Author Topic: Hankurei  (Read 8210 times)

Leo in NE Illinois

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Hankurei
« on: July 22, 2014, 12:34 PM »
This is a Satsuki 'Hankurei' in a "grow pot" - oversized with the thought toward letting it put on size. It is a 5 or 6 year old whip as of this year. I purchased it as a 2 year old whip.

The earth must be off its axis, end of the world or something cataclysmic because it is July 22, 2014 and it is still in bloom. We had a late spring and many days of cool winds off Lake Michigan, which delayed spring this year.

The eventual plan is late winter 2014-2015 I will do the first styling of this shrub in a pot.

Don't have a plan yet, though I want to keep it as tall, or even go taller than its current 16 inches. Eventually it will go into a pot one third the size it currently is in.

The mix is coarse, so it does not stay water logged.

No real questions (yet), but if you have thoughts about what to do to this, please comment
 

Adair M

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Re: Hankurei
« Reply #1 on: July 22, 2014, 09:21 PM »
It's hard to tell from the angle the photo was taken. Is there any movement to the trunk?  If not, now is the time!

John Naka's old book on satsuki showed how to wire these whips into interesting forms. It has great potential!

If you're serious about making it into a nice bonsai, don't let it flower for the next several years. You want to direct all that energy into growth instead of flowers. It should be making flower buds now on the branches where it has already bloomed. You can remove them now.
 

shimsuki

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Re: Hankurei
« Reply #2 on: July 22, 2014, 10:02 PM »
Hi Leo,

This is a great variety. With azaleas being my specialty, I have a few thoughts. First of all, next time you repot I would put it into kanuma. Then put some yamagoki or spagnum moss over the top. Those two things alone will get you a really happy tree. It's hard to tell from the picture, but I would recommend a deeper pot for growing it, azaleas like to be grown in deep pots. Finally as Adair suggested, don't let it flower. When buds start to swell, pinch them off. This will allow all that energy to be put into growing rather than flowering. Flowering to an azalea is the second biggest stress after barerooting.

Have fun,
Shim
 

Sorce

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Re: Hankurei
« Reply #3 on: July 23, 2014, 06:09 AM »
It looks like, especially since you want to go taller, a literati may be fitting.

Looks like the trunk curves interesting enough.

Pretty feminine, maybe tilted out of a rock pot.

I want to see that elm trying to sneak in the photo!

Sorce
 

Leo in NE Illinois

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Re: Hankurei
« Reply #4 on: July 23, 2014, 12:12 PM »
Thanks guys for the suggestions.

The photo is misleading, the pot is almost 4 inches deep, it is more a crackle glaze round bowl. Holds a little more media than a one gallon nursery can. The media is a blend with roughly equal parts of coarse diatomite (1/4 inch+) Coarse Kanuma, Turkey grit size granite, Hydrolite, sponge rock (coarse perlite) and pine bark. All sifted to remove anything finer than roughly 1/4 inch. 100% kanuma doesn't work for me, and is a an item that I can't just run out to the local Hydro Store or Lowes to get. Pretty much have to order it and then pick it up - a month or more lead time required. So I am trying to work out a media blend that works for me and is 100% stuff I could pick up same day or the next day if I run out (locally available). When I have some multi-year success I will post. The Hankurei when it was repotted got some of the last of the fairly hard, coarse Kanuma that I had. Because I can't read Japanese, when you buy Kanuma, you never know what you are going to get. Sometimes it turns instantly to mush, sometimes it is hard, more like medium akadama. It has been all over the map, and expensive. So I am going to try to get away from it. Spending over $40 to get about 3 gallons worth of media is too expensive in my book. These azaleas were just $20 whips from Teleperion.

I will add a layer of sphagnum, I did it for my azaleas in shallow pots, didn't think of it for this deep pot.

The ship sailed on bending the trunk, it hardened a couple years ago. It is extremely brittle now. I broke a different whip the same age, ruined the potential for a tree, now that one is a clump shrub. I have some slight curves I put in this one, but as the trunk thickens, they are becoming less and less obvious. I should have been much more extreme with the initial bending.

I'll keep in mind that flowers are a mahor stress. It will be difficult for me, the whole point of growing an azalea is the flowers.   :o  But I have an orchid or two that I cut the flower buds off of to let the plant build strength, so I'll bite the bullet and cut the flowers off Hankurei. I like that it has smaller flowers. When I was first selecting whips from a list, I was most fascinated with the large flower and double flower varieties. Now that I have a few years with them under my belt, I realize the large flowers are more a design problem than a help. The smaller the flowers the better, they blend in as bonsai. Hankurei is really nice that way. Small leaves, small flowers and middle to late blooming, at least at my place.

Waka Ebisu and Hoshi-no-Kagayaki are my 2 other survivors of a batch of whips. Waka Ebisu has big flowers, which I love, and is a very vigorous easy growing azalea (as far as azalea go in my area). Hoshi-no-Kagayaki is nice, small flowers, vibrant color, and small leaves. It definitely wants to be a bush, hard to keep a single trunk a single trunk. A picture of my Waka Ebisu from June, just before I did a total chop back and foliage reduction. Because I wanted a tree form, the chopping was done on the side branches, height was preserved. The other is a photo from 2011, as I don't have a current shot of Hoshi-no-Kagayaki.
 

Adair M

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Re: Hankurei
« Reply #5 on: July 23, 2014, 01:45 PM »
Leo,

I agree satsuki can be quite brittle. Extreme care should be taken when wiring and bending.

Looking at the wire on your wakaebishu, I noticed that you used a single wire, wrapped very loose near the bottom, and at the top, the spiral is fairly elongated.

In Naka's book, he usually triple wrapped with aluminum, using fairly tight spirals. Lots more wire. This serves to support the wood better. Elongated spirals tend to allow pressure points to be at one point, making it easy to snap. You could also wrap the trunk with raffia, then wire. Even more supportive.

I have the book. I'll see if I can take a photo if one of the pictures in the book and post it here.
 

Leo in NE Illinois

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Re: Hankurei
« Reply #6 on: July 23, 2014, 03:00 PM »
My wiring job gets a C- at best. The Hankurei might get wired when I work on it removing flowers and buds this weekend. I'm planning on putting 3 or 4 hours in on it.

Thanks for the wiring tips. That is one of the areas I know I'm weak on, I've been shown how to wire properly. Often when I do actually wire, I'm rushed and don't take the time to do it right. A raffia wrap would be the way to go if I do wire one of these three up again. Their main branches are all mature to the point of being brittle. Once a branch or trunk is over a year old, bending it is no longer a trivial task to do. Pines spoiled me that way, because pines stay flexible seemingly forever. (by comparison to azalea)

The Waka Ebisu is actually without wire at this moment - that photo is from June. It was almost completely defoliated after that photo was taken, wire removed branches trimmed, lowest branches cut off completely. Right now it has a nice flush of tender buds developing, so I will be leaving it alone until theyall pop, and then grow to harden off in autumn. Then I select the ones I want to keep and get rid of the ones that definitely won't be needed. I like the vigor of this cultivar. Hopefully a few new buds will be in just the right places.

I have the Satsuki book by R. Callaham, it is a pretty good book. I'd love to see a photo or two from the J Naka book.
Thanks

 

Leo in NE Illinois

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Re: Hankurei
« Reply #7 on: July 23, 2014, 03:06 PM »
<snip>..............I want to see that elm trying to sneak in the photo!
Sorce

It is not much of anything yet, not even sure it is an elm, a volunteer seedling about 3 years old harvested from my sister's back yard. Candidates for its identity include American elm, cedar elm, Siberian elm, Sugarbush hackberry (Celtis laevigata) regular Hackberry, or possibly Ostrya virginiana. All were growing within a couple hundred feet of where this seedling was growing.

Right now I am thinking Elm, will take pictures later in the week. It is still thinner than my finger at the nebari, so it needs to grow out a while before anything is done to it.
 

Sorce

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Re: Hankurei
« Reply #8 on: July 24, 2014, 07:42 AM »
I have one that small. Elm.  Swisher cigar thick. It put out three shoots with just those giamt leaves and the base is getting really strong. It just took the 3 story plunge, when guy wiring it steady, I broke one shoot. :-X however. Only a project, and now I get to see what it will do!

Sorce
 

Leo in NE Illinois

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Re: Hankurei
« Reply #9 on: July 25, 2014, 09:11 PM »
3 story plunge ? - didn't anyone tell you the balcony railing is not a work bench?

(Just teasing) it is a reminder why photos of bonsai gardens often show the trees tied to their benches. I still don't do that, and for a few of my more top heavy plants I really should. 

 

Sorce

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Re: Hankurei
« Reply #10 on: July 26, 2014, 06:18 AM »
 :D

Last year I cut everything back and leaf pruned any sails.

With a goal to let stuff grow out this year, I guess with all the ones Ive had fall,(lots of foilage) I'm doing good leavimg them alone!

I keep meaning to get them stable, my last thought was to pin them down with a curtain rod in the window sill.
..

No time! Off to work soon! $ Garden!

Sorce
 

John Lee

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Re: Hankurei
« Reply #11 on: December 18, 2014, 07:09 AM »
Leo,

I love your azaleas, they are nice.  Azaleas are my favorite bonsai.  I was looking at your photos and I don't think that the pink one is WakaEbisu.  It is still beautiful, but the flower is shaped different than a Waka.

Also, there is no reason to remove the buds/ flowers as long as the tree is healthy.  It will not improve vigor or direct anymore energy to foliage growth than otherwise would be if you left them on.  It is one of those "old wives tales".  Besides, why put up with all of the fuss of growing azaleas if you aren't gonna be rewarded with flowers?

John
 

J.Kent

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Re: Hankurei
« Reply #12 on: December 18, 2014, 09:07 AM »
Quote
Also, there is no reason to remove the buds/ flowers as long as the tree is healthy.  It will not improve vigor or direct anymore energy to foliage growth than otherwise would be if you left them on.  It is one of those "old wives tales".


I'm a fan of exploding as many bonsai myths as possible, but I'd really like to see an authoritative citation for this statement.  In many years of growing Kurume and Satsuki azalea bonsai, my experience has been that de-budding in the fall DOES help with ramification.

Agree that that bonsai is not Waka ebisu.  It's also much too tall and thin and needs to begin a serious regime of chopping back.
 

Owen Reich

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Re: Hankurei
« Reply #13 on: December 18, 2014, 10:07 AM »
The act of flower opening and sustaining an open flower takes a lot of energy and water for any plant.  Fertilization and fruit / seed formation takes even more energy.  Hence the traditional removal of flowers as they start to fade.  So, fading flower removal is a must.  No arguments possible there (unless you are hybridizing). 

As for pre-opening removal, it has been my experience that removal of flower buds in Fall or early Spring when they are large enough to pull with tweezers on developing satsuki bonsai is a good idea.  I generally leave about 25% of the buds mainly on more vigorous areas of the plant and space them out for a uniform bloom experience.  Satsuki shown in Japan have individual flower buds selected.  Not every bud that exists on the plant is allowed to stay for show prep. 

Timing for repotting has been rethought by some in the know from the traditional post-flowering to Spring with everything else.  My personal opinion is to repot young ones after the flowering cycle and middle to established form ones in Spring.  My opinion and not gospel.  My teacher's late father was a Satsuki expert at one time.  He was old school for sure.  There is a blog post or two on my web site about Satsuki showing some tips and tricks I've learned from him. 

The flower buds form long before opening so the complex process of flower bud formation and the energy and nutrients required were expending about 6 months before hand (not sure of exact timing). 

Almost every Satsuki azalea I've ever seen that was growing in Kanuma had healthy buds, lots of branches, and over time has responded well to styling.  I have not seen thousands of them like David Kreutz, Joe Harris, or Peter Warren, but I've seen enough to warrant an opinion.  I've also seen Satsuiki transitioned out of Kanuma by local gurus and watched a group of expensive satsuki die branch by branch.  This was in part likely due to improper repotting technique and aftercare too. 

 

John Lee

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Re: Hankurei
« Reply #14 on: December 18, 2014, 11:14 AM »
I'm a fan of exploding as many bonsai myths as possible, but I'd really like to see an authoritative citation for this statement.  In many years of growing Kurume and Satsuki azalea bonsai, my experience has been that de-budding in the fall DOES help with ramification.

Okie Dokie,

I am no more an authority than you, so if you really want to see an authoratative citation, you'll have to look elsewhere. What does it take to qualify as a "authority", anyway?  Most of the information that you read in books on bonsai is just someone else's opinion, one that they formed by "doing it for a while", then decided to write it down to share with others. My post was just my opinion, one that I have formed through observation and experience with growing azaleas.

 As Owen stated in his post, most of the energy is long spent before the buds get big enoungh to remove by hand, also, a healthy tree plans for this, it is its job, per say, to make flowers.  It does not automatically start growing new and extra branches automatically because the buds are removed.  The cycle of growth is grow some, bloom, grow a little more, make new buds while resting some, repeat.  On Satsukis, much of the new growth appears before the buds break anyway, on the tips, surrounding the bud.  If you don't believe this, let one grow, unhindered, for several seasons, and see what happens.  It is our subjecting them to bonsai techniques that causes them to take the shapes and forms that we like.

A fellow club member studied in Japan for a while and assisted in the care of many azaleas, he said that they were never instructed to remove the buds, other that removing a select few for aestetics.

To me, removing the buds is like going through all of the trouble of grilling a steak, then feeding it to the dog.

If removing the buds DOES promote ramification for you, then, by all means do it.  It has just not been my experience.

I actually did a side by side comparison, once, on two plants; removed the buds on one and left them on the other,  both plants exhibited the same amount of growth at approximately the same time.  While a one time observation is not enough by scientific definitions to call it a fact, I saw no reason to repeat.

There are many myths surrounding the "mystique" of bonsai that are just not true, one that comes to mind since we are talking about azaleas is, "don't use copper wire on azaleas, it will kill them."  This is not true either, I use copper to tie the trees into the pot as aluminum tends to corrode and break into.

Anyhow, just my opinion.

John