Bonsai Study Group Forum

General Category => General Bonsai Discussion => Topic started by: jlushious on December 23, 2013, 08:55 AM

Title: Winter Blues
Post by: jlushious on December 23, 2013, 08:55 AM
Winter time is such a hard time as a beginner! Not as much action, and definitely more time for contemplation and patience. I am thinking ahead to which plants need repotting this spring, any big plans I have for the growing season and looking at my trees without foliage to think about their direction.

Just wondered what everyone else does during the winter to keep interested (and prevent yourself from wanting to fiddle with trees in the winter!).

Title: Re: Winter Blues
Post by: John Kirby on December 23, 2013, 09:27 AM
I fiddle with trees, particularly pines which respond well to winter work, but you do need to give them some extra protection.
Title: Re: Winter Blues
Post by: JRob on December 23, 2013, 09:55 AM
I will be doing the same as John. I have off from work these next two weeks and always do some pine work.
Title: Re: Winter Blues
Post by: Chrisl on December 23, 2013, 10:46 AM
Ditto, I too plan on some pine work.  Otherwise, I still have many unread Bonsai Today issues ;)
Title: Re: Winter Blues
Post by: jlushious on December 23, 2013, 12:30 PM
Mine have their pots buried in the garden and covered in snow right now. I can't even see them! Otherwise I would!

Good idea about literature, I have a few books on order that will hopefully keep me busy!
Title: Re: Winter Blues
Post by: Larry Gockley on December 23, 2013, 03:07 PM
I too work on pines and junipers, trimming, needle plucking, re potting, etc. I also start a compost bin in the tropical greenhouse every fall. The free heat it gives off is always good and I bet the plants love the carbon dioxide produced also. I prepare probably a couple hundred gallons of various types of potting medium for the upcoming reporting of deciduous trees and before that, the potting of collected trees. Also need to check inventory of available pots. Previously collected trees need to be re-potted to down size the pots, and partially developed trees , that are ready, need to be potted in bonsai sized training pots. Also do most of my cuttings, tropical, during the winter months.
  Reading too, is always a good thing. May I recommend "Post Dated", by Michael Hagedorn. I've read it twice and will probably read it again.
Title: Re: Winter Blues
Post by: dre on December 23, 2013, 05:44 PM
this is the time i wire my larches from now to spring but don't move any of the branches till spring
Title: Re: Winter Blues
Post by: Sorce on December 23, 2013, 08:32 PM
Tropicals. And thinking about spring. I planted some pomegranate seeds to. 2 weeks and they are about 2 inches tall now.
And I planted a pineapple.

Trying to catch centipedes to put them in other pots.
Title: Re: Winter Blues
Post by: Leo in NE Illinois on December 24, 2013, 10:41 AM
This is the time of year for working on the tropical house plants. Many of my orchids are growing, even though the house is cooler. Too cool in the house to keep my ficus active, so no work on it. My lone Bursera has new buds popping out all over, so I watered it for the first time since October. (Nice thing about using desert species, long dry rest periods) I have the Bursera potted in a relatively coarse mix, in a very porous clay pot, that dries out rapidly. In active growth it gets watered several times a week, in summer daily with the other bonsai, in autumn it goes dormant, I leave it out until it has had a light frost, then it goes on a sunny windowsill, and left completely dry until I see new growth. Then regular watering resumes. The peeling bark is interesting, probably will never make a traditionally acceptable bonsai, but it is a woody tree. The uneven swelling of the spongy layer below the bark causes regions of reverse taper, same problem as with Opercularia, Difficult to get smooth transitions after trunk chops. We will see how it looks in a few more years.

 Reading, seed catalog shopping, cleaning empty pots, cleaning and sorting out. Also time to go through the photos I took over the year, crop, edit and perhaps post on forums what I did over the summer.

Seeds that need a warm stratification, followed by cold stratification, will go into the cold storage about January first. For me this year, these are Hornbeam seed, and Pawpaw seed. Both need 3 months warm & moist, followed by 3 months cold and moist. Otherwise it will take 2 years to get germination. The pawpaw is not for bonsai, the leaves are just too big, branching is too coarse, but I love eating the fruit. Got the seed from a wild tree with particularly good fruit. Unv. of Kentucky has a breeding program trying to improve the pawpaw, maybe in 20 years there will be enough select cultivars that one might see it become a commercial fruit tree, but at the moment, if you want a pawpaw, you have to grow your own.

It is not too late to pick up seed and put it into cold stratification for spring germination. I enjoy propagating stock, with the intent that others, in the future will be able to use them for bonsai. You can create shohin from seed, in less than 25 years, but generally I view raising seed as a nurseryman's project, I don't expect to see them become finished bonsai under my care.
Title: Re: Winter Blues
Post by: jlushious on December 31, 2013, 08:56 AM
I was back home to see my family over the holidays and got a chance to see all my trees that I left behind when I moved out here. So happy! I took photos of them all without leaves so now I can spend the rest of the winter planning. I also was gifted with some books for Christmas, so I have lots to do now!
Title: Re: Winter Blues
Post by: Gaffer on January 01, 2014, 09:09 PM
You should have stayed out here on the coast. Here as you know we fiddle with trees all winter. We only had a few days of minor frost this winter so far and I have already started potting up.
Ha ha
Qualicum Brian
Title: Re: Winter Blues
Post by: jlushious on January 03, 2014, 11:56 AM
I know! They were all looking great and begging for some work. But luckily most of them are just sticks in pots and have a long road of growing ahead of them. Probably better I leave them there to grow out than have them in front of me to fiddle with! I picked up a few local species in the fall that are suitable to the climate here as well.