Vol 28 no 3

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Vol 28 no 3

  1. 1. CVBS MEETING> The next CVBS meeting will be onSaturday, April 6, at 9 AM. We will meet at Julians home.Julian will give a presentation on the History of Zuisho inNorth America including a detailed discussion of airlayering and limb grafting techniques for Zuisho fiveneedle pine. The presentation will last for about 1 hour.Those who are interested can tour the bonsai gardenafter the program.SPRING 13 SUCCESSFUL> The annual CVBS springsymposium was a great success this year. The primarypurpose of CVBS, providing top quality educationalopportunities, was nicely accomplished. Althoughconflicts diminished attendance a bit, there were morethan 20 in attendance from several central VA cities aswell as the usual Lynchburg group. Much enthusiasmwas express for the presentation and workshop led byOwen Reich. He gave great suggestions for refinement ofour trees embellished with a wide variety of useful andinteresting bonsai knowledge. The freshness of hisexperiences as an apprentice in Japan added muchdepth to his presentation. In the workshop he offeredstyling suggestions quickly and gently, offering adviceappropriate for the material under consideration. Severalhave asked to have him again in the future and oneneighboring club wishes to explore a jointly sponsoredreturn.SPRING IS HERE> In spite of the 5" snowfall sitting onthe deck as I write this, spring is here, almost. Quincesare blooming, buds are swelling, a few tiny leaves haveemerged on the tridents, and the Chinese quince ispushing leaves from top to bottom. This means that thewinter chores should be done in the next couple of daysor it will be too late for this year. The main time criticaltasks are repotting, pruning, and thinning of heavy budson some of the pines. The snow is actually welcome, notonly for the moisture it brings but because the cold willhold things back another day or two. Hard freezes afterthings start to come out are much more likely to damagea bonsai than sustained severe cold during the heart ofwinter. The balancing act between protecting whenneeded and protecting too much is tricky but is part of thegame. I have had good luck by stealing the technique ofFlorida vegetable growers. If a hard freeze is forecastafter the leaves are out too far for safety, I get up early onthe cold morning (about 6) and turn on an overheadsprinkler. I let it rain on the trees until the temperature isback above freezing, usually by 8:30. Remember to keepthe hose empty of water or you may find it frozen andunusable at 6:30 when its time to turn on the water.If you have seeds to plant for bonsai use, its time tothink about getting them planted. Dont be disappointedby finding those precious pine seeds in the back of thevegetable crisper when you clean the refrigerator inAugust.INTERNET BONSAI> The internet has become veryuseful in many endeavors from shopping to solvingcrossword puzzles. The ability to find information isunsurpassed. For those interested in bonsai, this makesit possible to find information that was unavailable inearlier years. The accuracy of the information issometimes questionable but one can usually get goodguidance as long as it is remembered that things are notnecessarily true just because they in print and adornedwith nice pictures. There are a variety of forums and otheropportunities to exchange information and to askquestions of others as well. The only limitation is the timethat one can devote to the search and reading process. Ihave come across a short online book that discussesbonsai art. It is an excellent look at the artistic principlesinvolved in bonsai design. It was written by AndyRutledge and can be seen for free (a very good price) athttp://ibonsaiclub.forumotion.com/t12958-artistic-foundations-of-bonsai-designThis is worth reading and rereading.ADAMS BONSAI HAPPENINGS> Owen had madearrangements to meet one of his clients here on Sundayafter Spring 13. This gave us time to look around at thetrees in the yard. One thing led to another and we made adeal. In exchange for some trees that he liked, Owendetail wired the Old Man Scots while he was here. I havebeen planning to do this myself for several years butthere never seemed to be enough time and moving thetree into and out of the studio is very difficult without help.It took Owen every bit of a day and a half and a lot of wirebut the result is spectacular. Its worth coming by to seethe significant change that proper wiring by a professionalcan make. I had done extensive thinning a month or soearlier. In spite of the thinning I did, there is actually lesstree than when he began. He did additional thinning butthe artistic content is vastly greater. The tree looks a littlethin on foliage at the moment but the buds are ready andthere will soon be a full set of new needles to show off theunderlying structure. I am now considering entering it inthe Artisans Cup in Portland next fall. Well see….The time since Spring 13 has been taken almost fulltime with bonsai work. About twenty deciduousprebonsai, mostly large ones, were dug and potted for thefirst time. Those left in the ground needed to be finishpruned. All the wounds were sealed to speed smoothhealing. This is a tedious job requiring being in a ratherunnatural position for many hours. I may be getting tooold to crawl around on my knees and elbows with myhead on the ground trying to get the pruning cuts inprober focus with one of the three lenses in my trifocals.Thirty of the oldest Zuisho five needle pines wereliberated from their longtime homes in bulb pans andrepotted in larger plastic bonsai pots. These are myoldest and nicest specimens of Zuisho. The extra roomwill hasten further development. They certainly look muchnicer than before. A pot makes a difference! I wasimpressed at the fibrous roots systems of the Zuisho.Even those which had not been repotted in 8-10 yearsexhibited fibrous root systems and moved easily. TheTurface based soil was still in excellent condition,retaining its original size and structure. Though a bit of aCENTRAL VIRGINIA BONSAI SOCIETYNEWSLETTER March 25, 2013 vol. 28, no.3
  2. 2. pain, each of the trees was wired into their new pots toprevent being uprooted in strong winds. Most havedeveloped excellent surface roots. Plastic tubing from thelocal tropical fish store was slipped onto the wire tocushion and protect the roots where they would havecontacted the wire.About a dozen small to medium Scots will be dug in aweek or so. Their ground bed is on the north side of thehill where the ground doesnt warm as quickly. As a resulttheir coming out is a few days behind the plants on thesouth slope and the potted plants.Visitors have purchased several of the largestprebonsai in the ground. These have been dug and put inthe hands of younger and stronger enthusiasts. Twentyyears ago I would have never sold these but I can onlycare for so much these days. I still plant lots of seeds butlike to get them out of the house before they become toobig to handle.WARREN HILL> Most of the bonsai old timers willremember Warren Hill as the second curator of theNational Collection at the US National Arboretum in DC.He assumed that job after a long career as a bonsai nutand electrical engineer in California. After his retirementfrom that position, he settled in Tennessee andestablished a fine personal collection and bonsai school.Unfortunately, Warren experienced a massive strokerecently as a result of shoulder surgery. He has majorparalysis at present and progress is likely to be slow.Most or all of his collection was sold a few days ago. Hewill be in a period of lengthy rehabilitation. Please keepWarren and his wife in your thoughts and prayers.BOOK SUGGESTION> I seldom make recommendationsabout bonsai books but this is an exceptional situation.Bill Valavanis is publishing a 256 page book, ClassicalBonsai Art, which is a historical and educational musthave for your library. It is a pictorial look at thedevelopment of many of Bills finest bonsai. Not only arethe great pictures numerous ( 675 of them), they areaccompanied by very thorough text explaining thetechniques used in the development of these fine bonsai.It is personally reassuring to see that many of these finetrees started as rather ordinary prebonsai material. Thereis much to learn in this book and Bill has been very freein sharing his efforts and techniques with the reader. Thebook is even more special considering the 25 yearassociation that Bill has had with CVBS through hisappearances at our Spring Symposia. He has become apersonal friend to many of us. Bill is offering aprepublication special price of $50, a $15 saving over thestandard price. US shipping is $5. An order blank is in the2013 #1 issue of International Bonsai magazine. Thisbook is destined to become a classic. I have alreadyordered my copy!COMING EVENTS> If you have not registered for any ofthe upcoming bonsai events mentioned in the lastnewsletters, Its time to get with it. Midatlantic and Bill Vs50th Anniversary Colloquium promise to be two of thebest educational events in some years. The speakers atboth of these events are all top drawer. Try to get to atleast one of them if not both. You wont be sorry.RANDOM THOUGHTS> One of the goals of bonsai is tocreate the image of an old tree. In spite of my efforts tomake trees look old quickly, there is a look that comeswith real age that cannot be artificially created. Severaltrees in my collection that were rather ordinary for a longtime have started to attain an appeal that is almostcompletely the result of "just being old". That gives somesolace to my dislike of the facts of personal aging. Ontodays snow route run (side streets and away from thesnow covered and squishy creek trail) Pete and I bumpedinto the "A team runners who meet daily to run fromLynchburg College. We ran briefly with them until theytired of our slower pace. It was fun to have one of the oldhands of that group introduce us as being responsible fortheir running addiction. There were a couple of amazedlooks from the younger ones who no doubt werewondering how two old guys could have escaped fromthe home and could be running at a respectable pace. Itwas much like the looks that are given to truly aged trees.I almost forgot how tired I was .In the last few days, there have been a few minutes oftime to do non bonsai things. Two pickup loads ofprunings from the ground beds were taken to thecompost area and pushed into the woods. Thanks totilling up the garden last fall, it only took a few minutes touse strawberries growing out of their assigned area toplant several feet of new bed for next year. All thesprouting potatoes in the basement were used to plant acouple of short rows in the same area. The blackberriesneed to be tied up to their supporting wires beforeblooming but that won’t take long and wet ground is not afactor with that job. Im already getting hungry thinkingabout the coming crop!Be ready!! Spring is here. See you on April 6.Julian

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