Friday, March 1, 2024

Listener Bonsai Brainstorm - More metal pots, spring prep, and more! Ep27

I. Episode Summary & Links

            In today's episode, Kevin, Kelly, and Ryan met up to share recent listener questions and submitted tree pictures. There was vigorous discussion online about Benjamin Keating's work potting bonsai into metal sculptures which we talked with Ben about in the last episode. Many listeners wondered about the viability of these trees long-term, so we posed the question to Ben and relayed his response to go deeper into that subject. Many listeners also submitted questions surrounding spring topics such as how to identify good bonsai styles or techniques when working with a new species and how to dig wild bonsai aka "yamadori". Lastly, Kevin and Ryan shared some pots and trees to discuss style options and considerations when for matching trees to pots as the repotting season gets underway around the northern hemisphere.

The video version is available here (follow along to see the images as we discuss):

The podcast version is available here.

Sponsor Info: 

Tori Solis of Blue Nose Trading is a multi-talented artist specializing in bonsai pottery, other ceramics, and jewelry. Her beautiful work, tips for techniques, and her new Bonsai Pot-cast series can be found at the links below.


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See the relevant images and links from this episode below.

II. Show Notes / Pictures

A. Follow-up Listener Qs for Ben Keating. Are There Health Concerns for Plants in Metal Pots?

            See the images and video tour of Ben's garden in the Episode 26 show notes. Ben shared with us as we discussed in this episode that he and several other artists around the country have tested metal containers for bonsai with no ill effects over his 5 years of experience and over the experience of other artists as well.

B. Exploring Jacaranda (and other unusual species) for Bonsai

  • Some resources on Jacaranda as a bonsai are available on Bonsai Empire's website
One successful Jacaranda bonsai is pictured below.

The different leaf types are also pictured below. Note the difference between a simple, compound, and pinnately compound leaf. The bud that new branches come from is always only at the base of the petiole of the entire leaf.

C. Root-Over Brick

            What would you do if these trees were yours to enhance the combination of tree and brick as the tree matures?

Kevin's idea was inspired by natural trees over a stone temple in Southeast Asia.

D.  Ryan's Styling and Pot-Pairing Conundrum. Which Tree to Which Pot? Then How to Evolve their Styles?

D1. Tree 1 - Truckstop Elm

Freshly collected and potted.
Freshly collected and potted.
After several prunings in the 2nd-year post-dig, ramification is improving.
After several prunings in the 2nd-year post-dig, ramification is improving.

D2. Tree 2 - Redbud

At the time of collection.
Cleaned up dieback and dead twigs in the fall of the same year it was dug. No foliage cut yet, just letting it recover.

Probable front.
Edible redbud flowers look like this and emerge before the leaves.

D3. Potential Pot 1 - Water Dragon

            The pot featured in our Episode 25 thumbnail was made by Tori Solis. She has a YouTube video describing the process of making the pot and her tricks for making durable clay sculptures on her bonsai pots.

The pot in the below thumbnail is one which Ryan was debating which of the two above trees to attempt with it. Both have some merit due to their species characteristics and individual styles as we discussed.

D4. Potential Pot 2 - Pinky, Purpley, & Peachy
            The second potential pot (for the redbud in particular) is another Tori Solis pot. This one she made and shipped to Ryan as part of a batch to put for sale at his nursery (more info here if you are local to Columbus, OH area). But Ryan is now tempted to use it as the oranges and purples could match nicely with the flowers on his redbud when the tree is displayed in spring! Decisions decisions...

D5. Color wheel for identifying contrasts and matches in picking bonsai pots.

E.  Kevin's Rock Cliff and Ocean-Inspired Juniper Plan

III. Episode Credits

Podcast Info:

The Bonsai Time Podcast is hosted, edited, & produced by Kevin Faris, Ryan Huston, & Kelly Lui. Learn more about the podcast at the links below. We expect to post new interviews and reflections monthly!

Submit questions or pictures for future Bonsai Brainstorm episodes to our email, social media DMs, or at the link below.

Your hosts can be found below:

Music by MIDICANCER. Find more music by them at the links below.

More Bonsai Projects by Ryan:

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