Tag-Archive for ◊ shari ◊

• Tuesday, September 30th, 2014


Paul Pikel has a new video that explains how to style a Podocarpus bonsai.  His pal Cosmo loves to watch him work especially when he’s preparing a tree he hopes to display at the Epcot Flower and Garden Show. Podocarpus is a common shrub in Florida so maybe you’ll want to try your hand at styling one of these too.

Click on the YouTube link below to watch.


• Wednesday, January 09th, 2013

Faster is better when it comes to internet speed but TIME is flying by too and since we cannot capture it in a bottle yet, we should manage our use of time if we want to accomplish anything. And since resolutions can fade away quickly, instead I am setting goals in hopes of reaping more results in 2013. Here are 13 Bonsai Goals for 2013 that any Bonsai enthusiast can adapt to meet their needs. Do them by month, mix them up, modify them to suit your needs, create your own, add sub-tasks, or jump to # 13.  Just have fun with it!

1. Prepare (plan/organize): mind, garden area, display stands/benches, soil, pots, tools etc.  Use the winter idle time to plan for the busy, beautiful springtime.

2.Try something new or different (step out of your box or comfort zone): Examples: really big tree, really small tree, penjing, suiseki, daiza, graft a branch, carve jin or shari, start from seed, air layer, create a forest, make your own bonsai pot, new style (windswept?), go collecting, take a class, create companion plants.

3. Photograph your trees/collection (or video): to record progress, before, after, styling changes, for insurance, in case of loss or theft, bugs or disaster, educational or personal reasons (i.e. bragging rights).

4. Journal the journey (record/document): in your own creative way, record the progress via journal, logs, calendar, blog, facebook, twitter, audio, drawings, whatever…  Use beloved, old-fashioned media or new and trendy social media but just don’t dodge it, journal it!

5. Focus on your best trees (exhibit): help them be all they can be. Take a new look at them. Ask yourself questions about them. Pretend someone else owns them; what advice would you give? Treat them as if you plan to display or exhibit them. Be ready.

6. Expand or reduce your trees/collection: What is your preference? Ready to try new species? Focus on higher quality? Have lots of space or not much? Count your trees and pre-bonsai; it may surprise you. Pay it forward or ask a friend for cuttings. Trade species with your friends or club members.

7. Increase Knowledge (strain your brain): read a good bonsai book, search the internet, learn horticulture, take a workshop or intensive training, join a club, forum or attend a bonsai conference, experiment, learn from others, learn Japanese bonsai terms or scientific plant names of all of your trees.

8. Visit bonsai (travel): visit a friend with a backyard collection, a local or national bonsai exhibit, garden or arboretum, find a forest near you for natural examples, travel to Japan or China (for real or on the world wide web), find resources wherever you are or wherever you are going.

9. Exhibit your prize tree(s) (see #5):  ask someone’s opinion, learn the art of display including companion plants, time the trimming, fertilizing and blooming to coincide with the display.

10. Focus on pots (composition): take a new look at your tree/pot combinations. Is it the right pot for the tree – quality/finish/color/shape/gender/size including depth? Is the tree located correctly within the pot? Would a slab or rock work better? What could or should be different? What do you like? Does it have enough negative space (like white space on a printed page)? What story does it tell?

11. Share your accomplishments (communicate) your goals, rewards and newfound knowledge with others. Hold yourself accountable. Find a mentor or be a mentor. Talk about bonsai.

12. Take a break (refresh/renew/rejuvenate): take a hike, find a quiet spot, relax, think about your bonsai, accomplishments of 2013 and goals for 2014! Yes, I said it — 2014 will be here before we know it. Time just will not stand still.

13. As always, ENJOY BONSAI every day, every year.


Think Bonsai, Think OrlandoBonsai.com

• Sunday, December 30th, 2012

by Sandy Racinski
(modeled after Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s ‘How Do I Love Thee? Let me count the ways…”

How do I love trees? Let me count the ways.
I love trees to the depth and breadth and height
Their trunks can reach, when climbing out of sight.
For the ends of Time and ideal Place.
I love trees to the level of everyday’s
Most quiet garden, by sun and moonlight.
I love trees freely, as men strive for Might;
I love trees purely, as they turn toward Sun.
I love trees with the passion put to use
In their old limbs, and with my childhood vigor.
I love trees with a love I seemed to lose
With their old leaves, —I love trees with the bark,
knots, jin, shari, of all my cuts! —and, if Master choose,
I shall but love trees better after Winter.

• Friday, February 04th, 2011

I wrote the following article for the Bonsai Societies of Florida Magazine, published in 2009 regarding the safe use of Lime Sulfur. However recently I posted a video as well, and I wanted to bring the two of them together on Orlando Bonsai.

A great way of creating drama in a Bonsai is through the creation of jins (stripped branches) and Shari (carved trunks). By exposing deadwood the Bonsai artist can bring on the appearance of advanced aging of a tree, and add more interest. In order to enhance the jins and shari a chemical/pesticide named Lime Sulfur (also Lime Sulphur) is applied. However this is no ordinary chemical compound.

In fact the MSDS (Material Safety Data Sheet) that accompanies this stuff is enough to make even the most seasoned Bonsai Artist run for the hills, or at least it should. In addition to its foul “rotten egg” smell, it is a corrosive skin irritant (inflammation and blistering), a corrosive eye irritant (can result in corneal damage or blindness) and with severe over-exposure or ingestion may even be fatal.

However when used properly the benefits are enormous. In addition to the great whitening effect that Lime Sulfur creates on exposed wood, it works as a preservative, a pesticide, a fungicide, and a strong sterilizer.

For Bonsai Lime Sulfur is to be applied outdoors with a soft brush directly to the exposed wood. I specify a soft brush because a stiff brush can cause the compound to flick off the ends which may spatter on skin or the eyes. To aid in reducing exposure to Lime Sulfur some precautions should be taken. Long sleeve shirts should be worn, along with eye protection (glasses or goggles), and rubber gloves.

Applying Lime Sulfur is pretty simple and is easy as painting the exposed wood. For best results apply on a hot sunny day when it is not forecasted to rain. Usually the first coat can be done in May – June and the second coat a couple months later in the July- August timeframe. Once applied place the tree in direct sunlight so the Lime Sulfur can soak in and dry. When correctly applied the color of the compound will turn to a light chalky yellowish color. This color will remain until rinsed away by watering or rain on subsequent days.

Some times harder woods (Buttonwoods, Junipers, etc.) will not absorb right away, and the Lime Sulfur will “bead” on the wood surface. In these cases it is better to spray the entire tree with water and then let it set for about 15 minutes before applying. The presoak will allow for better absorption of the Lime Sulfur. However the extra water will also cause the Lime Sulfur to “run” a bit easier, therefore apply slowly so that it does not drip down the tree on to the bark, cambium or roots. I generally place a cloth over the soil to absorb any drips or runs during application. Drips on exposed leaves will result in bad burns to the leaves. In order to avoid absorption of the Lime Sulfur into the plant I remove any leaves that come in contact with the chemical.

In the years that follow the whitened wood will sometimes dull, or begin to cover with algae or moss. At which time additional coats of Lime Sulfur may be applied. However many times a simple spray of a White Vinegar (applied full strength) will be enough to restore the deadwood back to its original white appearance.

Please keep in mind that Lime Sulfur is a great tool for Bonsai when used properly. However this chemical compound is dangerous and must be handled, stored and applied with the greatest of care. Each of the components in itself is harmful and once combined the danger increases. Take the time to read the labels on your specific brand, or search for it on the Internet

Good luck and happy Bonsai!