A Few Pots Just Out of the Kiln

Anyone who reads this blog already knows that I am a very amateur potter, but I love it. Getting my hands dirty and playing around with glazes is just plain good fun. My teacher is understanding of my weird pot designs but I also make what I like to call standard pots.

The best part of the exercise is the final opening of the kiln after the glaze firing, there is that sense of anticipation to see what worked and what was, well, not as good as expected.

A few photos of the latest additions to my every increasing pot collection.

A small round pot with a yellow/gold glaze. This pot will probably be used for an accent planting
A smallish square pot with an “earthy” coloured glaze that is designed for a Callistemon in the coming potting season
A round shallow pot with a very light blue glaze. There is a maple with this pots name on it!
A “traditional” rectangular pot with a motley blue glaze. This pot also has a maple destined for it
This is a nanban pot but a little deeper than traditional nanban pots. I have a bunjin style Casuarina that is designed to preside in this pot. The earthy red/brown matt glaze is really pleasing and should suit an Australian native.

Australian Plants as Bonsai Exhibition – Part 3

This is part three and the last part of the exhibition. After being in the same location and using the same setup for at least six years I think it is time for a re-vamp of this show. When I originally saw this setup I was impressed with the thought behind it – the use of corrugated backing to “emulate” the old Australian country atmosphere. As time has gone that look is now tied and the room where it is held is too small to provide a proper display. Hopefully the committee that runs/organised the show will be looking to improve it for next year.

On with the last photos that I took.

Kunzea phylicoides designed to represent a tree on a small hill that has withstood the ravages of weather
Westringia fruticosa ‘Zena’ purchased as nursery stock specifically for bonsai
Acacia howittii purchased as stock from a bonsai nursery and has been in training for approx seven years
Grevillea rosemarinifolia ‘Scarlet Sprite’ is hardy in pot culture and delights with its late winter to spring flowers
Kunzea phylicoides ‘Snowman’ and has a profusion of small white flowers in January/February
Banksia marginata in training for approx three years
Eucalyptus mannifera after only two years of training
Melaleuca linarilfolia ‘Claret Tops’ is a tough tree with with bright red foliage tips at times throughout the year
Eucalyptus sideroxylon is only 15 years old but already a sizeable bonsai with developing fine ramification

Australian Plants as Bonsai Exhibition – Part 2

A few more photos from the exhibition.

Grevillea australis ‘Upright Form’ has been in training for approx 14 years. An interesting note is that this Grevillea species is the only Grevillea that grows naturally in Tasmania
Leptospermum trinervium was dug from a garden in 2014 and commenced its bonsai training soon after
Leptospermum laevigatum has been in “bonsai training” for approx 40 years
Syzygium australe is only about eight years old but it was a delight to see it in flower
Leptospermum petersonii that is only a baby in bonsai terms but still showing early character
Melaleuca armillaris ‘Green Globe’ in training for approx 30 years
Melaleuca linarifolia ‘Claret Tops’ in training for approx 15 years
Kunzea ambigua about 10 years ol
A shohin display featuring Melaleuca incana, Kunzea, Grevillea australis and Grevillea x semperflorens

Australian Plants as Bonsai Exhibition

During the weekend of 29 February and 1 March 2020 an exhibition of Australian native plants as bonsai was held at the Australian National Botanic Garden in Canberra.

Following are a few photos from the exhibition.

Callistemon subulatus in a hand made pot designed for this tree
Kunzea ambigua that was developed from nursery stock
Callistemon sp? and has been styled since 2004
Eucalyptus bridgesiana and one of my personal favorites from the exhibition
A better look at the leaves of the above tree
Leptospermum ‘Mesmer Eyes’ obtained as advanced stock. The artist has chosen to “kill off” some secondary branching to give the impression of a plant that is a survivor in difficult conditions
Banksia marginata that has been in training since 2012
Callistemon brachyandrus in the exposed root style
Leptospermum ‘Aphrodite’ has a lot of features that are good for bonsai however as it only tolerates a light frost it may be suspect in my garden although this one looks good
Callistemon sp? that was rescued from a shopping centre before renovations commenced. It is noticeable that there are plenty of bottlebrush varieties used for bonsai.

Shohin Bottlebrush Experiment

A few years ago I was wondering why Australian native plants were not “cultivated” for bonsai purposes in a similar manner to say Trident maples. So in October 2016 I purchased about 8 or 9 Callistemon viminalis Macarthur to ground grow like many trident maples are. I chose this particular species because:

  • I like bottlebrush
  • This breed is a cross between two popular Callistemon varieties Little John and Captain Cook
  • They flower
  • This variety is Myrtle Rust resistant
  • And of course the main reason was they were available in the local garden centre

When I got them home I transplanted them into square colanders and planted the colanders into the old vegie patch. Always the plan was to grow these in the shohin size. I did keep one in the black plastic nursery pot as a “control” sample.

They grew quiet prolifically and I trimmed them whenever I remembered however no wire was applied and no fertilizer given. If I were smarter I would have kept better notes and taken progress photos, but alas that didn’t happen. The trimming was at time quite harsh but these plants shot back on old wood easily and rewarded me with flowers during the growing period. In retrospect it would have been preferable to root prune these while in the ground but alas again, that didn’t happen.

In October 2019 I dug all the plants out and I was very pleased with the trunk thickness and that all the trees survived. So here are a few photos of the plants after digging.

The next step is to pot them into bonsai pots and that will hopefully happen in October this year.

And of course the obligatory standard size comparison.

A Wild Plum

August 2018 I dug this plum and it has progressed very well since then. Plums are tough trees and I think they are a great subject for bonsai. They are deciduous which gives interest in the winter, they have spring flowers, summer fruit and autumn colour in their leaves, a true all rounder.

Since it was dug it has grown plenty of new branches, although they are thin they are in keeping with the “look” of this tree. It is tall and thin and the branches are long and thin.

Normally I wouldn’t work on a tree within the first year after digging but this tree has shown exceptional strength so some wire to put the branches in better position was in order and this happened in July 2019.

This is how it looked post dig
12 Months later with a bit of wire

As I said plums are tough and this one has already flowered and so I am looking forward to continued development over the coming years. During next spring I plan to put this into a bonsai pot for the first time and I hope that it will be covered in flowers, and subsequently fruit for the coming year.

The flowers.