1 December 2019

Bonsai things to do in Cape Town - December


DECEMBER                                     
         
Month
Mean Rainfall mm
Rel.  Humidity %
Daily Sun­shine Hrs
Temp. Max Celsius
Temp. Min Celsius
Dec
13,9
70
10,8
25,1
14,9

POSITION
The sun is high and the days are long, humidity is very low so trees may have to be moved to partial shade. It is kind to most bonsai if the ambient humidity could be increased by placing dishes or water around or by keeping ground under the benches damp. Misting is an ideal way of increasing moisture in the air.
WATERING
Frequent south-east winds blow during December drying bonsai out. A few hours of totally dry roots is enough to kill a tree, so this watering is a vital daily task.
FERTILISING
Constant watering leaches nutrients out of the soil and they need to be replaced. Do not feed totally dry trees, water them before applying fertilisers.
DISEASE CONTROL
Watch for insect pests and diseases, they do not take holidays, use appropriate measures. Remember it is normally inadvisable to mix pesticides together due to possible chemical reactions. Mix only as much pesticide or fetiliser as you can use at once, many chemicals, once mixed oxidise and may become harmful.
PRUNING
Maintenance pruning and nipping should be carried out this month. Some design pruning and wiring may also be done.
POTTING
The only trees that may be potted are wild figs. If very little root disturbance is required trees may be transferred to other pots.
REMARKS
This is show time and holidays. Enjoy both and visit bonsai friends. And give the gift of a Bonsai, it will be enjoyed for a lifetime.

11 November 2019

Root over Rock - Ficus


by Gail Theron
To create a Root-over-rock Ficus does not really involve much more work or time than a 'normal' bonsai yet it adds such interest and stature to your collection. Ficus are excellent subjects for this style as their roots very quickly fatten up, fuse together and look as if they have been perched on the rock for many years.

I have tried several different methods of developing this style.

1.    From a young tree: I take either a thickish-rooted cutting or a tree of 1-2 years old which has fairly flexible roots. The tree must be designed in conjunction with the rock. Once this is done I position the roots over the rock into the relevant crevices and place the tree and rock in a container I have chosen to suit the tree and rock in size, depth and colour. I use my normal fairly coarse potting medium and mound the soil right up to the trunk and cover the mounded soil snugly with pantyhose. As soon as the roots are growing strongly in the soil I remove the mound of soil from around the rock. It is important to 'sort out' your roots just as you do your branches, eliminate all crossing roots and those giving you conflicting lines. Pay particular attention to the way the roots fatten up as it can easily happen that one root becomes heavier than the trunk which looks unsightly, while others remain thin. By trimming just the heavy root you can keep it under control otherwise it might be better to remove it entirely.

2.    A more developed tree: A tree which has been in training for four or five years would be suitable. If the heavy roots are inflexible or in the wrong place I simply remove them and use the younger roots which thicken up very quickly. The procedure is the same as with the younger tree. I prefer not to bury them in the ground as I find I have more control over the tree in a large pot. I also prefer to use a coarse mix rather than muck, as the roots elongate far quicker. 

Before attempting a root-over-rock style it is important to decide what kind of scene you want to create. Are you trying to capture a tree clinging for dear life to a high pinnacle? In this case both your tree and rock should be rugged as if they have been battered by the elements. If you are trying to capture a gentle more tranquil atmosphere where a seed has grown in the crevice of a rock and developed into a majestic tree you must choose your rock accordingly. 

Your planting must be more than just a tree with its roots over a rock.


1 November 2019

Bonsai Things to do in Cape Town - November


NOVEMBER   



Month
Mean Rainfall mm
Rel.  Humidity %
Daily Sun­shine Hrs
Temp. Max Celsius
Temp. Min Celsius
November
13,7
70
10,3
23,6
13,0

POSITION
The start of hot dry summer weather may be experienced, some trees may need to be moved to less sunny spots or, if necessary, put up shade cloth. Remember, trees need very bright light for photosynthesis to operate so if shade cloth is used do not use types that cut out excess light.
WATERING
If the trees are outdoors daily watering is required unless it rains.
FERTILISING
Continue fertilising and feed flowering and fruiting bonsai with a fertiliser which is high in potassium such as 3: 1: 5.
DISEASE CONTROL
Pests are always around and a wary eye has to be kept out for them.
PRUNING
The frantic growth of spring may have slowed down a bit but it is still necessary to nip and perhaps a critical eye may be used to revise and update designs of trees. Look very carefully to ensure that top branches are not becoming too heavy and so on. Sort out secondary branches and the fine networks of branchlets so that they do not become an entangled mess.
POTTING
There is still time to pot many evergreens, watch the buds.

REMARKS
Visit other bonsai growers' collections and nurseries for inspiration. There is time for seed sowing and propagating by cuttings and air-layering.
Clean-up, erect new benches... Do not be impatient but relax and enjoy everything you do as you do it.

13 October 2019

Bishopsford Bonsai Nursery on DSTV


We appeared on DSTV's Sien, Smaak, Slaap programme on channel 147 on 
4 September 2019. Some beautiful footage by Via.

1 October 2019

Bonsai Things to do in Cape Town - October


OCTOBER                                SPRING!

Month
Mean Rainfall mm
Rel.  Humidity %
Daily Sun­shine Hrs
Temp. Max Celsius
Temp. Min Celsius
October
32,7
74
8,9
21,2
10,6

POSITION
Early spring! All or nearly all deciduous plants are out in leaf, the soft new foliage is a delight. We normally still experience rain and some cool weather is still around. Days are definitely less cloudy and longer. The drying south-east wind has not started seriously but be careful of hot dry days. 
WATERING
Daily watering of outdoor bonsai may be required unless it rains.
FERTILISING
This is the time of year when advantage must be taken of good strong growth and from now on feeding should be regular and conscientiously carried out. Trees put on girth and wiring must be carefully watched lest scars develop.
DISEASE CONTROL
Pests are starting to enjoy life and may be decimating bonsai. Judicious control needs to be exercised. Some pests are not easy to see or identify. If a tree is not looking "right" ask for help. 
PRUNING
Nipping and feeding is what is done now, it may seem a contradiction to feed and then to nip most of the new growth off but that is the way to build up a fine structure of small branchlets and achieve detail design.
POTTING
Many evergreens may be potted now. Watch for swollen buds. The correct time is usually when buds are swollen but before the leaves unfurl. An exception may be figs it is far too early to pot them. 
REMARKS
In our area the weather may be unfriendly with cold wind and rain but it is spring and when the weather is nice take the opportunity of collecting moss and stones for use with bonsai. It is also a good time to collect potential bonsai from the wild as long as the appropriate permission has been sought, have respect for the ecology.

This is a very good time to plant seeds and to take cuttings

4 September 2019

We are on DSTV channel 147 this afternoon

We will be appearing on the TV programme Sien, Smaak, Slaap Constantia airing on DSTV channel 147, VIA on Wednesday 4 September 2019 at 17h30.



1 September 2019

Bonsai things to do in Cape Town - September

SEPTEMBER  

Month
Mean Rainfall mm
Rel.  Humidity %
Daily Sun­shine Hrs
Temp. Max Celcius
Temp. Min Celcius
Sept
41,7
77
7,7
19,2
8,7

POSITION
Still cold, rainy and windy but the signs of spring are emerging and buds are swelling. Some trees are well into new leaf.
WATERING
Water if it does not rain for a few days. Wind causes evaporation even on really cold days.
FERTILISING
As deciduous trees come into leaf they will benefit from light feeds. Evergreens that show signs of growth may also be fed lightly. Growth stimulants may be used but remember that they are not substitutes for fertiliser. After the heavy rains of winter nutrients have been leached out of the small quantity of soil in bonsai pots. Bonsai are dependant on feeding.
DISEASE CONTROL
Pests, especially sucking mites and some fungi are active, take steps to control if necessary before they debilitate a bonsai.
PRUNING
Allow the soft branchlets on deciduous trees to extend to about seven leaves and then prune back to 2 leaves. This is a vital exercise to build up a fine network of small branchlets (ramification).
POTTING
It is best to wait until next month for potting evergreens but some deciduous trees which are not yet in leaf may be judiciously potted.
REMARKS
An exciting time of the year for bonsai enthusiasts as new growth appears. It’s a good time to spring clean and tidy up. Do not be discouraged by the odd storm which causes a mess, look upon the clean-up as a relaxing and therapeutic exercise. Remove spent blossoms on winter flowering bonsai such as azaleas. The production of seed takes a lot out of a small bonsai.