Tag Archive: black huckleberry


Spring Delights

This time of year is like a blur to a bonsaiist–everything seems to be going off simultaneously. You can almost feel the energy of the plants and trees we care for, sending out new shoots loaded with leaves and flowers. And while all this is going on, we are trying our best to keep up with the ones that need a new pot or need to have their soil exchanged and roots reduced. It’s about this time I surrender and realize I can’t do it all so I try to get as much accomplished as I can and still leave time to watch them grow and document that here for you on this blog.

The first subject is a Pioneer Gooseberry, Ribes lobbii, in full glory. I posted a close-up of the fruit of this plant in a post titled ‘September Splendor’ and here are the flowers for you. The crimson color is quite something to see in person, I hope the photos can do it justice:

Gooseberry

 

I collected this little shrub in May of 2010 with no idea what the flowers would look like, only that it was in the Ribes tribe. Some closer shots of the flowers:

Gooseberry flower

 

Another branch of crimson lanterns:

Gooseberry flowers

 

Here’s a Black Huckleberry for you I’ve posted before; it was in a Mardella Brock pot until this beauty from potter Jan Rentenaar found its way to me. It reminds me of a giant huckleberry that burst open:

Black Huckleberry

 

Some close-ups of the flowers:

Huckleberry flowers

 

There are four flowers, can you see them? They have an interesting form but not much color when fully open. A shot of the light pink color when they first appear:

Huckleberry flower

 

One more with an insect–looks like an ant to me:

Huckleberry flower

 

I collected this Winged Elm while living in Missouri, 24 years ago. I planted a Bird’s Foot Violet near the trunk that came from the same area. They are waking up together this year:

Winged Elm/Violet

 

Closer:

Bird's Foot Violet

 

Another Bird’s Foot Violet in its own Jim Barrett pot:

Bird's Foot Violet

 

I should include the Latin name, Viola pedata, and the reason for birds and feet being dragged into this 😉 The leaves of the plant resemble the toes of a bird spread out. Hard to believe I’ve kept this alive for 24 years, but I collected it in 1989! The next offering is an Arizona Alder I’ve had for nine years now:

Arizona Alder

 

It’s at its best just now as the leaves become larger with the warmer weather. It can be partially defoliated as the season rolls along and the newer set of leaves do come in smaller. Its winter silhouette is getting nicer as the twigs slowly ramify. It really likes the climate here in the Pacific Northwest, some 1,600 miles further north in latitude to where it’s native. Coming up is a Pignut Hickory I’ve had for 24 years, also collected in Missouri:

Hickory

 

This is one of those trees that is difficult to get to ramify, so I’ve pretty much left it alone and keep it for curiousity’s sake. A close shot of the plated bark is a nice feature of this tree:

Hickory

 

And the nebari (Japanese for surface root) is of interest as well:

Hickory

 

I always like to end a visual feast with a little ‘eye candy’ and an unusual subject at that. Here is a little plant that has evolved to live off another host and only puts up a flower–Orobanche uniflora var. purpurea or more commonly known as Naked Broomrape:

Naked Broomrape

 

It’s the tiny purple flower with the yellow tongue in the center of the photo. A side view of the same flower:

Naked Broomrape

 

It popped up amid some Prairie Stars, Lithophragma parviflora, I think may be the host plant. But there are also lots of grasses that could be hosts as well. It’s been open for a few days now, a nice surprise that was unanticipated. That’s all folks, thanks for stopping by for another look!

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Fall color

We’ve finally got our rain back here in the Northwest and with that, more time indoors to go through the few photos I’ve been able to capture between the rain and flat, gray light. My trees seem to be a bit confused this fall because our spring was so cold, summer came late and we’ve had no cold weather yet to speak of. So, I tried to get what I could with the little I’ve got. Here’s the forest of Japanese mountain maples I grew from cuttings that was featured in the last post to this blog:

 

Another forest in training; this time the species is Vine Maple:

 

Fall color on vine maples can be a bit difficult to achieve if you’re not careful about where to site your tree; leaves get sun scorch very easily and generally look pretty ratty by the fall. Next up is a shohin vine maple I posted in an entry earlier this summer. Color isn’t stunning, but still nice and adds a little seasonal interest:

 

Another shohin size tree, Horse Chestnut, from seedling:

 

My Boougainvillea decided to flower too:

 

If you’re wondering what the netting is for, it’s to keep the birds from rifing through the soil; we had one of the driest summers on record here in Portland and my pots had the only moist soil for them to search for insects. The English sparrow is the real culprit and a non-native species to boot! While on the subject of flowers and tropicals, here’s a shot of a Serissa in flower with a bee in paradise:

 

And my night-blooming Cereus cactus put on a late show:

 

Back to the trees–a Black Huckleberry with a little splash of color. I posted this in an earlier entry too:

 

A very little Arctic Willow from cutting:

 

A little Lodgepole pine, Pinus contorta latifolia also featured in an earlier blog entry:

 

There’s a trunk in there somewhere, I promise you!  Our club hosted the Pacific Northwest Bonsai Clubs Association convention in September, where I set up a couple of tables as a vendor. Jim Gremel came up from California and kept me amused when things got quiet. He had some of his killer cedars with him and I just had to have this one, so I traded a mountain hemlock and an Engelman spruce for it. I love the color of the needles!

 

Jim tells me this was grafted to deodora rootstock and that the trick to getting movement into the trunk is to start them while still young. Trying heavy bends on an old trunk is very risky as they have a tendency to snap like a carrot and break clean so there’s not a strip of cambium to save the tree. It’s nice to get one that has all that going in…I’ll wrap it up with a shot of a common juniper I did a little work on between showers. This is the mother tree of ‘CJ’ the subject of a couple of entries this summer:

 

The sun just broke through the clouds, so it’s outside for a rare ‘sun break’ (never heard of that in Arizona 😉