El Tim Blog speaking out

I thought I would mention this Spanish Bonsai Blog that I’ve been following for a while. I’ve just added it to My Favourite Blogs sidebar.

I understand that reading translated Spanish can be a bit of a chore, Google Translate is far from perfect! But sometimes its worth the effort.

If you click on the image link below you will be taken to a recent post about the collection of yamadori in Spain. It is an honest look at the devastation, dare I say rape, of collecting sites in Spain. I have collected yamadori myself, always in manageable numbers with permission. I understand the temptations to go mad and take risks with trees, I’m not blameless in this either. However, the wanton destruction of top quality yamadori as described here is totally unacceptable! Non-collectable trees should be left for everyone to enjoy in-situ.

This isn’t just a Spanish thing either, it’s happens everywhere when there’s money to be made. In my view, it’s bonsai’s dirty little secret. I have no doubt that some day, some news reporter on a slow news day will twig on to this and it will make National News. ‘Bonsai Butchers ruining the environment’, or words to that effect.  What a sad day for bonsai that will be! 😦

Bonsai Disaster!!

 After posting about the Common Juniper yesterday were I mentioned briefly about a major disaster in my Bonsai journey, I thought I would share the full story.

Back in 2005 I was busy dealing with other things in my life and bonsai took a back seat. This lasted for roughly 3 years. My one big regret in bonsai is wasting these years. My trees got water, if they were lucky, and every now and again they got feed.

In 05/06 disaster struck! I spotted  fertilizer for sale specifically for Conifers, not conifer bonsai, just conifers.. I decided to buy it. It was cheap, I had no other fertilizer left at home and I liked the idea of sprinkling a little on the pots and walking away. I followed the correct dosage, or less that recommended and fed the conifers in my collection. I have since learned from someone who used to work in a similar fertilizer factory that it’s pot luck what’s in the box.  Chemicals are added in a hap-hazard manor and rarely in the correct dosage. It would appear that what I got was a very high Nitrogen feed, not what was on the box. A few days later I looked out the window and noticed that a few of my trees where looking a little dull in foliage colour. I didn’t do anything as I was going out to work. Idiot!! The following day I was devastated to see that about 15 of my trees where suffering badly from what I can only assume was fertilizer burn on the roots. I flushed out the pots with running water. Took me most of the day.

It was then a waiting game. I managed to save 6 of the trees. Some of these lost branches but over the years I have worked around this and made the best I can from them. The other 9, I lost. By way of a memorial to them, here they are:

Japanese White Pine ‘Zushio’

Japanese White Pine ‘Zushio’ Common JuniperRoot Over Rock LarchScots PineMugo PineCommon JuniperJapanese Larch

Japanese Larch

I’m sure others out there have experienced loses during their time doing bonsai. However, I bet not many add them on their blog! I do this to show that we all have our disasters and hope that others might learn from my mistake. Be 100% confident about what you feed your trees. As you can see I lost some rather nice trees and it nearly made me quit bonsai.

Thank God I didn’t 🙂

To end on a brighter note, here are a few of the ones that suffered but survived. All photographed this year.