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Celebrating with Bonsai
December 16, 2016

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Celebrating with Bonsai

At this time of year, holiday bonsai show up on Facebook, Christmas cards and elsewhere.

This arrangement, by Juan Llaga in the Philippines, is one of my favorites.

A Winter Storage Tip

"It is wise to remove mosses from the soil surface, so pests are not staying hidden and kept alive in a safe shelter under the moss.

It also makes it far easier keeping a safe eye on watering needs during the dormant period.
" - Morten Albek, Belgium

Bonsai Banter Articles

I don't repeat articles very often, however, if you're a long time subscriber, you may recognize the following perennials. I think you'll agree, they're worth repeating.

Bonsai Gifts - Do and Don't

Although you may be tempted, it's probably not a good idea to gift a bonsai! An experienced bonsai person would often prefer to select their own.

An admiring novice may end up being embarrassed, if they kill it! With this in mind, there is an amazing book selection for beginners and experienced artists.

Some of My Favorite Books Or consider a creative suggestion, such as Jun Navarro's wire tree sculpture

A Frozen Story

In one of Michael Hagedorn’s bonsai blogs, he brought up a subject that would have never crossed my mind (having always grown bonsai in Florida.)

Because it's so important, I post this 'Beware Bending that Branch' warning here every year.

"Many years ago I held a conifer branch in my hand in a totally shocked moment after it had literally shattered while testing it for flexibility. Eons passed. When I returned to breathing normally, the branch was still in my hand, and the tree was a couple feet away, because I had stood up."

Read Crataegus - frozen branches story

Bonsai Resolutions

Just in case you haven't included bonsai in your New Year's Resolutions, here are a few suggestions:

Build those bonsai benches you promised yourself last year (or was it the year before?)

Sort and clean your bonsai pots - again.

Clean and sharpen your tools often.

Give away and/or sell bonsai that will never be the tree you intended. Someone else will love them.

Make plans to attend at least one bonsai convention or exhibit and visit Bonsai Gardens near you. You owe it to yourself!

More of My Favorite Holiday Pictures

To the right is a weeping bottlebrush (Callistemon sp.) bonsai.

I can only imagine the hours it took the owner, Nacho Marin from Caracas, Venezuela, to decorate it!

This fun picture is from Tom Elias (an avid suiseki collector.)

A green stone and two of Santa's helpers dressed in red ... very Christmasy!

Tony Palma, from South Florida decorated his Bald Cypress. The leaves are just beginning to change color.

BonsaiMary Gets Mail

Robert G. - New York Could you please tell me where I could buy the neagari bonsai? BonsaiMary Response: Neagari Bonsai is an unusual style of bonsai and I don't know of anyone who specifically creates them for sale. They are sometimes found in private collections, and even then, not that often. Your best bet may be to contact a local bonsai group (or create your own.)

Dan M - Beaumont, CA Hi Mary!...and thanks for the 'Welcome' e-mail! Looking forward to your e-zine and what info I can add to my love of Bonsai, in general. I see you are in Florida and since I am in Southern California I am guessing that the various trees/plants you will feature will 'possibly' not normally available here where I am ... BonsaiMary Response: Dan, thank you for your lovely letter. It's always interesting to hear other people's bonsai life history.

I rarely feature specific trees in "Banter." However, you will find many of the trees available in your area on the Bonsai Mary site. Southern California is a hotbed of bonsai activity! Here's a link to many of the clubs. So Californnia Clubs Somewhere on that list there must be one near you. You also mentioned indoor trees, take a look at this page Bonsai Indoors All the best.

DJ Duncan - Williamstown, KY My fiance recently bought me a Chinese elm bonsai and I would like to keep it indoors. I have never really had a green thumb but I want to turn over a new leaf per se and learn. I have done some research but I think I may have watered it to much, some of the leaves are turning yellow and falling off. My question is, with the limited lighting in my house, is a florescent light good enough to provide my tree with the light it needs? If so, how much should it get per day? Sorry, I'm really new to this but I would like to learn. BonsaiMary Response:Chinese Elm is a good choice for indoors. Learning how to water (and how much) is one of the trickiest parts of growing containerized plants in general. The difficult part is ... too much and too little water can have the same symptoms!

Somewhat duplicating the outdoors is the goal. So, yes light is very important and fluorescent light will work. How much, depends on how close the plant is to the light. The closer the better. In a worst case scenario, I have seen a little bonsai grow under a table lamp, with the light on 14 hours a day, on a timer. Remember, a bonsai is a plant in a pot. What we do to it makes it a bonsai! When it starts to grow long branches trim them to keep the shape of a tree. You are off to a good start.

Last month I posted mail from a reader who wrote that a rabbit had eaten her bonsai, "As well as my hens and chicks."

Not long after, I received this bit of garden humor from Mike M. - Mount Dora, FL Thanks for keeping the Banter coming. I especially enjoyed learning about carnivorous rabbits from one of your readers.

Holiday Wishes

However you celebrate this beautiful season, I wish you and your loved ones all the very best and a Healthy and Happy New Year.

Most Sincerely,

Mary Miller

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