Belgium Ardennes Gallery

My Dutch friend Harry, who always helps me out with photos from Bonsai Exhibits, obviously knows that I like a nice walk in the woods finding fungi to snap. I do this most Sundays with my dogs in tow.

Well, just to out do me 😉 he has sent me some photos from a recent visit to the Belgium Ardennes where he found many interesting fungi as well as some real life root over rock trees.

When I hear Ardennes I always think Battle of the Bulge, I’m a bit of a history buff as well!  Always good to remember those who fought for their country, lest we forget.

Thanks for sharing Harry, I’m always happy to showcase here on the blog. That goes for anyone one else visiting exhibitions by the way 😉

Scarlet Elf Cup

Spotted these Scarlet Elf Cup Fingi on a recent walk.What a great name for these.

Sunday Walk Inspiration

Here follows my usual offering of photos taken this morning during my Sunday walk.

To start with, some views from Scrabo Tower

Gorse in Flower

My Usual selection of Fungi, most of these growing on the gorse.

An old Hazel

Birch Bark

Nabari on the shohin tree, Stephen for scale 😉

Bluebells already!!

More Fungi and just check out the shape of the cut stump, truly amazing.


Being watched

The overgrown sandstone quarry where all the famous Scrabo Stone was quarried from. It’s now home to 100’s of Jackdaws.

A tunnel cut under what used to be the railway line used to take the stone from the quarry.

Scrabo Tower peeking over the hill.

Caught in the Act…

of taking a  ….. photograph of course. Why, what did you think I was doing??!!

This was me last week whilst out tree hunting. Phil sneakily took this one while I was trying to get a shot of some fungi on a log. Now on his Facebook page under the title, ‘Mushroom Man’.

This was the result.

Todays Walk in Pictures

Here is some from my usual Sunday walk. We revisited the Clandeboye  Way. We haven’t done it for a while as it can get water logged but today was enjoyable even with the mud.

I didn’t think the sign meant cameras so I snapped away when I could. Nice to see the dog using the pedestrian gate instead of going through the main one 🙂

I spotted these Fungi on an old fallen Birch log. My brother Sam thought they looked like Octopus.

On old rotten stump with beautiful deadwood.

Some of the landscape we crossed. The sheep moved away when they saw the dogs appearing.

Old Gate pillars made from Scrabo Sandstone. No longer used as a gate as the gap isn’t wide enough any more for modern machinery. New gate beside it.

 We saw many trees along the walk that had fallen since our last visit. This one blocked the path.

Stephen wondered why I stopped to take a photo of the ground. I found it beautiful in it’s own way. It captures the season well. Can’t wait to see what he snaps with his new camera from Santa 🙂

Loved this old gnarly tree trunk. It tells it’s own story of life in the wood.

A birch full of witches brooms.

Just as we left the wooded area to walk along the coast, this Jay appeared in a tree. I snapped a few quick shots thinking it would only sit a few seconds. It was close by the path and was working hard to get grubs from a rotted branch. I quickly changed the lens to get a closer shot. Just As I was ready, it buggered off! Never get a chance like that again 😦

Birds were the highlight for the rest of the walk. Here are a few we saw.

 A few other feather free shots.

My 2 dogs loved the water and enjoyed drying out in front of the fire back at home too 🙂

Does this count as a Triple Trunk?

I noticed today that my little potentilla had sprouted some fungi right at the base. Never one to miss a photograph opportunity, here they are.

Don’t know why, but I just love finding these little guys lurking around my trees.

Fungi to photograph

Spotted these little fungi on my Scot’s Pine. Nice little fellows.

Needle Cast

In 18 years of bonsai I had never came across needle cast on Pines. Am I just lucky? It’s strange how this hobby/art throws up new things every year. Just when you think you know something, you find out you know precious little!

This weekend I spent a good bit of my time researching and asking for advice on Pine needle Cast on Scots Pine. My pines are cast free but my friend Stephen has it on 4 of his. We believe it has spread to his garden on the wind from a large Scottie that was over looking his garden. The council cut it down as it was suffering from something. Now we know what that was!!

Here’s a few photos of one of Stephens infected Pines.

As you can see, the old needles have turned brown and have the banding that indicates Needle Cast. The tree is still strong as can be seen by the new candles emerging.

This was the tree in April, it looks strong and there was no visible sign of Needle Cast.

So what do we do now? I googled it, as one does these days, and read about all these fungicides that work, Zineb being the main one. Then as I look further into it I find that this is no longer available under EU regulations. I then refine my search to needle cast on bonsai. You can bet if anyone knows how to mollycoddle a pine tree its a bonsai enthusiast. This thread on the Internet Bonsai Club Forum was useful. I found more references to Zineb but also mention of regular treatment with Murphys Copper Based Fungicide. This prevents the cast spreading to new needles and with a prolonged period of treatment you can eventually eradicate the cast. This can take years.

I phoned Stephen and told him to hit the Garden Centres to buy this product. Yep you guessed it, nowhere has it!! We are still looking. This product is going to be removed from the market in 2013 and Murphys are no longer making it. Our only hope of finding it is in some back water garden centre that still has old stock. So far, no joy.

During this process I had posted a request for information on the Wee Trees Bonsai Forum, and Molly, Mike, Corin and Paul, 4 of the members, offered advice. The best bit of info came from Molly who asked his bonsai mentor, Rob Atkinson for advice at a weekend workshop. Rob said that copper based fungicide was the best treatment and that if Murphys was unavailable to try Vitax Bordeaux Mixture. Also, remove all infected needles and get rid. Remove all needles from the soil surface and even remove the top layer of soil. Keep the tree on the dry side and only water the soil when watering. After a few seasons, things should start to return to normal.

Well Bordeaux Mixture, containing Tetra Copper was readily available and was swiftly purchased.

So there you have it! The power of the internet and the bonsai community. I think at some point I’ll add this to a page on my blog as opposed to a post. At least it may help others who find themselves in this position. Thanks to all those who offered advice and even a willingness to post over a few packets of Murphy’s!