20 August 2019

Celtis Celebration

Bring your favourite Celtis (or more than one) to display in our Spring festival show & tell and stand a chance of winning a prize. Please email bishopsfordbonsai@gmail.com to book a space on the tables.

15 August 2019

Myrtus communis

by Gail Theron

My very first Bonsai (created under the expert guidance of Bernard Coetzee) was a Myrtus communis. Perhaps this is why I am particularly fond of this species. 

The common Myrtle is an evergreen shrub up to 3m with small, dark green, glossy, aromatic leaves. It has white flowers consisting mainly of a puff of stamens followed by single-stalked, blueish-black berries. It is used mainly for hedges and is drought-resistant.

I feel that they make very good subjects for Bonsai as the leaves are tiny and with the proper care it rewards one with a network of fine branches in a reasonably short time.

These trees are very vulnerable to certain pests, e.g. scale, mealie bug and aphids and due to the nature of the bark these are often only detected when the tree is somewhat debilitated. An application of Koinor, watered into the roots, will control these pests. 

I have found that they don't like damp feet and should therefore have a soil mixture that drains well. I fertilise mine regularly with Hortisol and have them in a sunny position. I feel that it is not sufficient merely to pinch out shoots, one has to prune back quite often. 
My Myrtles have brought me a tremendous amount of pleasure. They are readily available from nurseries and quickly develop into pleasing Bonsai. I can recommend them to beginners and experienced growers alike.

7 August 2019

Multi trunks

Gail Theron presented some of her multi-trunk Bonsai trees at the Winter Bash this past weekend. Photo credits to Cindy Rodkin.

1 August 2019

Bonsai Things to do in Cape Town - August


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Still wet, cold, windy and dark but beneath the gloom sap is rising and potting is hectic. Finish potting deciduous trees this month and add acacias to the list.
Little watering required but be wary of consecutive dry days. Check drainage holes in pots and if trees are not draining properly lift them up and place coarse gravel under them.
It is still very early to apply feeds but growth stimulants such as Superthrive may be used. Once growth commences fertilisers may be used.
Pests are waking up and whilst humans are still reluctant to go outdoors pests may be damaging little trees. Take the necessary precautions.
Pruning may now be carried out freely, stimulating growth by pruning on both deciduous and evergreens are useful.
Deciduous trees may still be potted but take care with evergreens it is still too cold for them. Only pot when the onset of growth is obvious.
August days are longer but temperatures are still lower than in June. This area is still in winter, so take care not to do things best left to spring.

The weather is conducive to collecting rocks as SUISEKI or for creating PENJING. It is also very healthy both physically and mentally to get outdoors and to enjoy a special closeness with nature.

29 July 2019

Potting season

It is potting season for deciduous trees such as Swamp Cypress, Celtis, Elms, Maples, etc now. As soon as you see the leaf buds swelling, before they open, that is the correct time to pot. It depends on our weather and the micro climate in your garden, so keep an eye out for the right time. Bonsai should be repotted every couple of years.  Stock up, at our nursery, with pots, soil, mesh to cover the drainage holes and multicote slow release fertiliser to mix into your soil. It's also a good time to take cuttings and sow seed and for that we have punnets and vermiculite for sale.

12 July 2019

Pest and Diseases on Junipers

 Pests and diseases on Junipers
by Gail Theron

Junipers are relatively tough and hardy as far as attacks from fungi and insects are concerned and this in itself creates a problem in that I tend to neglect them in any "inspection round" assuming all to be well. Because the foliage is usually quite compact and dense the "pesties" really go to town and have a ball, undetected.

The colour of the foliage is very often an indication that all is not well.

I have had the following problems:

Leaf scale
Small white scales on the upper and under surface of the leaves. Oleum or Seizer and Eco Oil is the remedy used fortnightly.

Red spider mite
A microscopic sucking insect leaving leaves looking "salt and peppered” and you will also find fine webs visible on the tree. A Seizer and Eco-oil mixture is a contact spray and applications fortnightly would be necessary. The damaged leaves will never recover.

Woolly aphids
A cotton wool and web-like appearance indicates that this is present. The same treatment as for red spider applies.  Use Koinor which is systemic and needs to be watered into the roots and not sprayed on the foliage.

Mealy bug
Bugs visible, often hide in bark in all nooks and crannies - same treatment as above. Use Koinor which is systemic and needs to be watered into the roots and not sprayed on the foliage.

Fungal problems
In recent years many Junipers overseas have been attacked by fungal problems.  We need to be alert to this and treat our Junipers accordingly with Mancozeb & Eco-oil, Rosecare or Ready to use Rose Protector.

Variety of Junipers available.

Are you struggling to find a variety of Junipers suitable for Bonsai? We have a selection of young trees such as Juniper conferta, Juniper chinensis grey owl, Juniper chinensis mint julip, Juniper procumbens nana, Juniper itoigawa and Sargent Junipers priced from R95 to R250.