Glad That’s Over!

Hope it was THE ‘Freeze of 2010’

Everyone here in South Florida is keeping their fingers crossed for February and March.

I mentioned last month that my large dwarf black olive and seagrape were both covered with plant blankets and plastic.

Well, if you have any tall three-man trees ...

The plastic I used was a Real Find

I discovered side panels from an old canopy (used for demonstratons) in my storage shed. I had never used the panels, and pulled them out to see if they would work for cold protection.

To my surprise, they had side zippers that easily joined together.

First, I placed the lightweight plant fabric over the top of each tree. (You could also use sheets etc.) Then came the panels.

I used two panels for the seagrape and two for the dwarf black olive.

(These side panels can be ordered without ordering a canopy.)

Zip-Lock bags for plants ... who knew?

The panels are long and can be folded over at the top. I used clothespins to secure them.

It worked. Not even one brown leaf.

The trees on the ground, in my hastily built block house, did have a few brown leaves, but no major damage.

Oops, I misjudged this poor Ficus nerifolia.

The plant blanket and a wool blanket from the house were not enough for two freezing nights. Why didn't I use the plastic? What was I thinking?

The stems are still green, the new buds are starting. It will be fine.

If you live in Florida and you thought the freeze wasn't all that bad, you have far too few bonsai trees! (Just kidding.)

Other Freeze Results

My daughter Angela and I often take short day trips on the weekends. On the 18th of January - it was warm again - we packed a lunch and headed (with the top down, of course) to Biscayne National Park.

Along the way we saw evidence of the tremendous crop damage.

The tomato fields were devasted. This photo was taken three weeks after the freeze. Most of the tomatoes that look good, are actually rotting on the vine.

One of the large farms in Homestead (1,000+ acres) estimates 60% of their corn crop is lost.

When we arrived at the park, it wasn't long before we smelled evidence of the huge fish kill.

The sad results were still obvious along the coastline.

So much for a pleasant picnic.

Good News!

Jim Smith of Vero Beach, FL is a familiar name to bonsai aficionados.

He became interested in bonsai in 1950 and has been studying, creating and teaching ever since ... and he has a huge bonsai collection to show for it.

A recent article in Bonsai Societies of Florida magazine, announced that Jim has pledged a donation of 100 of his bonsai to Heathcote Botanical Gardens in Ft. Pierce, Florida

“The gift is contingent upon Heathcote being able to properly secure, display and maintain the trees. His gift would give Heathcote one of the largest public displays of bonsai in the country, comparable to the Chicago Botanical Garden and Brooklyn Botanical Garden collections, and would require a full-time curator."

Thank you Jim and congratulations to Heathcote!

Learn more about Heathcote Botanical Gardens here.

What’s New at ?

I added several new pages this month, but my favorite is Cottonseed Hulls.

While reviewing the article, I touched base again with Mike Kling. Mike is a very creative person, some of you may remember him.

We worked together during the ‘Big Five’ days ... my wholesale bonsai nursery BA (before Hurricane Andrew). He did several demonstratons (using cottonseed hulls). Mike’s living in Virginia now and sends his regards.

The new page also reminded me to fix a rock planting that was in dire need of some hulls!

Need Your Help

It seems not many people have Bahama Berry as bonsai.

Prove me wrong!

I love this plant and would like to add more photos of it to the BonsaiMary site. If you know of anyone with a good Bahama Berry (Nashia i.) tell them about the 'Bahama Berry Bragging' page.

Comments? Ideas? Feedback?

I’d love to hear from you. Just ‘reply’ to this e-zine and tell me what you think.

When you receive this issue of Bonsai Banter, I plan to be on another Florida road trip. I expect I'll have some stories to share when I return.

See you here next month.