I’ve been hard at work with my trees, now they are beginning to look like proper bonsai. Hard to believe that the bottom one started out a bush with no discernible trunk. Sadly those currant cuttings didn’t make it, I couldn’t get them to take root and they died. No big deal since they were free.
Here is the initial pruning I did on one of my trees, it’s a blue star juniper. Next month I’ll be able to put training wire on the branches, but for know I just need to keep the tree watered and fed. I managed to start a cutting on one of the branches I removed, hopefully I will be able to start on impressive pedigree.
Here in Washington we have several majestic forests. One thing that makes our forests particularly striking is how the trees are usually covered in sleeves of vibrant moss. Some of the moss species are like wool or carpet, others resemble shaggy fur like that of a mountain goat. Often it is something of a cross.
I think living surrounded by so many beautiful trees may have been part of what inspired me to get into bonsai. Microcosms have always intrigued me, and good bonsai are just that. Yes they are kept artificially small and they are artificially shaped and groomed, but they mimic their (often literal) siblings in nature. I’d love to one day do a bonsai of Washington species with sleeves of moss growing on the branches and trunk. However I’m not sure if that is possible, since bonsai are much more sensitive than free growing trees. Certain mosses are often used as lawn on top of the soil, there is even special bonsai moss spray for that.
I don’t own the picture below, it was taken from a fair use website
Today I garden shopping. My grandma needed to go to Home Depot so I went with her to see if they had any potential bonsai specimens. They had a pretty good selection, so maybe I’ll go there next time I want to buy a new tree. After we were done there we went to a local gardening store. It was pretty big and they had pretty much anything garden related you could imagine. They had a great selection of bonsai pots and some accessories like mud men, so I’ll probably return when I decide it’s time to pot my trees.
On Tuesday I ordered a bonsai tool kit on Amazon and it came in today. Now I have pruning shears, tweezers, a mini rake, a spade, and a couple other things. Some bonsai veterans have kits of maybe a hundred different tools and they use every one of them. I don’t need that many tools for now. All I need are ones that are absolutely necessary to train my trees to grow parallel to their free growing cousins.
This is my first tree. Right now it is no different than any other tree of its age. Soon it will be pruned, trimmed, wired and repotted, and it will become a bonsai; beginning a long journey to becoming a microcosm of its free growing cousins.
The Bonsai Club meeting was wonderful. Very informative and the speaker was entertaining and knowledgeable. Best of all, everyone was very happy to see a guest (me) and eager to answer any questions. At the end of the meeting there was a raffle and I won a bonsai tool bag. Lucky for me club policy is if anyone with a winning ticket passes on an item then it goes to a guest or newest member, there were two passes and I got a beginner’s guide and a small boxwood tree that hasn’t been shaped or trained yet.
I’m not sure when I’ll begin working on the tree, I might begin soon and if not I’ll wait for the specimen to grow a noticeable amount. One thing I need to do is begin shopping for essential tools, most importantly fertilizer. Bonsai roots are stunted, which helps the rest of the tree stay small. However this means their roots don’t get as much nutrients from soil, so fertilizer is essential to bonsai care.
I’m eager to start this new pastime, I’ll be showing off my progress here.
Lately I’ve been interested in getting into bonsai trees. I’ve always thought it was an intriguing practice and I recently saw a few kits for sale on Amazon and I almost bought one. However I didn’t want to just go in blindly, so I googled about getting started with bonsai and it turns out starting with one of those kits isn’t a wise idea. They come with a seed, a planter, a small pot, and tools, what they don’t tell you is it five years or so until that seed grow into a tree that is ready for training. In other words you’ll have to wait forever before you can actually use any of the tools it comes with.
Turns out a much better (and traditional) way to begin is to get a cutting at nursery, that way you won’t have to wait to long to train it. All of the sites I looked at also recommended getting involved with a local bonsai club to learn the best tree species for beginners in your area’s environment and the best nearby place to get a cutting. I found a club in my area and I’ll be leaving for the meeting in an hour.
Lately I’ve been writing a lot of stories. Usually I look for upcoming anthologies and contests and write a story to fit the criteria / prompt given. For me that is much easier than writing a story from scratch, major setback is selection is based on how well the story fits what they wanted as it does quality. A story that doesn’t fit won’t make it no matter how good it is. Of course you can always send it off to other publications once it’s been rejected.
Most recently I entered the Best Gender Swap Fairy Tale Competition. The contest is being put on by Fairy Talez, a website which has a rather impressive collection of fairy tales that anyone can add to.
I wrote a female version of Rumpelstiltskin. In order for an entry to be eligible it needs at least 5 Likes, so if you could give it a Like that would be great! Enjoy:
#writing #fantasy #fairytale #shortstory
One of the few hobbies of mine I don’t recall ever mentioning on here is my stamp collection. When I was eight my dad took me to a stamp collecting event while my mom was having my brother’s baby shower. I was familiar with the concept of stamp collecting but had never given it much thought. Part of the event included being able to collect a page worth of stamps for free.
I decided this was something I wanted to get into so my dad got me a subscription to the Mystic Stamp catalog. Part of the subscription included being sent several packets of stamps every month, you could buy the ones you wanted and send the others back. While many people collect stamps for their value or significance, I didn’t care about any of that. What intrigued me about stamps was the fact they are like visual art in miniature form. I also enjoyed the fact that I could own mini paintings from all over the world. I acquired stamps from Hungary, Vietnam, Cuba, Iraq, the Marshall Islands, you name it. Even better, some were from places that no longer exist like the USSR or Upper Volta.
Honestly I don’t remember how long I collected stamps, but after a few years I called it quits. Paying for the subscription and stamps was too costly, mounting them in albums was time consuming. Of the hundreds of stamps I own, maybe ten percent are mounted in a quarter full album. The mounts were even more expensive. I still have that album and the rest of the stamps are in a shoebox, both kept at the bottom of a dresser which I have lots of random crap in.
I’d post some samples from my collection, but they’re back in Washington six hours away. Maybe some day I’ll get back into it. Here is a good stamp collecting blog: https://stampaday.wordpress.com
When I was in France I had the fortune to visit a few of their famous caves. Like any other tourist in Dordogne, I visited Lascaux II. While Lascaux II faithfully reproduces most of the great art of the original, it is painfully obvious you’re in a tourist attraction the whole time. I also was able to visit Font-de-Gaume, a lesser known cave which has original paintings and reliefs. Mammoths, bison, horses and reindeer are all found throughout, though most of them require you to look hard to notice them. We had a tour guide who pointed each one out and gave us background about each work. Voices echoed whenever spoken.
Reaching Font-de-Gaum requires a laborious hike up steep stairs to the top of the hill. It was well worth it and I was conditioned for it, I had been in the Parisian Catacombs and climbed to the roof of Notre Dame just a few days earlier.
The pictures are not my own, they don’t allow tourists to take photos: