Central Virginia Bonsai Society
from the August 24, 2012 , CVBS Newsletter
COMING EVENT> On Saturday, October 27, Arthur Joura will be the featured guest at the October CVBS meeting. Arthur is the bonsai curator of the North Carolina Arboretum. Many of us have heard his presentations at a variety of venues and there have been innumerable requests by members to have him visit our group. He has a strong background in fine arts and has studied bonsai in Japan. He has a very strong interest in native species and pleasing display in western (nontraditional) environments. Arthur will give a presentation on the NC Arboretum and its bonsai collection in the morning and in early afternoon will conduct a bring your own workshop. If fees are charged, they will be small. Save the date for this exciting event. Complete details will follow in the next newsletter.
LATE SUMMER OBSERVATIONS> This is the time of back to school, last trips to the beach, and small demands from the bonsai. Since back to school and beach trips are not issues for me, the small demands from the bonsai have given the gift of catch up time to me. It has been very enjoyable to have time for a little detail pruning. Unwanted extensions of branches have been restrained, sprouts at the base of trees have been removed, and dead twigs have been sought out and removed. As a result, most of the bonsai have an improved appearance as summer winds down toward fall.
As I was putting price tags on freshly annealed copper wire last week, I had to open a new box of staples. Not a significant action in itself but I noticed that there are 5000 staples in each box. A little math revealed that opening the new box indicated that I have processed and annealed nearly 250,000 feet of bonsai wire over the last months. That's a lot of limbs and trunks that have been shaped. It's fun to think that I have played a small part in shaping nearly 50 miles of limbs!
The weather, extreme heat and no rain, has made this a very tough year for propagation activities. It appears that the yield of Zuisho air layers is going to be very poor. In the last day or so I have seen a few new roots suddenly appear. Maybe I'm just impatient and the right temperature and day length conditions have not yet arrived.
Poor germination and marauding worms have seriously reduced the number of Japanese five needle pine seedlings in this year's crop. This will not be of much concern until they are old enough to sell about three years hence. Then there will be a shortage. Last year the black pine crop was very small. This year the black pines have all sprouted nicely and I probably have too many. Farming is a tough business. The work always needs to be done. However, there is not always an expected result. Too little or too much seems normal. Just enough is very rare.
In spite of the misting problems during the recent electrical unpleasantness, things have done much better in the rooted cutting department. Most of the azaleas, bluets, and dwarf violets have been removed from the mist and put under the azalea benches to harden off. Treated 2x4s slipped through the supporting cinderblocks have made nice lower shelves for the little cuttings. They need to be a foot or so off of the ground so that rabbits and other vermin don't eat them easily.
A few of the persimmon fruit have dropped off due to strong winds and other trauma but most are firmly attached and will certainly present a spectacular display in the fall.
Keep as close eye on trees which are wired. As the end of summer progresses, many trees will suddenly increase in girth. It only takes a little extra diameter to cause wire marking, especially in thin barked species. Most of the trees in my collection with wire are pines where this is not as serious as with others. However, I have recently removed wire from branches of pines in several instances where the growth was especially vigorous. Azaleas and maples are easy to mark and hard to repair so watch them closely.
If you have overlooked the August application of fungicide on the two needle pines, do it now. Needle cast is easy to get and hard to cure.
RANDOM THOUGHTS> Luck and judicious watering allowed the garden to produce wonderful sweet corn, too many tomatoes to eat, ditto cucumbers, and enough potatoes to feed me through the winter. Other things were not as successful. Gardening is almost always a lot of work (fun) with a surprise ending. There is still hope for a couple of watermelons and one more small corn crop.
In a weak moment, I signed up to run the VA 10 Miler in September. The negative of this is that I'm getting too old for this sort of foolishness. The positive is that most of my age group competitors are either dead or in a retirement home so it's easier to finish near the top of the age group. I did about 8.5 miles with the lunchtime crazies today (after a fairly hard 6 yesterday) and finished with the group. I'm still standing so I think I can make the whole 10 successfully.
My youngest, Brad, and his family will be moving to Singapore in November. It sounds as if it will be a great opportunity for them although it will be a long haul to visit. Looks like I may need to upgrade my internet access so that I can get Skype working for phone and video contact.
After several weeks with no deer sightings, they have suddenly appeared again. A large gang of bucks have appeared at the edge of the field twice in the last couple of days. Though they escaped unscathed, I did provide some loud encouragement to move along to another location.
I have decided to travel with Bill Valavanis to Japan for this year's Taikan Ten bonsai exhibition in November. It looks as if the group will be very small which often makes it possible to visit places unable to deal with larger groups. If you need seeds or any specific (but small and light) items from the fantastic bonsai vending area, let me know. I may be able to get what you need.
Remember to save October 27 for Arthur Joura's visit.