A cool change, but not yet Autumn

Well, its that time of year… or should I say, it ‘SHOULD’ be that time of year where the weather starts to turn, however it appears that Summer is holding on for a bit longer yet. Luckily, we had a cool change over the weekend and this week, which allowed me to get out into the garden and get a couple of jobs done.

First up, was some wire removal. I have a few tree’s in various stages, all in some dire need of wire removal. Most were ok, with the wire just starting to dig in, but I had one Juniper with some unexpected growth and the wire had cut a little deeper then what I would have liked. So out came the cheap wire cutters (really need to upgrade them) and I got stuck straight into it. Unfortunately, I went a bit longer then I expected, and as darkness came, so did a couple of mistakes. Thankfully, only a few minor buds knocked off, but my own fault for trying to do it at dusk, I was just enjoying it so much (it really is peaceful for me) that I didn’t want to stop! No pictures yet, these tree’s really aren’t suitable for showing, and I’m a bit embarrassed showing tree’s that are still quite raw.

Then it was on to some repotting. First up was my cascade Juniper Procumbens from my Bill Valavanis workshop. I repotted this, beleiving that it was dying off due to being root bound, problem is that when I got it out of the pot… it wasn’t all that root bound. Bugger! So, I gave it a slight root prune, and went ahead with the repot, as it needed a new pot to cater for its cascading branch hanging below the base of the current pot. It was one problem after another, firstly discovering it wasn’t root bound, then discovering that the pot really isn’t the best pick for the tree, as the fluting rim of the pot is in the way of the cascading branch. Unfortunately, I don’t have any other pots. So I trimmed a bit more of the roots on one side, so that it would fit in the pot properly… despite the placement looking terrible. There is nothing I can do about it though, so I went ahead with it, and gave the branches a bit of a tweak in the process… only to then snap one of the main branches! Wow, I had to ask myself if my luck get any worse? Luckily it didn’t, and I learnt three valuable lessons.

1. Don’t rush a repot.
2. Check the bonsai fits the pot suitably before repotting.
3. Don’t make a bend where there is no support.

Good lesson’s, just hope it’s not at the expense of the tree.

Next it was on to my natives. These are mainly things that I’ve grown from tubestock, so they are nothing spectacular as yet. As I’ve got them potted in nursery pots to thicken them up, they need to be repotted reasonably regularly. So I pulled out my new bag of soil, bought only the previous day… only to discover it full of ants! My arch nemisis it seems. This is the third time I’ve found them in a bag of soil already this year, and am still no closer to knowing why. (Any suggestions would be most welcome, am very curious as to why they like my soil?) Luckily, they hadn’t invaded the whole bag, so I dug out what they had and continued with the repot… however I decided to repot everything I could to use the soil before the ants got to it again. So my Corymbia. Ficifolia, Mel. Systena, Callistemon, and another Meleleuca all got repotted with some new soil, and larger pots. I gave the Ficifolia a rough wiring… cracking a branch in the process… and think it now has the bones of a potentially great tree, however only time will tell… and I guess that cracked branch will tell too, but I’m hopeful as the break wasn’t too bad, and I applied cut paste right away.

I must also give a shout out to Craig from Meljobu Bonsai who gave me a couple of cracker tree’s to work on, one of which should be perfect for the upcoming workshop if I can feed it enough beforehand. I am insanely happy about not only being given two bonsai, but being given native bonsai that I have been craving since I started getting into Bonsai. Both tree’s have a lot of potential, but the Melaleuca which has some really nice deadwood features is by far my favorite… probably because it is my favorite species to work with! I really hope to do them justice, I’ve rearranged the whole garden so that they are both in a suitable spot, protected from the worst part of the days heat, and hope to give them a working soon. (I’ll post up some pictures when I have them)

So thats it for the update, a lot of lessons have come the hard way this month, but its all a learning experience for me. I’m coming to understand why you don’t get too attached to any particular tree, and not to worry too much about losing one, as it is all part of the learning process.

Until next time!

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