Thursday, July 7, 2011

Kitty litter crisis II - Danish Moler to the rescue

Yesterday evening I replanted the so far thriving Birch #001 and the not so healthy lookin Oak #001 and Birch #002 Kitty litter from the swedish brand Eldorado. A completely different type of litter that is 100% danish moler clay. Please excuse the crappy photo quality.

Oak #001

Birch #002


I've moved the two waterlogged plants back to their protected spots in hope of a speedy recovery. Now let's just hope for the best. 

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Kitty litter crisis

Apparently I wasn't picky enough when it came to cat litter in the soil mix. The brand I used was Euroshopper and this is as far as I've read untested as a bonsai soil mix. What I should have used is Eldorado brand kitty litter instead. Anyway the ingredient should be Moler Clay, check out this site if you want to know what brands are available in your country.

So whats the problem. Well so far I have achived two not so healthy potensai, Oak #001 and Birch #002. For some reason Birch #001 seem to have done fine so far. Could be that it's planted in a clay pot and in a smaller pot which makes it dry out faster. I will replant Birch #001 aswell when I get hold of the proper kitty litter.

You might wonder why am I ruling out the possibilites of a weak plant due to being dug up from the wild. Well first of all I touched the clay and it was soggy gelatinous, that can't really be good if you expect good drainage. Also both pots have been moist for more than a week now without any rain or watering the last few days.

Today I took them out from their spot in the shade an put them in the sun for a couple of hours just to try to dry them out.

Oak #001 - Waterlogged?
Birch #002 - Waterlogged?

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Can I?

I just finished a can of mackerel in tomato sauce. While I was rinsing it out, before putting it in the recycle bin, I realized it had quite a nice shape. In fact it could probably be put to use as a mame bonsai pot.

While lingering on the thought I decided to keep the semi-opened curled lid, since it gives the can an even more interesting look. After that I just threw it in the dishwasher to get it cleaned out properly.



But there are a few obstacles and questions I have to overcome before I can put a plant in the pot:

  • Drainage - How do I obtain proper drainage with a bottom that is irregular?
  • Rust - Will it rust and how will this affect the plant? 
  • Bonsai - I need to obtain and train a tree before I can get any use of this canny little pot. 


The lowest point on the can is the edges ...

... and the highest point is the middle.
Stay tuned for coming updates.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

On the prowl - in a nursery and a parking lot

Today I took a trip to a local nursery called Hjällssnäs plantskola. A really nice place with lot's of potential material. Unfortunately I wasn't able to find anything that suited my taste.

But I my thirst for sap had to be quenched. So when I got home I took a stroll around the parking lot and found a small oak that I decided to dig up.

After cleaning up the root cuts made by the shovel with some ordinary pruning shears I sealed them with a cut paste from Nelson garden. Last time I worked with cut paste it was a lot more less runny than this particular brand so I hope it does it job.

The oak was then in a large plastic pot with the usual mix of 50% planting soil and 50% kitty litter. The root ball wasn't much to look at so I had to anchor the oak to a big sturdy stick in the pot. Hopefully it will recover soon and start growing lots of new roots.


As you can see it's quite big compared to the birches I have.
The smalles birch being planted in a pot the same size as to the left of the oak.


Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Lumbering tools have arrived!

Today I got a package from Bonsai-Tools.com, much earlier than I expected. It only took five days to ship from Florida, USA to Sweden via USPS. Last time I had something shipped from the states with USPS it took about twelve days.

Both tools have "Fujiyama" stamped in gold on their handles and on the flip side "Made in Japan" is stamped in black. From what I can tell the tools seem sturdy and well built. Ofcourse I won't know for sure until I've used them for a while. But so far I'm very satisfied.

Japanese Shear and Japanese Concave Cutter.

Manufactured by Fujiyama.

Closeup on concave cutters edge.

Closeup on shear blades.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Repotting 3.5 and pruning

After reading up on bonsai care I decided I should probably use another soil mix for my birch. However I should probably also leave it alone for a while to give the poor bastard a chance. But I didn't.

So i repotted it yet again in the same pot with a soil mix of 50 % garden soil, 50 % clay cat litter. I read about this soil mix on the Swedish Bonsai Society site under "Bonsai skolan > Jord

Lately I've been quite harsh on this poor little birch with all the repotting and so and I probably shouldn't do anything at all to it except give it some daily TLC. But I didn't and snipped a shooting twig between my fingernails. 
Birch #001 - repotted in new soil mix.
Birch #001 - post pruning.
Birch #001 - post pruning (opposite view).







Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Lumbering tools

Somewhere along the way I got rid of my old bonsai tools. I can't even remember what i did with them. I have a vauge memory of describing my home made turn-table to some guy, I guess i gave or sold him that with my shear, concave cutter and other bonsai related nick nacks.

Now I'm waiting for my order from Bonsai-tools.com to arrive. I placed an order for the Japanese shear and concave cutter kit. Hopefully it shouldn't take too long to arrive here.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Repotting 3.0

Repotted the birch in a somewhat larger clay pot, about 11 centimetres in diameter.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Birch repotted

I repotted the birch potensai today in a smaller plastic pot, about 7 centimetres in diameter.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Logging

While I was cleaning the area around my garden hedge I came upon a small birch plant about 30 cm in height. Since I had been pondering about taking up my old bonsai hobby again I thought this would be a great project to start with.

And ofcourse I wanted to write some sort of diary to document the progress. A blog is a great tool for logging and you get the added bonus of publicity hence the Bonsai log was born.

The first thing I did with my potential birch bonsai was to replant it in generic garden planting soil in a plastic pot, about 15 cm in diameter. I also pruned the plant quite heavily at 7 cm's height where two leaves were growing.