My bonsai experience – with a lot of pictures!

Hello everyone,

Today I would like share & mark a special occasion with you. Lately I was busy with moving and traveling, but now I finally managed to bring a very special content to you. This is something I know people love to see and experience – and as you could read from the title – yes it is a bonsai post, hurray!

I usually share my stories about plants, with sometimes some scientific posts, but this time the post’s main purpose will be to please the eyes. Please note this isn’t a commercial, I was just really lucky enough to find this shop not far from my flat and the owner was kind enough to show me around and allow me to take photos about the plants. So here is the story…

It was a normal day in Brussels, Belgium. I was walking around enjoying the sunny weather when I found a sign:

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The bonsai store at Rue Lesbroussart, 30 in Brussels, Belgium

I was surprised and as a bonsai and plant fan like me, I had to go in. I wasn’t disappointed. Next to “typical” bonsai plants I saw really magnificent ones. It had 2 sections. Indoor and outdoor bonsai. The owner was a really stunning and helpful woman, with whom we talked a lot about the bonsai and the shop. Eventually I had to ask if I can take some photos for my blog and she kindly agreed. Now came the problem.. I wanted to take a photo from all plants, but then I would be still there, shooting photos. I tried to make a selection of the most interesting plants. I am curious how many species you can recognise! I made a slideshow about the individual plants:

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Even many single specimen were beautiful, but as a whole, the outside garden was stunning!

Just look at these beautiful colors! This is why I love spring!

But it is not over yet. For a grand final I would like to share with you one of the most beautiful bonsai I found in the shop.  It is a 35+ years old Azalea in full bloom! If this doesn’t make you WOW! than nothing will! 🙂

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So all in all, I had a great, short trip experience in the shop. If you are in Brussels, I definitely recommend you to visit the place, you can find there many beautiful bonsai and expertise from the owner!

Let me know in the comments which is your favourite one! 🙂

A new bonsai…

Hello all,

I know it has been a while, since I have post anything about bonsai. Well after many months here is an update, and a very special one! 🙂

Behold my new bonsai: My Sequoia Sempervirens – made by forest style (in Japanese: yose-un)

 

So now comes the usual part where I talk a bit about the plant itself and caring. The reason why this plant is so close to my heart is, because it can not be found where I live. It is more common in the United States (Northern California and Southwestern Oregon States), but in Central Europe no. If sequoia is not familiar to you, maybe coast redwood sounds more familiar because that is how it is called in common language. Even if this is a “miniature tree”, it tries to show that these trees can be tall, very tall… in fact one of the tallest trees on Earth! It can reach up height up to 115.5 meters (excl. root system), and that is pretty wow! The other interesting fact lies within its bark. The thick, tannin-rich bark, combined with foliage starting high above the ground, provides good protection from both fire and insect damage, contributing to the coast redwood’s longevity. So basically this plant has no natural enemies (except humans who like to cut down these trees and sell its wood for a nice profit). Because of these amazing facts, this tree can live easily around 600 years and the oldest recorded tree is 2,200 years old!

After the fun facts, I will tell a bit about my tree especially. I can’t stress enough, when you purchase a plant to be sure to check its natural environment and try to copy it as much as possible. The same rules apply for this plant. It likes water, but not over watering. I keep my plant in a peaty soil, which allows to hold more moisture and space for roots. This plant was raised indoor, so (normally) it does not mind full sun, but this specimen prefers morning or evening sunshine or a bit shady/no direct sun area. Fertalisation should be also done a bit differently. We talk about a tree, so no strong fertilisation is required, instead a slow release fertiliser or a 10-10-10 should be more than enough. And as I wrote earlier, due to its natural protection mechanism, I do not have to worry about serious pest or diseases (except rotting the roots).

So this is my new bonsai and hope it will find a happy place among my other plants!

My trip to Palmegarten in Frankfurt, Germany

Hello everyone,

I didn’t write to this blog for a while, because I was abroad. For a bit I was in Frankfurt, Germany. During my trip I have visited various places, but in this post I will focus to write about the world-known Palmegarten.

Before I share my experiences, I would like to tell a bit about the history and facts of the Garden. If you arrive to Frankfurt, it isn’t hard to find it, it is located in the heart of the city. Either you take U-Bahn (Metro) or Bus you can get to Palmegarten fairly quickly and easily. From the distance it doesn’t look special, like a big park. But this isn’t the usual park you can get everywhere. The area covers 22 hectares and has 10 point of interests (doesn’t include smaller facilities):
1. Entrance and small exhibition of carnivorous plants, bromelia
2. Rose Garden
3. Palm House
4. Rhododendron Garden
5. Heather Garden
6. Perennial Garden
7. Mountain Plants
8. Subantarktis Garden
9. Tropical Garden
10. Cactus and Succulents

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Garden plan

If you are interested in the history I will link you in the brief history as well, it is worth reading if you are interested in architecture and history of famous buildings. Also how they acquired their species.

Without the Prussians, Frankfurt most likely would never have had its Palmengarten. Its foundation in 1868 ows itself to a predicament – and a daring citizens initiative. The Duke Adolph of Nassau was in a financial tie. His castle gardens in Wiesbaden-Biebrich comprised 200 exotic plants. In the course of annexation of the duchy along with the city of Frankfurt by Prussia in 1866, the botanically inclined duke was forced to sell his famous “Biebricher Winter Gardens” and asked Heinrich Siesmayer (1817–1900) for assistance.
Siesmayer was a renowned horticulturist who had, among others, conceptionalized the Bad Nauheim Kurpark. The duke’s collection seemed to allow him to implement a long-held dream: similar to Brussels and London, Siesmayer intended to create a “Southern Palace” in Frankfurt – an exotic garden with social events. What he needed was supporters and money. Both were eventually supplied by a handful of honorable citizens and businessmen, among them Leopold Sonnemann, banker and founder of the former “Frankfurter Zeitung”. In May of 1868 a committee was formed to purchase the “Biebricher Wintergärten”. The issued stock shares were so popular that very shortly after their emission the valuable plant collection could be acquired from Adolph of Nassau for 60,000 Rhein-Gulders.
The City of Frankfurt made available a slot of some 18 acres along the rural Bockenheimer Straße to the joint-stock company as an hereditary tenancy. The greenhouses were erected in 1869 and the first flower show took place in 1870. The official inauguration of the magnificent gardens with Palmenhaus and adjoining building for socio-cultural events was celebrated on March 16, 1871 in the presence of the Prussian Crown Prince. And three years later it was the Emperor Wilhelm I himself to honor the splendid Frankfurt Palmengarten by a personal visit. Its exotic plants as well as concerts and balls soon made the Palmengarten a highly attractive center of social life in the city.
The era of initiation ended in 1886 with the retirement of Heinrich Siesmayer as honorary director. His successor August Siebert (1854–1923), a renowned horticultural expert in respected social standing, was able to expand and improve the gardens considerabley within the four decades of his leadership. Among others he established new greenhouses and a rosary, introduced electricity, and published a first printed guidebook. In times of distress during World War I, the greenhouses and grounds served as vegetable plots to supply military hospitals. As part of the meanwhile highly prestigious Westend, the gardens managed to be maintained during the war, while the following economic crisis required major readjustments.

Source: From the homepage of Palmegarden

Now getting to the interesting… how things went. Instead of words, I took many pictures which I will upload, because I think people are more interested to see it than to read it. I have spent there about 2 hours and could spent 2 more. I recommend people to visit the Park from April/May till October because when I came, some parts were closed and many plants were still hiding in the soil. Since I took many picture I have to kind of narrow down to a few and hope you will enjoy it.

There were so many species which I have never seen before. You can test your knowledge and see if you could recognize and identify all. If someone would ask which part of the Garden was my favorite, I would say the Tropical and Cactus/Succulents section. Also take note, that since there is a lake, there are many ducks and they are running around crazy (as you can see on one of the pictures).

I hope you enjoyed this brief experience about the Palmegarten in Frankfurt! If you are a plant lover, I definitely recommend you to go there and watch it for yourself!

A new bonsai… from China!

Hello there,

So here is a typical story about how I am buying my plant… 🙂 I was walking in my favourite garden center. I saw that the employees were packing new plants on the shelves and much to my surprise one of the section was for bonsai. I went there to talk with the employee who was packing the plants and much to my surprise I was asking about the plants and origin.
It was a new shipment from China and Japan. I have got really excited and curious what the boxes held. After waiting couple of minutes and looking around I have found the perfect specimen for my future plans. My choice was a Podocarpus macrophyllus – also known as Kusamaki or Inumaki.


Podocarpus macrophyllus (Kusamaki or Inumaki) is a conifer in the genus Podocarpus, family Podocarpaceae. It is the northernmost species of the genus, native to southern Japan and southern and eastern China. Kusamaki (クサマキ) and Inumaki (犬槇) are Japanese names for this tree, and Kusamaki is increasingly being used as the English name as well, replacing the old, botanically inaccurate names Buddhist Pine and Fern Pine (it is not a pine). In China, it is known as 羅漢松 or luóhàn sōng, which literally means “arhat pine”.

It is a small to medium size evergreen tree, reaching 20 m tall. The leaves are strap-shaped, 6–12 cm long, and about 1 cm broad, with a central midrib. The cones are borne on a short stem, and have 2-4 scales, usually only one (sometimes two) fertile, each fertile scale bearing a single apical seed 10–15 mm. When mature, the scales swell up and become reddish purple, fleshy and berry-like, 10–20 mm long.


It is a great tree, but it will take a while (means years :)), to make it a mature bonsai. It needs a lot of wiring and pruning to have its final shape, but for now I will wait for the spring to repot. Finally I have made some pictures to show the new bonsai in my collection.

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Back from Belgium, with great experiences!

Hello,

This is a special blog entry. Not long time ago, I have returned from Belgium. It was a great trip. I have visited Brussels and smaller villages around it. The most exciting place was the bonsai nursery though. After a week or emailing and planing, I have finally managed to visit the Ginkgo Bonsai Nursery by Mr. Danny Use.
He is a great man and inspiration. His kindness, patience and wisdom prove to be without limits, which is in fact true. He is well recognised within and outside Europe.

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There were hundreds and hundreds of trees. From saplings to mature award winning trees. Sometimes I could not decide wether this is a private collection tree (yes, Mr. Use keeps his private collection there as well) or an “average” tree.

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If you wish to read the interview/discussion I have had with Mr. Use follow the link or click on the interview tab in the menu: https://explorebotany.wordpress.com/interview-with-mr-danny-use-owner-of-ginkgo-bonsai-center/

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