get out the bird netting…but that’s another post!

As usual, I like to leave you with a little eye candy and here is an oddball–rainbow cactus, in my care from 1996 or so…it really bloomed well this May

Rainbow cactus

That was from above; from the side

Rainbow cactus

I hope this has given you some ideas about working with organic fertilizers…they are the best way to promote slow, steady growth for our bonsai!

This post to my blog is as close to real time as I have ever got; I am winding down from a loooooooooong weekend of participating in the annual Spring Bonsai Exhibit of the Bonsai Society of Portland at the Portland Japanese Garden Pavillion. It starts with the set-up, which begins Friday morning with tables, felt and backdrops placed in position. Friday afternoon we bring our trees up to the Pavillion for staging in the final display. Scott Elser coordinates and executes all the logistics of the show and has done so since I joined back in 2006. He generously donates the use of his display stands (many other club members do as well) to put together a very nice bonsai exhibit–one of the better bonsai shows held in the U.S. my not-so-humble opinion πŸ˜‰

The show opens to the public Saturday morning and the club has a critique Saturday evening; given by an invited guest…this year we were lucky to have 90 minutes with Ryan Neil. Last year we had Michael Hagedorn give our Saturday evening critique. I always look forward to this and count it as one of the better benefits of being a member of the Bonsai Society of Portland!!! I was able to take some photos of the exhibit to share with you and I did show a few trees and accents of my own πŸ˜‰ How about some images?

birch

I’m sorry for the uneven lighting, my Nikon was in ‘auto’ mode as I had very little time to shoot before we Β tore the exhibit down…this is a birch in the club Tokonoma display presented by Dennis Vojtilla. Wonderful corky bark on this tree! It is huge! I helped Dennis load it up to take home today…definitely a two-person tree!

Next is a tree I brought in for the show, an Alligator juniper, Juniperus deppeana. You don’t often see this species used for bonsai and this one is 1600 miles north in latitude of where it’s native to. I find it does very well in the northwest climate:

Alligator juniper

A detail of the tree alone:

Alligator juniper

Directly across from this tree was this shohin display:

Shohin display

Chris's dwarf

An unusual ginkgo I contributed to this display I acquired from Anne Spencer, ‘Chris’s Dwarf’ in a pot purchased from Minoru Akiyama this February at the Green Club in Ueno Park in Tokyo, Japan. The smallest leaves you can barely see are about the size of a pinhead…they will increase in size over the summer. I put this tree in a purple pot for the contrast of this ginkgo’s golden fall color…we’ll see πŸ˜‰

And here was a real show-stopper–a larch forest entered by Lee Cheatle. How large is this forest?

Lee's forest

I waited for some unsuspecting guests to drift into the picture…just for scale πŸ˜‰

Lee's forest

I overheard Lee saying it’s just around 300 pounds…including the pot!

And in the corner to the left of this behemoth was stationed a Blue Atlas Cedar by yours truly…

cedar

I acquired this tree from Jim Gremel in the fall of 2012 at the PNBCA convention in Vancouver, WA. I traded a collected engelman spruce and a mountain hemlock for this tree. Potted in a Mike Hagedorn container. The accent to the left is a succulent I posted the flowers of in my last blog post, planted on lava rock; here’s a detail of that:

Graptopetalum rusbyii

My friend Pat Foldi won the people’s choice best shohin with a Frosythia from Anne Spencer. Also in a Hagedorn pot…do you see a pattern here?

Happy Pat!

O.K. now get out of the way so we can see the tree, Pat!

Forsythia

Ryan Neil made a special point to talk about this particular tree and that it is very unusual to see as a bonsai…

And very close by was a little gem I brought in–a tiny gardenia. Under Ryan’s radar for sure because you don’t see these in the U.S. often πŸ˜‰

Gardenia

I had more to share…a Common juniper you’ve seen before; CJ and an accent of native blackberry in a pot made by myself of a special clay from Archie Bray Foundation in Helena, MT. I used it because it fires bone white, which was the effect I was after; to represent a fallen tree at high elevation bleached by wind and sun:

CJ and accent

Bob Laws brought in a nice broom-style Zelkova

Bob's zelkova

Another tree from Bob was this lyrical sumac collected from his front yard in Vancouver WA

Bob's sumac

Right next door was a curious Lodgepole Β pine, Pinus contorta latifolia presented by Al Polito

lodgepole

Al also won people’s choice ‘Best Accent’ plant

best accent

Scott Elser brought in his engelman spruce in all its spring glory…

Engelman spruce

Jan Hettick made the stand for this out of blood wood…she told me it’s incredibly hard!

Jan's stand

A little clarification here–Scott’s design and Jan fabricated. A great result, I think! Kind of Arts and Crafts style with a softened geometry

And Jan doesn’t do just stands…here’s a nice lodgepole pine she shared with us

Jan's pine

And a couple of accents for you to savor πŸ˜‰

NW native fern

A Northwest native fern in a Mardella Brock pot

accent

This one could have got an award! I hope you’ve enjoyed this post; I was not able to capture all the great trees and elements of our spring show…the best way to experience it is to attend in person…will I see you there next spring???

 

It pleases me to share this post with you because it brings closure to a very bad accident this Southwestern white pine endured while en route to the National Bonsai Show in Rochester, NY, in June of 2010. Somewhere between Portland, OR and Rochester, the truck the tree was being delivered in jumped over a curb and the pot for this tree was broken. I don’t know how long it was before the driver discovered it, but maybe it’s best we never know πŸ˜‰ I was in Bozeman, Montana at the time, out of range of phone service, so I didn’t know what had happened until I returned and the show was over. Look for the full story in ‘International Bonsai’ Β 2012 issue #4. The tree is featured on the cover of that issue, with thanks to Bill Valavanis. It’s amazing how so many fellow bonsaiists worked together to make this tree showable in such a short time…much gratitude from me to all those that helped out!

It took $45 worth of superglue to repair the pot, according to Bill…and that was four years ago! Our winter in Portland was pretty bad, although in context with the rest of the US, we had it easy. Two cold snaps pretty well did the old cracked pot in and I was glad to see the custom made pot from Ron Lang arrive when it did! That’s another story in itself…the pot you see in this post was his second attempt as the first pot cracked during the firing and he had to make another. Let’s put up some images before you lose interest…first is of the tree on the bench and getting ready for re-potting:

re-pot

You can see the blue bungee cord holding the old, broken pot together…new pot from Ron Lang to the right…17″ tall by 14″ by 14″; wood fired with a nice texture…great job Ron!!

Ron Lang pot

The bottom of the pot with drainage screens in place and 16 gauge galvanized steel wire to secure the tree in the pot

the re-pot area

Here’s a shot of of the work area; the tree is too awkward to take into the garage or move anywhere, so the growing bench had to do! I really like using the old blue tarp on the ground to keep the soil from getting into the grass. Before I move on, I want you to see the curve on one side of the pot I had Ron do to accommodate the trunk of the tree and show it off better. You won’t find a pot like this anywhere else but in my yard.

re-potting

I couldn’t wait to get started, so I began to remove the broken pot from the rootball of the tree while my assistant was on his way…

rootball

I was surprised at how well balanced it was, even as I was pulling the old pot apart; you can see some wood blocks that were used to repair the pot four years ago as well as plenty of duct tape πŸ˜‰

detail

Feeder root alert! Always like to see these!

feeder root detail

If you look closely, you can see the mycorhizae (sp) hyphae lacing through the soil too…it all leads to a healthy root environment.

detail

So, this is as far as I dared go before having some help…where could he be???

assistant

My helper this time was Bobby Cuttright, on loan from Michael Hagedorn’s garden to help with the dirty work πŸ˜‰

new home

And the tree in its new home; it was a simple matter of removing some of the soil from the perimeter of the rootball to slip the tree into the new pot; I wanted to keep as much of the rootball intact as I could, because most of the field soil came off when the tree was potted the first time in 2010.

front

And a shot from the front of the tree, prior to tying it in or adding any new soil. It’s important to get the tree positioned correctly, as that’s the way it will be for a long time…hoping not to have to re-pot this guy for another eight or ten years.

working in new soil

Bobby with much concentration working in the new soil with a long bamboo stick; my stick is in the foreground. Amazing how fast this goes with some help. Bobby has really come a long way under Michael’s apprentice program! A note about my soil mix; I used 1/4″ sifted pumice and 1/4″ sifted hard akadama in a 50/50 ratio.

more'chopsticking'

More ‘chopsticking’ πŸ˜‰

Almost there...

Can you see that hammer in back of the pot? I used it to drive bamboo stakes into the rootball to tie the anchor wires to. It really works well to keep the tree stable in the pot while new roots are growing.

Ready for water!

All ready for water!

watering

Let the watering commence!

watering

Look at that technique! πŸ˜‰

watering

 

who needs Yoga when there’s bonsai to be watered?

watering

Checking to see how the new pot is draining…

watering

A parting shot for you…look below my left hand to see the old pot ‘resting in pieces’ πŸ˜‰

I like to share with you one of my more unusual accents, a succulent I collected in Arizona 20 years ago…flowering now. The Latin name is Graptopetalum rusbyii…I love the flower color, it reminds me of pointsettia.

graptopetalum

Close-up of the flower

close-up of graptopetalum

I hope you enjoyed the latest chapter in the story of my Southwestern white pine!

More from Seattle…

Where does the time go? I’ve been trying to keep up with spring Β but try as I might, she gets away from me every time! I was up in Seattle late last month to help a client with potting and re-potting and had to put all I had on hold. So, I had to get myself caught up before I could share this with you. The main subject of this post is a Rocky mountain juniper that I styled in late October:

RMJ

This is the tree just after some wiring and ready to go through winter. The owner has a greenhouse and agreed to mist the foliage twice daily throughout winter. She did such a great job, I wish I could hire her to take care of my trees πŸ˜‰ And in the next photo you can see the result of excellent aftercare–lots of new growth starting at the tips of foliage:

RMJ

If you look closely, you can see the flowers that indicate this specimen is a female…Rocky Mountain junipers are dioecious, meaning that individual trees are either male or female…female foliage tends to be tighter and more desirable than male foliage…sorry guys 😦 We got right to business as I couldn’t stay long and found lots of healthy roots had grown in the box over the years:

RMJ

More roots…

RMJ

The problem, you can see, is that the roots are mostly all to the right side; this is not unusual for collected trees as they often send their larger, woody roots along cracks in the rock they are found growing in. In the next photo you can also see another constraint… the box was narrow, which made the pot choice limited:

RMJ

Time to see if I could cut some of the roots on the right back, to increase our choices for pot selection:

RMJ

No turning back now!

RMJ

It looks like there are plenty of roots over on the left, but I found they originated on the right side of the trunk. We decided to play it safe and look for a long, shallow pot that could contain the entire root system:

Erin Pot

The pot is a shallow oval ‘Erin’ pot with a subtle glaze and texture…I was relieved to get that out of the way πŸ˜‰ Then it was on to some more root work:

RMJ

Removing the field soil.

RMJ

Lots of roots! A look from underneath the root pad showing the roots mostly on the right side of the trunk:RMJ

Back to the pot…I put a slight mound to the left of center to get the tree somewhat close to the planted angle I used when I styled it. I used 50% sifted pumice 1/4″ particle size and 50% akadama 1/4″ particle size:

RMJ

The wire I used to tie the tree in is 16 gauge galvanized all-purpose mild steel wire purchased at the Lowe’s, a short walk from my house. The steel wire doesn’t stretch like aluminum and is a lot less expensive. The next step was to place the tree into the container:

RMJ

Where is that shoe horn when you need it? πŸ˜‰

RMJ

Next step is to bring the wire across the root ball and twist together to secure the tree into the pot:

RMJ

Working soil into the roots:

RMJ

The roots are filling the pot!

RMJ

The pot was gradually filled with soil mix to just below the rim; the next step was to water the tree:

RMJ

Yours truly applying sieved sphagnum moss to the surface of the soil to help retain moisture there:

RMJ

There will always be a need to adjust the branches to the new potted angle…slight tweaking here and there…

RMJ

More tweaking…

RMJ

Time for lunch!

RMJ

More tweaking???

RMJ

There was more re-potting after lunch, and I had a chance in the afternoon to get a better shot of the Rocky Mountain juniper in its new digs:

RMJ

Another shot:

RMJ

I also helped to re-pot this little common juniper into a Jan Rentenaar pot…the next step on this little guy will be wiring in the fall after we see how he does over the growing season:

common juniper

Meanwhile, back at home…a vine maple and bird’s foot violet languished in the greenhouse…

vine maple

As much as I like hanging out in Seattle with good friends, the pull to get home and attend to things this time of year is very strong! I’ll leave you with this little Kusamono, a grass I collected when living in Hood River:

Kusamono

And a detail of the flowers:

grass flower detail

Well folks, I’m bushed! I potted two very large collected trees by myself today and am starting to feel it! Hope you have enjoyed this πŸ˜‰

March Madness

I see another month has slipped past and with spring officially upon us, it seems our green friends are all waking up at once! The frantic rush to get all re-potted begins as we duck in and out of rain showers, blustery wind and chilly nights. The weather seems to be all over the map and I always wonder how the delicate flowers of spring manage to make it. We had a sunny day this week, so I got the camera out and took some shots of some spring bling…

Grass Widows

 

A wildflower in the Iris family, Grass Widow, is late to bloom this year. It usually flowers a month or more earlier here in Portland. My Calypso orchid is right on time, faithfully opening March fifteenth, just like last year:

Calypso

 

Closer:

Calypso

 

They are tiny just now, just under three inches tall but will get twice that tall during their month long bloom. Something less showy is the Western saxifrage in a kokodama style planting:

Western saxifrage

 

Closer:

Western szxifrage

 

The Β flowers are so delicate and airy, this accent plant would put some spring zing into a bonsai display πŸ˜‰Bird's foot violet

Closer:

Bird's foot violet

 

Can you believe I’ve had this plant for twenty five years this spring? Makes one stop and think about just how old some things really are…How about some trees? This little Horse chestnut I grew from seed is looking good:

Horse chestnut

 

My dwarf ginkgo, “Chris’s Dwarf” got a new pot this spring, one bought at the Green Club sales area in Japan last month from Minoru Akiyama:

Chris's Dwarf

 

I think the gold leaves in the fall will really look nice with the colorful pot. Next, an Arizona alder cutting from a tree I collected nine years ago:

Arizona alder

 

And here’s the mother of the cutting above:

Arizona alder

 

Both trees are under six inches in height. And a privet clump given to me by Michael Hagedorn in one of his pots…starting to become one of my favorites:

Privet

 

A Japanese maple, Acer palmatum, turning twelve under my watch:

Japanese maple

 

A forsythia from Anne Spencer:

Forsythia

 

Another ginkgo, “Chi Chi” from Anne Spencer in a new pot from Marius Folda:

Ginkgo

 

Another purple pot intended to show off the ginkgo’s brilliant yellow fall leaves…will have to keep you posted on that. And another shot taken a few days later:

Ginkgo

 

Interesting to see the difference the exposure of the photo makes on the pot color. A tiny Arctic willow cutting in a Jim Barrett pot:

Arctic willow

 

My red-flowering currant is starting to bloom; large tree, nearly three feet high:

Red-flowering currant

 

Close-up of flowers not quite open yet:

Red-flowering currant

 

A shohin-size version of the same species:

Red-flowering currant

 

I’ll leave it there for now. I hope you are staying on top of the ‘spring frenzy’ enough to smell the flowers πŸ˜‰