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Growing and Caring for Bonsai Trees

Growing and Caring for Bonsai Trees

How To Get Rid of Mosquito's

Asian Tiger Mosquito

How to get rid of mosquito's is not rocket science. There are actually many ways to reach the same result and there are other ways to drastically reduce the number of unwanted mosquito. I have been using some of these methods successfully till today, some require more effort whereas some solution require practically no effort at all. In order to understand how this works, we must understand two crucial approaches, its either ''only a dead mosquito is a good mosquito or keep mosquito at bay but dont kill em''. Having said that, lets dive further into this matter. There are more than 3,500 species of mosquitoes. About 175 of them are found in the United States, with the Anopheles quadrimaculatus, Culex pipiens,Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus (Asian tiger mosquito) among the most common. Not all mosquitos carry diseases, but several species can transmit potentially dangerous diseases like Zika and West Nile Virus. Mosquito species have different activity patterns and feeding preferences (some bite birds; others prefer mammals like us humans), but they all share the same basic life cycle and habitat preferences, which means you can control them all the same way. The techniques that work best have one thing in common: they make your home inhospitable to pests.

An alternative method is the box fan method, economic and very efficient.


Mesh Food Cover: https://amzn.to/2X2J66S 
Binder Clips: https://amzn.to/2K9jQqu

Or BTI bacillus naturally non toxic to environment. This is one of the most effortless methods. What does BTI actually do? Bacillus thuringiensis subspecies israelensis (Bti) bacteria is found in soil. Bti is used as a larvicide to kill larvae before they can grow into adults that can bite people. Bti has been used for mosquito control for more than 30 years.




BTI mosquito control: https://amzn.to/2NBRJ5j
Bits can be sprinkled on the soils surface or mixed with potting soil prior to planting will kill fungus gnat larvae with the same safety and target specific control offered for mosquito larvae.

Mosquito control bacillus BTI


Another way to drastically reduce the number of mosquito in your backyard is to have dragonflies. Yes, each dragonfly can eat around 100 mosquito's per day. So if you happen to have a pond, a dragonfly will do the rest. And if that is not enough, a gold fish or two in your pond will make sure that your pond stays mosquito larvae free.




Another way to get rid of mosquito is by purple LED light. It's basically an electric mosquito killer gadget. I personally have never used this gadget before, perhaps this review gives a glimpse on how this thing works. Many people use it for camping activities and some use this mosquito killer gadget at their terrace after 6pm.




Mosquito Trap Gadget - The perfect mosquito killing machine



Most mosquitoes can fly no more than one to three miles, and some mosquitoes such as the Asian tiger mosquito have a flight range of just 100 yards or so. So they're always looking for a place to land or a place to lay eggs, and water is an attractive option. Eliminate standing water where mosquitoes breed by emptying the saucers for plants, hauling off old tires, cleaning rain gutters and frequently changing the water in birdbaths. Don't leave pet bowls filled with water outside when your pets are indoors. Look out for water that gathers in pool covers, buckets and trash cans. Even discarded Frisbees, toys and lids can collect water after it rains and attract mosquitoes.

Walk around your property with an eye for puddles. Fix the problem, and mosquitoes won't have a place to lay eggs. Stock ornamental ponds with mosquito fish that eat the larva or treat the water with larvicide mosquito rings sold at home and garden stores.

Like their fellow bloodsuckers, vampires, adult mosquitoes rest during daylight. Mosquitoes spend daylight hours hiding among vegetation. Reduce mosquito shelter in your yard by trimming weeds and keeping the grass short.

You can get rid of mosquitoes by attracting bats, one of their most-feared predators. In one night, one single brown bat can eat 1,000 mosquito-sized insects.

To make that dinnertime feat easier, why not install a bat house to create a mosquito-free yard? Typically made of wood, bat houses can take many forms and can be many sizes. They can be small, backyard boxes or freestanding towers on tall poles to support colonies. Place the house where it will get at least six hours of sunlight per day, facing south, east or southeast in most climates and paint the outside a dark color to absorb heat.








Dragonflies for Mosquito Control

Awesome example of a dragonfly


Did you know that one Dragonfly can eat over hundreds of mosquito's a day. Keep some beautiful plants in your yard to attract Dragonflies. It’s possible to help reduce mosquito populations around your house without using nasty chemicals. Did you know that dragonflies are the biggest predators of mosquito's and can eat hundreds of them a day? This makes them a great addition to your garden and the safest natural pest control. They keep mosquito population in check.


Dragonflies eat mosquitoes, both at the larval stage and as adults. Having a few dragonflies in your backyard will ensure mosquitoes do not trouble you during a high mosquito season. Another interesting fact is that Dragonflies are carnivorous in their minds, bodies and soul. A fun fact here. A Dragonfly can eat food equal to its own weight in about 30 minutes. Which roughly translates into a you trying to eat as much as 100 lb, let alone in half an hour. We don’t eat that amount of food in a week!

From the time they get out of their eggs as little nymphs, their limbs and mouth yearn for meat and seek out prey underwater. They are extremely fast swimmers and will eat just about anything that moves under the water surface and on. They have a hyper-thrust mechanism to give them the extra speed-boost when they are pursuing a critter that gives the Dragonfly nymph a run for its money. For a quick burst of speed, they eject water from their anal opening to act like a jet propulsion system, which makes it a near impossible feat for the nymph Dragonfly’s prey to even think of an escape.

If you think this is spectacular, wait till you hear this. Occasionally, the nymph will venture out of the water to get a quick snack from the land. It does this with such nonchalance that when seen this way, one would never really consider the dragonfly nymph to be primarily aquatic, and never ‘ever’ an aquatic insect with gills. As Nymphs, the Dragonflies eat mosquito larvae, other aquatic insects and worms, and for a little variety even small aquatic vertebrates like tadpoles and small fish.

Dragonfly catching mosquitos at a pond
Dragonfly catching mosquito's at a pond
Adult Dragonflies are born rulers of their domain and they prove it to just about every insect that thinks it can pull a fast one on this killing machine. The adult dragonfly uses the basket formed by its legs to catch insects while flying. The adult Dragonfly likes to eat gnats, mayflies, flies, mosquitoes and other small flying insects. They sometimes eat butterflies, moths and bees too.

From bees to mosquitoes, Dragonflies make a meal out of what they please and can hunt down insects on a whim, callously plucking them out of thin air after out-flying outmaneuvering and them in the chase that does not normally last very long.

To give you a little insight, the dragonfly that is many times the size of a mosquito or a housefly needs to flap its wings a mere 30 times a minute when compared to a mosquito’s 600 times a minute and the housefly’s 1000 flaps a minute requirement to keep them flying and in peak maneuverability. Such is the power that the dragonfly is equipped with and given its low-energy speed capability, very, very few insects can escape its basket shaped grabbing limbs that it uses to clutch on to its prey before crushing the critter into a gooey mass, with its powerful mandibles and swallowing it.


Adult Dragonflies eat just about anything that is edible and can be caught. They are a treasure for humanity because they keep mosquito populations under strict control by feasting on them when they are in abundance. Similarly, they also feed on ants, termites, butterflies, gnats, bees and other insects and tend to hunt in groups when large colonies of ants or termites are spotted.

They are considered a pest by apiaries because they can polish off a good chunk of the bee population before one can realize the threat looming large.

Writing about what dragonflies eat makes one wonder what would be the case if some of the older dragonfly species that have been found as fossils existed today. These fossil species belonging to the Meganeura genus were carnivorous insects with wings spreading to spans in the range of two and a half feet and made their food out of other insects and even small amphibians. If they were still alive today, we’d have to constantly watch our small pets to be sure they didn’t end up a Dragonfly’s lunch!



Some plants that attract Dragonflies are floating plants that are not rooted under the water are also necessary for any dragonfly habitat. Females will lay their eggs on the underside of the plant or on the stems. The Western water lily is hardy in zones 10 and 11 and fanworts, which will grow in zones 6 through 11, are attractive options. Emergent plants are those that are rooted on the bottom of ponds but have stems and leaves that rise out of the water. Dragonflies love these plants because they use them during both nymph and adult stages. Water horsetail grows well in zones 4 through 11 and is a lovely dark green emergent plant that has a hollow stem with a few branches.

Dragonfly on a lotus flower



Interesting Bonsai articles can be found here:

Please click here for more information on --> Chinese Penjing Bonsai
Please click here for more information on --> The Origins of Bonsai
Please click here for more information on --> The Art of Saikei Bonsai
Please click here for more information on --> Japanese Tanuki Bonsai
Please click here for more information on --> How to Water a Bonsai
Please click here for more information on --> Bonsai Healing Methods

Fertilizing Bonsai - Care Guide Tutorial

Organic Bonsai fertilizer review - Care Guide Tutorial for Bonsai Enthusiasts



Bonsai Fertilizer Explained

The best fertilizer is a bonsai fertilizer specifically formulated to provide an optimum level of salt in the soil solution when used as directed. In other words, Fertilizer is simply an alternate source of all the basic nutrients, such as nitrogen, phosphorous, potassium, and trace minerals that exist naturally in a healthy soil. Fertilizer feeds the soil, not the bonsai. Fertilizer breaks down in the soil, either by being dissolved in water or by microbial action, releasing its nutrients in a form that plant roots can absorb. Plants use nitrogen for leaf production, phosphorus for root and flower production, and potassium for flower production and general vigor. General purpose fertilizers are typically balanced. They contain all three major nutrients which are present in the proportions likely to be found in a healthy soil. These general purpose fertilizers are suitable for use on lawns, trees, shrubs, flowers, even vegetable gardens where there are no special problems with the soil.

Special purpose fertilizers are typically "unbalanced" featuring a greater proportion of one or the other major nutrients or special trace minerals or enzymes that suit them for particular situations or bonsai. For instance, there are bonsai fertilizers labeled for acid-loving plants such as azaleas that help provide iron in a form that these plants can use. Let the directions on the fertilizer be your guide and, when possible, use a specialized bonsai fertilizer to maintain its health. 

Fertilizing regularly during the growth season is crucial for your Bonsai to survive. Normal trees are able to extend their root system looking for nutrients; Bonsai however are planted in rather small pots and need to be fertilized in order to replenish the soil's nutritional content. I've found a very interesting video from an experienced Filipino Bonsai enthusiast that explains fertilizing methods.



What is NPK on fertilizer labels?

Don't be intimidated by the three-number code on bags of fertilizer. It indicates the levels of nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and potassium (K) in the fertilizer. Nitrogen is responsible for the intensity of the color green in the plant. Phosphorous is good for maintaining the root system as well as the plant's blooming and fruiting. Potassium is necessary for the general vitality of the plant. You can read our article for more information about NPK.

What's the difference between liquid fertilizers and granular pellets?

Fertilizer is available in two types: liquid and granular. Choose the one that meets your needs in the form that is easiest for you to use. Liquid fertilizers are fast-acting and quickly absorbed. However, liquid fertilizers require more applications. Every time you water your bonsai, your washing away the fertilizer you previously applied. Granular fertilizers are applied dry and must be watered in. Granular fertilizers are easier to control because you can actually see how much fertilizer you are using and where it is being dispersed. Both fertilizer types are appropriate for bonsai gardeners, and most bonsai gardeners will use both types of fertilizer for maximum balance. 

Is there an advantage to using organic fertilizer?

The major elements needed for your bonsai are N, P, and K. The source doesn't matter to the plant. The salts will ultimately be employed by the bonsai in exactly the same fashion. The major benefit of organic fertilizer is that it releases nitrogen slowly and it is less likely to burn the roots of the bonsai if you accidentally over-fertilize. Some fertilizers, such as chicken manure or liquid fish-meal, have a distinct odor, so you may not want to use them on indoor bonsai. However, not all organic fertilizer will smell bad.

Also, organic fertilizers do not always contain all of the trace elements and minerals your bonsai needs. Therefore, you may need to apply several different organic fertilizers or apply them more frequently to compensate. It may be a good idea to alternate fertilizers (organic and non-organic) from time to time in order to give your bonsai a mixture of trace elements.

No matter which fertilizer you choose, the most important thing is to follow the directions on the package. Using too much fertilizer or using it too frequently increases the risk of damage to your bonsai.

Are there times when I should avoid fertilizing my bonsai?

Yes. Probably the most important rule about fertilizing is to never feed a tree that is under stress. You should never feed a newly re-potted tree, a dry tree, or a tree during dormancy. After re-potting, leave the bonsai alone for at least a month before starting feeding again.

Please see product review below, you can click on images for more details about the specific product.




Liquid and Non-Liquid Bonsai Fertilizers



Dyna-Gro - Professional liquid plant food fertilizer for Bonsai - Made in the USA


  • Brand: Dyna-Gro
  • Rated: 4.5 stars on Amazon (Customers reviews here)
  • Type: liquid form
  • Price: below $10
  • Indoor plants: mix 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon per gallon of water with every watering
  • Outdoor plants: mix 1/2 teaspoon per gallon of water with every watering
  • Monthly feeding: mix 1 teaspoon per gallon
  • Hydroponic: 2-3 teaspoons per gallon of water for re-circulation type systems
  • 1 teaspoon per gallon for non-recirculating
  • Made in the U.S.A.



Uncle Bills Bonsai Brew - Bonsai Fertilizer by New England Bonsai - Made in the USA



  • Brand: New England Bonsai Gardens
  • Rated: 4.5 stars on Amazon (Customers reviews here)
  • Type: liquid form
  • Price: $10 - $15
  • This premium bonsai fertilizer one of the best in the market according to reviews and is essential to keeping your bonsai trees healthy and strong.
  • Exclusive to New England Bonsai Gardens, a low dose 3-3-3 can be used for bonsai almost year round.
  • This water soluble bonsai fertilizer is odor free and especially recommended by bonsai professionals for indoor bonsai trees.
  • Contains Nitrogen for healthy foliage, Potassium for healthy root growth, and Phosphorous for bright and colorful flowers and fruits.
  • 1/8 ounce bottle should last about a year for a small bonsai (up to an eight (8) inch pot). Direct from New England Bonsai Gardens.
  • Made in the U.S.A.



Superfly efficient bonsai non liquid fertilizer made in the USA


  • Brand: Superfly Bonsai
  • Rated: 4.0 stars on Amazon (Customers reviews here)
  • Type: Non-liquid form
  • Price: $10 - $15
  • Slow Release - Special blend fertilizes immediately and throughout a 1-2 month period.
  • NPK optimized for Bonsai - Nitrogen (N) – for the growth of leaves on the plant. Phosphorus (P) for root growth, flower and fruit development. Potassium (K) for overall plant health.
  • According to instruction it's safe and easy to use - 1/4 Pellets can be picked up by hand or with a spoon
  • Rich in premium organic & natural ingredients
  • Easy Zip and resealable bag
  • Made in the U.S.A.



Tinyroots organic bonsai pellet fertilizer imported from Japan


  • Brand: Tinyroots
  • Rated: 5.0 stars on Amazon (Customers reviews here)
  • Type: Non-liquid form
  • Price: $10 - $15
  • Most popular time release organic bonsai fertilizer. Always fresh stock from Japan.
  • Biogold is specially formulated for Bonsai, but will also work well with a wide range of plants.
  • Fermented - no bad smells. Does not attract insects, no mold growth.
  • Contains the three essential elements (Nitrogen, Phosphorus and Potash) and micro-nutrients to produce a balanced fertilizer.
  • Triangular pellets - Will not roll off and out of your pot.
  • Imported fertilizer from Japan



All purpose blend premium bonsai soil by tinyroots made in the USA


  • Brand: Tinyroots
  • Rated: 4.5 stars on Amazon (Customers reviews here)
  • Type: Non-liquid form
  • Price: $15 - $20
  • This soil provides the plant support, moisture & drainage Bonsai trees need.
  • The soil component is a mix of 100% organic double-sifted compost mulch, calcined clay, vermiculite and Frit. It contains over 28 vital trace elements and minerals that are essential for the health of your Bonsai.
  • Perfectly blended for Ficus, Chinese Elms, Jades, Junipers, and other Bonsai species - two quarts of all-purpose blend Bonsai soil mix. 100% Organic and All-Natural Bonsai soil.
  • Specially formulated as an all-purpose potting medium for virtually any Bonsai tree.
  • Made in the U.S.A.



Organic liquid bonsai fertilizer - Proudly made in the USA



  • Brand: BonsaiOutlet
  • Rated: 4.5 stars on Amazon (Customers reviews here)
  • Type: Liquid form
  • Price: $15 - $20
  • Nitrogen-free fertilizer for Bonsai. Use this 0:10:10 fertilizer during the winter months and for newly transplanted Bonsai trees.
  • Formulated without nitrogen so it doesn't promote foliage growth, this formulation still provides a balanced delivery of phosphorus and potassium to keep your Bonsai tree's root system healthy and happy.
  • Made with natural-based fish. Rich in phosphorus and potassium, this unique formula stimulates budding and flowering, as well as vigorous root growth. Use this product on all types of flowering plants for abundant colorful blooms.
  • Spring feeding pines with 0-10-10 will help reduce needle length and candle extension, and encourages sturdy shoots. Fall feeding all trees with 0-10-10 will help to prevent nonseasonal soft growth that will not withstand winter, and will increase cold hardiness of the roots.
  • 8oz bottle contains enough to make 16 gallons.
  • Made in the U.S.A.



Eve's Garden special blend fertilizer for Bonsai



  • Brand: Eve's Garden Special Blend
  • Rated: It's a new product
  • Type: Non liquid form
  • Price: Below $10.00
  • Slow Release 16-9-12 Granular Bonsai Fertilizer
  • Time released Fertilizer, apply every 5-8 months on the surface of soil
  • Last for months of the year, essential to keep your tree healthy and strong
  • Safe for any house plants according to Eve's Garden
  • Sold Only by Eve's Garden in 5 oz pack in a resealable zip lock bag, enough for many Bonsai trees
  • Made in the U.S.A.



Green Dream Organic Bonsai fertilizer improved formula



  • Brand: BonsaiOutlet Green Dream
  • Rated: 4.0 stars on Amazon (Customers reviews here)
  • Type: Non liquid form
  • Price: $20 - $30
  • Brings rapid and lush growth, Certified 100% Organic. Will keep your Bonsai trees happy healthy and thriving for years to come.
  • Perfectly balanced Bonsai fertilizer. N:P;K ratio of 7:5:5 balanced for Bonsai of all types.
  • Tiny 4mm pellets are absorbed by soil quickly. Harmless to pets and fish, including Bonsai ponds.
  • Recommended for outdoor use but safe indoors, Active organic components sterilized for safe handling according to manufacturer
  • Made in the U.S.A.






Interesting Bonsai articles can be found here:

Please click here for more information on --> Chinese Penjing Bonsai
Please click here for more information on --> The Origins of Bonsai
Please click here for more information on --> The Art of Saikei Bonsai
Please click here for more information on --> Japanese Tanuki Bonsai
Please click here for more information on --> How to Water a Bonsai
Please click here for more information on --> Bonsai Healing Methods


Thank you for visiting my blog and feel free to subscribe to this blog and leave your message on the comment section below. Remember, good feedbags or bad remarks, it doesn't matter!


Japanese Snacks


Interesting Books on Bonsai can be found here:

The Complete Book of Bonsai --> I've been into bonsai for 25 years and this is the basic Bible for beginner and intermediate bonsai enthusiasts. It has an excellent section on techniques, including pruning, wiring and whatnot, and it has a large species-specific tree guide. If you're into bonsai and want only one book, this is it.

Indoor Bonsai The Great Selection --> Creating beautiful, healthy bonsai is a wonderful skill that anyone can learn, with a little time, patience, and this all-inclusive manual. With color photos and drawings to illustrate the points, it introduces all the cultivation techniques; offers expert advice on location, soil types, watering, and pest control; and provides intricate instruction on training the bonsai--including pruning, wiring and stretching it.

The Secret Techniques of Bonsai --> In The Secret Techniques of Bonsai, the author of the groundbreaking Bonsai With American Trees teams up with his son to offer not only the basics for creating perfect bonsai, but also secret techniques they’ve developed over years of careful work and observation.

Bonsai Survival Manual --> Problem solving when your Bonsai get sick. Expand your gardening repertoire as you create a captivating and exquisite miniature world. In this introductory guide, Colin Lewis covers everything you need to know to design, grow, and successfully maintain attractive bonsai.

Bonsai and the art of Penjing --> Bonsai & Penjing, Ambassadors of Beauty and Peace describes how Chinese penjing and North American bonsai were later added to the Museum, making its collection the most comprehensive in the world. Stories of individual trees and forest plantings are featured, as are the roles played by the skilled and talented creators of these living art forms people such as John Naka, Saburo Kato, Yuji Yoshimura, Harry Hirao, and Dr. Yee-Sun Wu.

Bonsai with Japanese Maples --> With their delicate foliage, seasonal color changes, and intricate pattern of branching, Japanese maples are among the most popular and suitable plants for bonsai design. In this long-awaited book, internationally renowned expert Peter Adams discusses both the specific horticultural needs of Japanese maples as bonsai subjects and illustrates proven techniques for creating and maintaining beautiful specimens.

The Modern Bonsai Practice --> The most current, useful information on growing Bonsai. Fresh, practical, definitive, comprehensive reference guide to the finest art of horticulture: growing miniature trees. Common sense bonsai answers separating myth from fact with depth and detail. Appropriate for both bonsai hobbyists and experienced practitioners.


The art of Bonsai and Penjing - From the collection of the National Bonsai and Penjing museum in Washington D.C.




SEMrush

The Taikan-Ten International Bonsai Exhibition in Kyoto, Japan

Magestic Bonsai on Display - Picture taken by Julian Tsai courtesy of Bonsai Empire



The Taikan Ten Exhibition

The building is just down the street from the famous Heian Shrine, well known for a large and impressive tori gate. This exhibition is perhaps the second largest and most prestigious bonsai exhibition in Japan. I particularly like this show because it features displays. Both bonsai, suiseki and art objects are formally displayed, many with scrolls. This is not the common traditional bonsai exhibition. There were a few contemporary displays as well in good taste too.The Taikan-ten is one of Japan's leading Bonsai exhibitions, with an incredibly high level of Bonsai trees on display. It takes place each year in November, in the city of Kyoto Japan. The Taikan-ten is one of the few traditional shows that features Bonsai in displays, with scrolls and suiseki. But several contemporary displays can be found as well. The best of show is awarded the Prime Minister Award and some of the Bonsai masterpieces may reach easily 160thousand dollars.


The entrance of Bonsai Taikan exhibition in Kyoto Japan
The entrance of Bonsai Taikan exhibition in Kyoto Japan

Bonsai on display at Taikan Ten Exhibition in Kyoto Japan
Source: Julian Tsai & Bonsai Empire

Epic Bonsai on display at Taikan Ten exhibition in Kyoto Japan
Source: Julian Tsai & Bonsai Empire


The walkway hall at Taikan Ten Bonsai exhibition in Kyoto, Japan


Numerous visitors admiring Bonsai on display at Takan Ten exhibition held in Kyoto, Japan






Japanese Snacks


An interesting fact is although all the bonsai are beautiful, not all are of the high Kokufu Bonsai Exhibition quality. Professional bonsai artists nominate the bonsai for entry. There are two general sizes of display and I believe the entry fee is US $500 and $1,000 per display areas. The trees are classified by size, large, medium and small, and by type, evergreen, deciduous, satsuki, shohin bonsai, literati, forest and rock plantings. The suiseki are classified as those in water basins, daiza bases and figure stones. Most of the Bonsai exhibitions are in Autumn, that is when the Bonsai trees manifest their true beauty on display. 



Taiken-Ten Bonsai exhibition - most of Bonsai exhibition are in autumn, thats when the trees manifest their true beauty



Autumn Bonsai on display manifesting their true beauty at Taikan Ten International Bonsai exhibition in Kyoto Japan





Epic Bonsai trees on display at the Taikan-Ten Bonsai Exhibition in Kyoto Japan
Source: Julian Tsai & Bonsai Empire


Bonsai tree in autumn on display at the Taikan-Ten Bonsai exhibition in Kyoto Japan
 Source: Julian Tsai & Bonsai Empire


Expensive Bonsai tree on display at Taikan-ten Bonsai exhibition in Kyoto
Source: Julian Tsai & Bonsai Empire







Interesting Bonsai articles can be found here:

Please click here for more information on --> Chinese Penjing Bonsai
Please click here for more information on --> The Origins of Bonsai
Please click here for more information on --> The Art of Saikei Bonsai
Please click here for more information on --> Japanese Tanuki Bonsai
Please click here for more information on --> How to Water a Bonsai
Please click here for more information on --> Bonsai Healing Methods


Thank you for visiting my blog and feel free to subscribe to this blog and leave your message on the comment section below. Remember, good feedbags or bad remarks, it doesn't matter!


Interesting Books on Bonsai can be found here:

The Complete Book of Bonsai --> I've been into bonsai for 25 years and this is the basic Bible for beginner and intermediate bonsai enthusiasts. It has an excellent section on techniques, including pruning, wiring and whatnot, and it has a large species-specific tree guide. If you're into bonsai and want only one book, this is it.

Indoor Bonsai The Great Selection --> Creating beautiful, healthy bonsai is a wonderful skill that anyone can learn, with a little time, patience, and this all-inclusive manual. With color photos and drawings to illustrate the points, it introduces all the cultivation techniques; offers expert advice on location, soil types, watering, and pest control; and provides intricate instruction on training the bonsai--including pruning, wiring and stretching it.

The Secret Techniques of Bonsai --> In The Secret Techniques of Bonsai, the author of the groundbreaking Bonsai With American Trees teams up with his son to offer not only the basics for creating perfect bonsai, but also secret techniques they’ve developed over years of careful work and observation.

Bonsai Survival Manual --> Problem solving when your Bonsai get sick. Expand your gardening repertoire as you create a captivating and exquisite miniature world. In this introductory guide, Colin Lewis covers everything you need to know to design, grow, and successfully maintain attractive bonsai.

Bonsai and the art of Penjing --> Bonsai & Penjing, Ambassadors of Beauty and Peace describes how Chinese penjing and North American bonsai were later added to the Museum, making its collection the most comprehensive in the world. Stories of individual trees and forest plantings are featured, as are the roles played by the skilled and talented creators of these living art forms people such as John Naka, Saburo Kato, Yuji Yoshimura, Harry Hirao, and Dr. Yee-Sun Wu.

Bonsai with Japanese Maples --> With their delicate foliage, seasonal color changes, and intricate pattern of branching, Japanese maples are among the most popular and suitable plants for bonsai design. In this long-awaited book, internationally renowned expert Peter Adams discusses both the specific horticultural needs of Japanese maples as bonsai subjects and illustrates proven techniques for creating and maintaining beautiful specimens.

The Modern Bonsai Practice --> The most current, useful information on growing Bonsai. Fresh, practical, definitive, comprehensive reference guide to the finest art of horticulture: growing miniature trees. Common sense bonsai answers separating myth from fact with depth and detail. Appropriate for both bonsai hobbyists and experienced practitioners.



Lighting for Indoor Bonsai and House Plants



Indoor Bonsai on display during a cold winter day exposed to sunlight


Tree's and plants have something in common, the location of your indoor and outdoor is crucial for it's surviving and health in general. Both love bright spots but having said that it's just scratching on the tip of the iceberg. We can ask ourselves, why do certain trees reach centuries of lifespan and look healthy and thriving whereas others don't ? Although the success of growing a Bonsai is not all about location, it's certainly and important aspect. An additional factor plays the species of your Bonsai, especially if it originate from sub tropical climate or otherwise. A tree in India might thrive better than equally in Europe or America vice versa. 

Different strokes for different folks, this rule of thumb applies not only to humans but also plants and trees in general. Deciding on what is the best location to place your Bonsai tree can be hard, as several factors (local climate, time of year, tree species, etc.) should be taken into consideration. Best is to know what species of tree you have and to look for specific information about it.




Most outdoor trees are best placed on a bright spot, about half the day in direct sunlight and protected from the wind. Indoor trees are best placed on a bright position as well; usually right in front of a window facing the South. Place indoor trees somewhere with a constant temperature. (See picture above) A typical indoor Bonsai can be a Ficus, Carmona or Chinese Elm whereas a typical outdoor Bonsai is a Juniper, Pine or Maple. 





Suitable amounts of light is critical for the survival and health of a plant. Low levels of light make a plant weak and susceptible to all kinds of pests and disease. Giving your plant the right 'strength' and 'colour' of light could make the difference between a vibrant or struggling bonsai... The first thing we have to do is identify the quantity of light that you’re looking at in the area that you’re going to put your bonsai. You use a little light meter for that. The light meter generally has a lux which tells you the density or intensity of light. On a good bright day, you could have around 100,000 lux outside in the bright parts of the world. In the tropical parts, maybe 6000K and on a cloudy day, it can go down to 4000 lux. On dark days, it can get even less. Indoors, the light levels vary quite significantly. The human eye can read at 198 lux, but even the plants that live in the undergrowth in the Amazon forest require at least 400 lux to survive. 

Ficus’ and other indoor plants can generally manage at that kind of light level. Bonsais, on the other hand, generally need a lot more light. 3500 – 4000 lux is a good reading to have. You need to then choose appropriate lighting for the area that you’re going to have. Sometimes you can have light that creates heat. HID – High Intensity Discharge lighting. Then there is metal halide lighting (MH) and there’s also HPS or High Pressure lighting. They use a lot of electricity for one but they also generate a lot of heat, and the other thing about this kind of light is that it’s a general spectrum, so it goes across the entire spectrum of light.


Big Sale


Most of the light, or 20% of the light is used by the plant. Using fluorescent light, which is the other type of light is more accurate and fluorescent lights are colour corrected. You can get very precise lighting for the plant depending on what your plant is doing, whether you want it to grow leaves and be used between 500K and 6000K. It is a blue light and then you have for flowering, you would use 2000 to 2700K which is on the red spectrum. There is a new mention in the plant light area, made from LEDS - light emitting diodes. They generally come in panels or in strips. They can be used right over the plant and sometimes, if it’s a long strip, can even put it within the plant to light up the area. It’s not advisable to run the light 24 hours a day because trees need to rest. Trees need to be dormant in the night. When you can feel the heat and light outside, that’s the best time to have your additional lighting or support lighting for the trees.




The Four Basic Things to Keep in Mind


  • How to position your Bonsai
  • Watering your Bonsai
  • Pruning and Shaping your Bonsai
  • Re-potting your Bonsai


Over watering or under-watering your Bonsai is the no. 1 Killer

Micro Automatic Drip Irrigation Kit Self Watering SystemThese factors play a crucial role in keeping your Bonsai healthy and stimulate growth. The positioning is crucial, as your bonsai should be kept away from direct heat or draft. The lighting is ideally in an area with plenty of sunlight. In addition, Bonsai's need humidity in order to keep their soil moist. Please always remember that the path to Bonsai longevity depends on your PATIENCE and dedication.

The number one cause of most bonsai tree deaths is under-watering. Because the soil layer is so shallow, it is prone to drying out very quickly. Bonsai trees should be watered right when the top layer of soil appears dry. Depending on the type and size of your tree, as well as the type of soil you use, the frequency of watering can differ and can even be once a day. Therefore, it’s best to water each of your bonsai plants individually, instead of sticking to a routine.

When watering your bonsai tree, the main goal is to fully saturate the root system with water. To ensure proper saturation, keep watering until water escapes through the draining holes. To allow for proper draining, many bonsai trees come with a tray to collect excess water.

Over watering can also be detrimental for your bonsai tree. Symptoms of an over watered bonsai include: yellowing of leaves and the shriveling of smaller branches. If a bonsai is over watered, its roots are drowning in water and are deprived of oxygen which prevents further growth to support the tree. Over watering can also result from poor-draining soil. Although sporadic watering may seem an easy task, well it is not. An automated water drop irrigation system helps to water your bonsai sporadically. 

To ensure that you are watering your bonsai properly, you’ll need to assess your bonsai tree daily. The rule of thumb is to water as soon as the soil appears dry.





Pruning is essential for keeping bonsai trees small and for maintaining their compact shape

There are two main types of pruning: maintenance pruning and structural pruning.

Maintenance pruning strengthens the tree by encouraging new growth. By cutting away young shoots and leaves it exposes the leaves underneath to air and sunlight which further strengthens the tree and benefits its overall health.

Areas that require maintenance pruning include the branches, buds, and leaves. Pruning away branches encourages the growth of smaller branches and allows you to control the shape of your tree. Pruning buds away from branches produces a more compact leaf growth which encourages the growth of smaller leaves.

Typically, you should prune your bonsai tree when you see new growth that’s starting to morph the shape of your tree in an undesirable manner. For flowering bonsai's, pruning should take place during the spring to encourage more flowers to grow the following year.

Structural pruning is a more advanced technique that should only be done when the tree is dormant. It involves the removal of the tree’s primary structural branches and requires the skills of a professional to ensure that the tree can recover.

Another way to properly shape your bonsai tree is to wire its branches. You can control the shape and growth pattern of certain branches by wrapping a thin wire around them. Wiring is best done during winter when the leaves of the bonsai tree have fallen off. Be sure to keep an eye on the branch’s growth and remove the wire when necessary. If the branch grows too fast, it can grow into the wire and cause scarring.


TO THE STORE
The secret techniques of Bonsai -  A guide to starting, raising and shaping bonsai by Masakuni Kawasumi II



Interesting Bonsai articles can be found here:

Please click here for more information on --> Chinese Penjing Bonsai
Please click here for more information on --> The Origins of Bonsai
Please click here for more information on --> The Art of Saikei Bonsai
Please click here for more information on --> Japanese Tanuki Bonsai
Please click here for more information on --> How to Water a Bonsai
Please click here for more information on --> Bonsai Healing Methods


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The Art of Ikebana 生け花



The art of Ikebana has been forgotten in recent years. Ikebana is simply magic, the art itself is a distinctive attraction that many people around the world admire. The good news is that Ikebana is making a come back for future generations. In ikebana, the Japanese art of flower arranging, blossoms, branches, leaves, and stems find new life as materials for art making.

In contrast to the western habits of casually placing flowers in a vase, ikebana aims to bring out the inner qualities of flowers and other live materials and express emotion. Ikebana can be practiced by both amateurs and professionals, both of whom are able to achieve elegant results. However, like many other art forms, mastering the basics is fundamental to any practice, and only then can a person begin to experiment.

Guided by precision, a core value of Japanese culture, beginners are taught basic technical skills like how to properly cut branches and flowers, how to measure angles in space for the correct placement of branches and stems, and how to preserve live materials along with the etiquette of maintaining a clean work station.

Beginners are also taught how to sensitize their eyes to the materials, to be able to bring out their inner qualities, and understand how this changes with each arrangement. Beginner arrangements done in the Nageire and Moribana styles often make use of two tall branches and a small bundle of flowers. These pieces follow the three-stem system of shin, soe, and hikae elements that have traditionally represented heaven, man, and Earth, respectively. Now, on a practical level, they refer to the main stems that are employed. All other stems are called jushi, meaning supporting or subordinate stem.



How does Ikebana look like ?

Ikebana arrangements are not unlike sculpture. Considerations of color, line, form, and function guide the construction of a work. The resulting forms are varied and unexpected, and can range widely in terms of size and composition, from a piece made from a single flower to one that incorporates several different flowers, branches, and other natural objects.

In Japanese culture, most native flowers, plants, and trees are embedded with symbolic meaning and are associated with certain seasons, so in traditional ikebana, both symbolism and seasonality have always been prioritized in developing arrangements. Some of the most common elements used are bamboo grass year round; pine and Japanese plum branches around the new year; peach branches for Girls Days in March; narcissus and Japanese iris in the spring; cow lily in summer; and chrysanthemum in autumn. Modern ikebana practices call for the same sensitivity to seasons, as well as to the environment in which an arrangement is being made.

Sometimes, practitioners of ikebana, or ikebanaists, trim flowers and branches into unrecognizable shapes, or they may even paint the leaves of an element. Plant limbs may be arranged to sprout into space in various directions, but in the end, the whole work must be balanced and contained. At times, arrangements are mounted in a vase, though this is not always the case.

In ikebana, it is not enough to have beautiful materials if the materials are not artfully employed to create something even more beautiful. Given a skilled maker, one carefully placed flower can be just as powerful as an elaborate arrangement.


The Styles

Patterns and styles evolved, and by the late 15th century arrangements were common enough to be appreciated by ordinary people and not only by the imperial family and its retainers.

Ikebana in the beginning was very simple, constructed from only a very few stems of flowers and evergreen branches. This first form of ikebana is called kuge (供華).


Styles of ikebana changed in the late 15th century and transformed into an art form with fixed instructions. Books were written about it, "Sedensho" being the oldest one, covering the years 1443 to 1536. Ikebana became a major part of traditional festivals, and exhibitions were occasionally held.

The first styles were characterized by a tall, upright central stem accompanied by two shorter stems. During the Momoyama period, 1560–1600, splendid castles were constructed. Noblemen and royal retainers made large decorative rikka floral arrangements that were considered appropriate decoration for castles.

The Rikka (standing flowers) style was developed as a Buddhist expression of the beauty of landscapes in nature. Key to this style are nine branches that represent elements of nature. One of rikka arrangement styles is called suna-no-mono (砂の物; sand arrangement).

When the tea ceremony emerged, another style was introduced for tea ceremony rooms called chabana. This style is the opposite of the Momoyama style and emphasizes rustic simplicity. Chabana is not considered a style of ikebana but is separate. The simplicity of chabana in turn helped create the nageirebana or "thrown-in" style.

Nageirebana ("thrown-in flowers") is a non-structured design which led to the development of the seika or shoka style. It is characterized by a tight bundle of stems that form a triangular three-branched asymmetrical arrangement that was considered classic. It is also known by the short form nageire.

The Shōka ("pure flowers") style consists of only three main parts, known in some schools as ten (heaven), chi (earth), and jin (human). It is a simple style that is designed to show the beauty and uniqueness of the plant itself. Formalization of the nageire style for use in the Japanese alcove resulted in the formal shoka style.

In Moribana ("piled-up flowers"), flowers are arranged in a shallow vase or suiban, compote vessel, or basket, and secured on a kenzan or pointed needle holders, also known as metal frogs.

Jiyūka ("free flowers") is a free creative design. It is not confined to flowers; every material can be used. In the 20th century, with the advent of modernism, the three schools of ikebana partially gave way to what is commonly known in Japan as "Free Style". 
(Source of information: Wikipedia.org)



The Humble Beginnings of Ikebana 

The roots of ikebana in Japan are believed to trace back to either the ceremonial practices of the native Shinto religion, or to a tradition of making floral offerings in Buddhism, which was imported from China in the 6th century.

The first known written text on ikebana, called Sendensho, was penned in the 15th century. In it, readers find a thorough set of instructions on how to create arrangements that are appropriate to certain seasons and occasions; its directives make clear that the practice of ikebana embodies the evolved appreciation and sensitivity to nature that Japanese culture is known for more broadly.

Around the same time, ikebana started to become a secular activity. The design of the Japanese home during this period reflects this transition: new homes were almost always built with a special recess called the tokonoma, which would contain a scroll, a precious art object, and a flower arrangement.

Amidst the muted colors and flat planes of the traditional Japanese home, the tokonoma stood out as the singular place for color and decoration, and deep consideration was given to the objects placed there. In keeping with the Japanese culture’s reverence for impermanence, tokonoma displays were rotated regularly, with the changing seasons and during festive occasions. Arranging flowers in this context paved the way for ikebana and its recognition as a distinct art form.




The Traditional Schools 

Ikebana Pin
Ikebana Flower Arrangement Pins
In the 15th century, with the sudden ubiquity of the tokonoma and teachings of the Sendensho, ikebana practices began to flourish. First came the rise of the Ikenobo School, whose name refers to a long line of priests in Kyoto who followed the Buddhist tradition of presenting floral offerings in the temple. During this time, Ikenobo Senkei gained fame for his skillful floral compositions; today, he is considered the first master of ikebana.

The secular style that Senkei practiced became known as Rikka, which means “standing flowers.” This type of ikebana is made with seven core elements (or sometimes nine), which are a mix of tree branches and two or three flowers—pine, chrysanthemum, irises, and boxwood are commonly used. These elements are combined, traditionally in an ornate Chinese vase, to create bursting, triangular shapes, with tall elements at the center and shorter ones shooting outwards. To be able to make the main elements stand upright without support requires a high level of technical skill. Rikka compositions are considered the most grand, but also the most rigid (even by today’s standards). They were originally intended for temples and later found in royal palaces and the stately homes of the rich.

At the same time, a more modest approach to flower arrangement was also gaining popularity as an extension of Zen Buddhism and the Wabi-Sabi and Tea Ceremony aesthetics that grew from its core tenets. Japan’s most famous tea master, Sen no Rikyū, introduced an appreciation for imperfect, modest aesthetics in his tea ceremonies, which included the use of flowers. Rather than constructing over-the-top Rikka-style arrangements, Rikyū preferred minimalist, single-stem arrangements, like one morning glory placed in a simple vase made by a local artisan. These ceremonies led to the formation of the second major style ikebana, which came to be known as Nageire, meaning “thrown in.”

In its early form, Nageire was free of the rules and formality that governed the Rikka style. As the antithesis to Rikka, flowers in Nageire arrangements were not designed to stand upright on their own and were instead placed in tall vases that supported the stems of the flowers.

Rikka and Nageire represent two opposing viewpoints. Rikka, though technically a secular style, concerns itself with the the cosmos, harking back to its Buddhist origins. In contrast, Nageire’s more organic approach focuses more directly on connections with nature.



The Transition to Modern Schools

Due to over 200 years of political isolation in Japan, there were no further innovations in ikebana until 1868, when the country reopened to foreign exchange. People were quick to embrace Western customs, and in the world of ikebana, this catalyzed a series of radical changes.

In 1912, the first modern school of ikebana, the Ohara School, was established. Its founder, Unshin Ohara, helped the art form evolve by introducing the Moribana style, and through it, implementing two major changes: the incorporation of Western flowers, and the use of a shallow, circular container to make flowers stand upright, with the help of the kenzan.

The flexibility and variation that the Moribana style allows for has made it a favorite and a staple in almost every ikebana school today. At the core of Moribana is a three-stem system, whereby three flowers are almost always fixed to create a triangle. Compositions that do not follow this triangle system are known as freestyle. Freestyle is also used to describe more creative and original approaches to ikebana, where the maker uses their knowledge of form, color, and line from previous practice to develop new arrangements that don’t necessarily adhere to traditions.

Changes continued with the creation of the Sogetsu School in 1927. Its founder, Sofu Teshigahara (whose father was also an ikebana master), is credited with elevating ikebana from a technical practice to an art at the level of sculpture, which is how it is has been viewed ever since.

Teshigahara’s approach called for greater freedom and the use of other live materials. For him, the forgotten parts of nature—like dirt, rocks, and moss—were just as ripe with expressive potential as flowers. He heartily believed that excellent ikebana is not divorced from the life and times of its creator, and that a flower is an irreplaceable, expressive tool that reveals the soul. With these innovations, the Rikka style began to fade. At present, Ikenobo, Ohara, and Sogetsu are the most popular styles, with around 400 of these schools operating today.

Ikebana Today

In the mid-20th century, the internationalization of ikebana was spurred by the efforts of Ellen Gordon Allen, an American who studied ikebana while living in Japan. She saw ikebana as a means of uniting people from around the world. Beginning in 1956, Allen worked with the major ikebana schools to found a nonprofit organization called Ikebana International, which would propel a diplomatic mission: “friends through flowers.”

In the decades since, chapters for all the major schools have sprouted up on a global scale. In recent years, the practice has inspired contemporary artists like Camille Henrot and a wide swath of floral artists, who use the tenets of ikebana to develop new, original creations.

Anyone who practices ikebana today knows well that building relationships is at the core of the practice—relationships between materials, between students, and between teachers and their pupils.
In Japan today, the word kado, meaning “way of flowers,” is the preferred term for ikebana, as it’s believed to more accurately capture the spirit of the art as a lifelong path of learning. 

The impermanence built into this art, beginning with its dependence on nature’s seasons, lends itself to never-ending exploration and experimentation for ikebanaists. Teshigahara was firm in his conviction that a successful lifelong ikebana practice requires curiosity, not complacency. “We must strive to develop into artists with breadth and depth instead of remaining comfortable in our artistic niche,” he once said. “Our creations should vary. If we do not venture out we will never become outstanding artists.”


Interesting books on Ikebana

Japanese Ikebana for every Season - Authors Rie Imai and Yuji Ueno explain how to select flowers and containers from things that are already around—and then turn them into something special.

The latest book Exploring Ikebana - This book is a comprehensive introduction into the art and wants to unveil some of the secrecy and philosophical ideas projected into this ancient Japanese style of flower design. 

Poetical Ikebana and art of Haiku - The combination of Ikebana and Haiku is a more than successful one. The similarities between the arts go far beyond their Japanese origins. The seductive simplicity of Haiku, its subtleties and sparse use of words, its silences and depth of meaning, its rhythms and seasons.

Keiko's Ikebana Contemporary Approach - Keiko's unique approach to ikebana, the Japanese art of flower arranging, combines traditional techniques with modern tastes. Her influences—which range from sculpture to today's Western floral design—come together to create one-of-a-kind arrangements that are authentic and eye-catching, simple and graceful, and possible for anyone to achieve.

Sangetsu School of Ikebana - The way of Sangetsu is to express the inherent beauty of nature in a flower arrangement, allowing our own inner consciousness of beauty to unfold in the process. We invite you to participate in this healing art form that is guided by love of nature and humanity.