Enjoying the weekend off!

This weekend will be spent sipping wine and relaxing!  My wife and I are headed to my sister and brother - in - law's house in San Jose.  We will be visiting a few wineries and going with my sister to Rosenblum cellars to pick up her wine shipment.  If you haven't tried Rosenblum wines, it is a must if you are a wine lover.  I have been looking forward to this weekend.  The bonsai nursery has been quite busy.  People have been coming by to pick up their field grown trees that they tagged last year.  I also had a few people last Saturday at my bonsai workshop.  Last week was also filled with trips to schools.  I did a career day event for a junior high in Santa Maria and a bonsai workshop after school at Paulding middle school in Arroyo Grande.  I have been busy transplanting trees.  Mostly customer trees.  I have promised myself that I would work on transplanting my own trees.  I have transplanted a few of our specimen trees and have worked on transplanting trees into bonsai pots to put on our sales benches.  I am almost caught up on weeding around the trees.  We have been waiting for the last few rains so the ground will be a little damp.  Then we can take our tractor and weed the aisles. More accurately, Dad will be on the tractor weeding the aisles.  He has been a farmer most of his life and loves driving the tractor.  Over the last 30 years, I  have driven it maybe twice.  The first time was for him to show me how it works.  The last time I drove the tractor was to till an area of teh nursery to plant more trees.  This week there will be no bonsai workshop, but they will continue next Saturday.  Hope to see you then!

P.S.  If you visit the nursery over the weekend, Dad will not know the pricing on most of the trees.  He also likes visiting with friends so he may or may not be at the nursery.

Transplanting madness!

Every day brings a different challenge.  The latest challenge is to see how many trees that I can transplant in a day.  I have many from our personal collection that needs to be transplanted.  I also have numerous customer trees that also need to be transplanted.  Then in my spare time, I need to transplant the bonsai's that we have shaped in nursery containers into a bonsai pot so I will have bonsai's to sell.  After all this is a bonsai nursery.  As I was watering today, I noticed that my Father's quince is starting to bloom.  The varietal that he has is a toyonishiki.  The beauty of this quince is that it has many different colored flowers all on the same plant.  The tree has white, pink, red and variegated flowers all on the same plant.  I have included three pictures from differing sides.  If you click on the photo's you get a close up view. 

Making cuttings – Old School!

Today was a day where I decided to make a lot of cuttings.  I know what you are thinking, what is a guy with 10,000 trees doing, making more cuttings?  It gives me great satisfaction when a cutting roots.  I don't know what it is, but it is exciting when a cutting roots and starts to grow.  I normally start my cuttings by finding a nice tree with the characteristics that I want to replicate.  I take small cuttings off of the branches and place them into a bucket of water.  When I have enough, I dust the bottoms of the cuttings with rooting hormone.  I use a make up brush to dust the cuttings.  The make up brush holds so much of the rooting hormone, but releases the perfect amount when you tap it.  Then I use a tray of perlite.  I have a 12 inch square tray that is about 1 1/2 inches deep.  I poke holes space about 1/4 inches apart.  I can normally put about 50 cuttings in one tray.  I was going to put them into a tray, but I changed my mind.  I was thinking back to when I first started helping my Father at the nursery.  His method was to take small cuttings and cutting the base at an angle.  He would put them into a bucket with water and then he would dip his cuttings into rooting hormone.  His last step was to make a deep furrow in the dirt near the container trees.  He would poke holes space about 1/2 and inch apart with a chopstick and carefully drop the cuttings into the hold.  He would then pinch the dirt at the base of the cutting so that it would be secure.  After he was done, he would water them in.  The cuttings would be watered when the cans were watered.  Now that I think back to his method, he did have a pretty good success rate.  So today, I decided to go old school.  I did the exact thing that my Father did over 15 years ago.  I took cuttings of bald cypress, Japanese maples, atlas cedars, cedrus brevefolia, procumbens junipers, prostrata junipers, dwarf apricots and contorted peach.  Here are a few pictures of the results.

I will let you know in a few months if the old school method works better then the new method.