Thursday, 30 May 2013

My little experience with planting bonsai

Miniature  juniperus chinensis
Inspired by bonsai filled Chinese gardens in China, especially in the region of Jiangnan (Consists of the province of Jiangsu and Zhejiang which includes Shanghai); I started my little experiment with planting bonsai at home. I call it an experiment because I do not have a so call “land” for my plants but a “corner” that the management office encourages residents to adorn it with plants.

 I started by purchasing The Complete Practical Encyclopedia of Bonsai by Ken Norman and “stole” some plants from daddy’s vast garden. Dad is a natural botanist with deep knowledge of plants and we are blessed with a beautiful garden at home designed by him and adorned with huge varieties of plants. No cost is spared when it comes to beautifying his garden which he loves to say he dedicates it to my mother.
Initially the plants don’t do well because of my lack of knowledge that they need a lot of sunshine. I’ve mistakenly shaded them with my pot of bamboo. Some of them died and I took more from dad’s garden. I also bought some from the nursery. Bonsai costs a bomb! Occasionally when dad visits, he will help me prune my plants and I asked him to teach me how to do so. Then there are some plants that need “rescue” from dying so I will send them back to hometown for dad.

From dad and from Ken Norman’s book, I come to know about the variety of plants, the suitable soil, the right tools and equipment, shapes and styles and finally, the right pots for the right variety. My favorites are ulmus parvifolia (Chinese elm) and juniperus chinensis (Chinese Juniper).  I love the maples but they hardly survive in Malaysia.
Lonicera nitida (Hedging Honeysuckle)

I also made a deal with the cleaner of the condo to water the plants for me when I am away on weeks on end. After trails and errors, I am now proud to say that my little collection of bonsais is growing healthily. I’m now trying to learn how to propagate the bonsai trees which looks easy on print but is not an easy task at all.
 A ulmus parvifolia ( Chinese elm) "stolen" from dad's garden.

P/S: My bonsai propagation is successful now with two little Lonicera nitida and a juniperus chinensis. 

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