Finally a little cooler.

Today was around the mid 80's.  Yesterday was 103 and the day before was 106. Now it is back to normal.  Today was the usual watering and weeding.  This afternoon I took some time to work on taking cuttings from various plants.  I took some cuttings this spring, but they were not doing very well.  The ones that I took last fall are doing great.  I took some atlas cedars, pink pomegranate, white pomegranate, dwarf cherries, and weeping pink peach.  I think I will work on taking some more cuttings tomorrow.

Summers finally here!

Today is the fourth day in a string of very warm days.  Today should be a record high.  As I write this, it is about 103 outside.  The previous days were just below 100 degrees.  If we get 1 day in a year that approaches 100, it is normal.  If we get 4 days straight of near 100 or over, it is quite unusual.  As I was pruning some trees in the field, I noticed a crabapple  that had fruit hanging from the tree.  It was also starting to push new flower buds!  Today is watering day.  My father starts watering at around 7:00 am.  I like my cup of coffee in the morning, so I didn't get started until 7:30 am.  When I went outside it was already in the mid 70's.  I have a couple of job prospects lined up.  A customer wants me to work on a black pine that my fathers friend had started.  My fathers friend was a fantastic bonsai artist.  He planted the trees many years ago and had passed away about 4 years ago.  That means that the trees were not pruned or touched for over 8 years.  They wanted me to look at the trees and asked me if they could be saved.  I looked at Google Maps and found a street view of the house.  The pines were very bushy and tall.  I went to look at the trees and noticed that they had very nice movement and many branches to work with.  The problem is that many of the nice branches on the interior had been removed.  I told them that we probably could make it look nice, but that it would be a long term project.  She really wanted to get these pines back in shape to finish off her landscape.  She has a nice Japanese style garden that my fathers friend had done.  She also said she won awards for her landscape.  I would like to take on the challenge.  Let's see what she wants to do.

Results of air-layers from last year/One of this years air-layers

Last years air-layers resulted in about an 85% take.  That's not bad considering that I did not use any rooting hormone.  This years earlier air-layers were done with bonsai soil in the cups.  The air-layers that did take rooted significantly better.  However, since the air-layers dry out so fast I lost quite a few.  So far I would say that I lost about 20 percent.  I have included the air-layers that I took in April.  As you can see from the photo's, the air-layer rooted extremely well in such a short time.  You can see the area where I cut the air-layer off. Hopefully you can see the base in one of the photo's.  The trunk is over 3/4 of and inch and the root flare is over 1 inch.  My new method I think will be quite a bit more successful.  I have taken quite a few and will let you know the results of how many were successful.  If you would like to see a close up of any of the pictures, click on the photo and it will enlarge automatically.  Please write a comment if you have any questions.  George

Watering and pruning!

Today was the usual watering day.  After watering and shipping a tree, I started to weed the field.  I weeded the area around the dwarf apricots.  Since we have has such a weird weather pattern, the leaves of the ume are almost completely gone.  I took the opportunity to take all the sucker growth from the base of the tree.  I also took away any dead branches and slightly thinned each tree. I also took some cuttings from the ume.  I have also been trying to save some time to prep the trees for the next club show in Union City.  I will be a vendor there.  Then it is off to Santa Clara in late October.  My youngest daughter lives in Palo Alto, so I will be going out to dinner with her on her birthday.  My wife will come up on the weekend as well.  It is her birthday on Halloween.  It should be a very nice weekend.

The Wind and the Sun…

The nursery was kind of slow this week.  I had a few customers, but only a handful of sales.  It reminded me of a story that I heard when I was a young kid.  One day the sun and the wind were arguing about who was the more powerful.  The sun boasted that it gives warmth and light and helps all things grow.  The wind boasted that he was the more powerful because he put wind in sails and could move heavy objects as well as lift birds in the sky.  Then the sun and the wind saw a man walking the earth with a coat on.  So the sun challenged the wind and said  `Let us see who is stronger by seeing who can take the coat off of the man walking the earth'  The wind agreed to the challenge and said he would go first.  So the wind began blowing a chilling wind.  The man stopped and buttoned his coat to the top.  That angered the wind and he began blowing a fierce wind.  The man stopped and pulled up his collar and tied his coat strap as tightly as he could.  The harder the wind blew, the tighter the man held on to his coat.  So the sun exclaimed, It is my turn.  So he gently began to warm the earth.  The man began to loosen his coat.  The sun began to gently increase the earth until it became quite hot.  The man stopped and took off his jacket.  The moral to the story is, It is not how hard you work, but how thoughtful you work.  Now this story reminds me of our current economy.  We are the man in the story and our money is our coat.  The wind is a bad economy and the sun is a good economy.  The worse the economy gets, the tighter we hold onto our money.  The tighter that we hold our money, the worse the economy gets.  As the economy gets better, we start to spend money.  As we spend money, the better the economy gets.  We need to let sun shine in.  We need to spend money on things we enjoy.  It does not mean to be frivolous with our money, but to use our money on things that makes us happy like our hobbies.  As we spend money, and feel better about the economy, the economy will get better.  It is time to take off our jackets in a thoughtful manner and spend money on bonsai.....

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