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!

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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. 
Daily watering of outdoor bonsai may be required unless it rains.
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.
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. 
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.
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. 
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


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Still cold, rainy and windy but the signs of spring are emerging and buds are swelling. Some trees are well into new leaf.
Water if it does not rain for a few days. Wind causes evaporation even on really cold days.
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.
Pests, especially sucking mites and some fungi are active, take steps to control if necessary before they debilitate a bonsai.
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).
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.
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.

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.