Busy at the farm with Jades and finishing up repotting for season

Hey everybody. It’s officially the hottest part of the summer here in Florida, but the silver lining is now it’s going to start to get cooler and cooler as we head off to Fall. Plus, the daily rains we’ve had for the last few months is also a reprieve from the heat. Not so much for the humidity. 90% nonstop humidity isn’t for everyone. Sweating standing still is an acquired taste. However, we don’t really have a winter here, which is the reason I live here in the south.  Six months of perfect weather, Can’t wait.

That said, this is the time to do all the tropical tree work, and we are in full swing. I started repotting once the nights were above 55 so the roots would recover.  That’s usually around April 1st here in central Florida, and I continue to repot and frankly beat up my tropicals till around Sept 15th.  The reason why we stop when it’s pretty hot is because the roots typically need 6 weeks of active growth to recover, and November 1st is the beginning of when we sometimes see nights below 55F.

Till then, it’s “beat the band” till we get it done. And this year we got it done. 500 new trees in containers. With another 100 to finish up the season.

Also, I have been finally styling up some trees again.  I got so hung up on the repotting, that I had missed out on the styling . I always forget how much I love this job, Until I get wire on some trees.

This time, I decided to get a hold of some old jades. These are sweet old trees. One was from a tree I had sold as a “mature” bonsai ten years ago, one was from a collection that the original owner got from Jim Smith, and one was from Jim Moody’s nursery that his grandson now maintains and improves.

Here are some of the before pictures.

I repotted this in May, with the intention of wiring it once it was established.  It is now pretty established, with new growth everywhere and roots coming out the bottom.

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And here is what it looked like after a couple hours of trimming and wiring.

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And this guy. This is the tree I sold ten years ago. The previous owner has very good at keeping trees healthy, but only used shears to keep growth in check. Time for some work.

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And here it is after I cut the straight sections out, the no taper areas, and the general flaws

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Still too many branches.  Ahh. Better.  Now the wiring begins.

20150813_161249  Final Product.   I like the pot, but I’m going to change it up a bit.  Here it is wired up.

20150813_180720  I like it .  I’ll tell you, for years I have heard that most people

1)”don’t see jades as bonsai”.  Why?  Succulent growth for one.  I don’t think that carries weight. For one,  some Ficus are darn near close to succulents, and we use them in the world in many if not all tropical areas because they grow there and are just plain tough to kill. Boababs, though rare, also make amazing bonsai. And are VERY succulent trees. Among many others, too many to list, quite frankly.

2) “you can’t wire a jade’.  For those folks I say, see above.  The other beautiful thing is, if it starts to dig in, take the wire off, the branch sets, and the wire marks pump up like a water balloon.

3)”It doesn’t have a woody trunk” Well, that is very true. It is a succulent trunk. However, it does get a rough bark that gets rougher with age. And some varieties have a very rough, corky bark. The issue with jades in general is, if its kept too wet, too cold, or too shady. Or any combination of the three, you can get rot.  Rot is the bane of any succulent. Especially if the trunk is the main focus. Having an entire trunk collapse due to a four day rain has crushed a few folk. To really put a damper on your day is for that to happen after ten years of work.

The trick is,

1)Don’t water after a re-pot till you see new growth.

2)Don’t work roots unless its hot.

3)Don’t put it in the shade. The growth will be long and lanky, and it’ll stay wetter longer. Not good for a succulent.

4)Don’t cut all the leaves off a branch. it might not back bud. I know many people will disagree and show the jades busting out all over after a defoliation from shears ,  or an elephant. Yes, the elephants do love them, and eat them to the stems. However, in a bonsai pot, it may abort bare branches to focus on new branches close to main trunk.  That may set you back a season.  Leaving one set of leaves per sub-branch will eliminate the problem.

5) Don’t  water once the temp gets below 60 F, unless the leaves start to wilt, and that may take weeks.  Root rot is the bane of jades, and water and stressed wet roots on a tropical succulent is a recipe for a seemingly healthy tree. Trust me, it happens. and if the tree is staying wet between watering,  slow down your schedule. It’ll root twice as fast.

Root the cuttings. If you are so inclined. Nothing says house warming like a sweet little house plant I.E. future bonsai to your friends and family. they root fine in just about anything.

These are just guidelines. not rules listed in stone. Jades is a tough plant and tolerates tons of abuse. If you have any other advise, shoot a message in the response section, We may post it for you if its a good one.

After I saw Jim Smiths Jades at his nursery, back in 98, then later that day at his home, I knew these types of trees could end up being something amazing in the bonsai community, since Jim had obviously already shown everyone the possibilities.  I didn’t post a picture out of respect for him,  but you can google it and see some of the most amazing HUGE Jades in the US, maybe the world. He has two at Heathcote gardens in Florida if you ever get a chance to visit. I strongly suggest you do.

I’m going to start blogging about various types of trees we have at the nursery, to coincide with new inventory we are working and shaping.  If you have a type you’d like info on that I have been growing ,   please put it in the comments section, or send me an Email through our “contact us” section on our website. I am also going to be offering these trees shown on this blog shortly, once wires have set some and they are back-budding profusely.

Thank you for your support,

Jason

http://www.schleysbonsai.com

New Video Coming Up

I am currently rendering a new video for our YouTube channel which features my face…kind of. Jason decided to teach me how to air layer and we both thought it would be cool to make a video out of me learning. I don’t really speak much at all in it (especially after edits) but I’m there…listening and learning.

Since filming the video I have done about nine million air layers (only a mild exaggeration) so I think I’m pretty much a pro.

This video should be up by the end of the day or early tomorrow, I will add it to this post once it’s live. Our next video in the pest control series should be filmed sometime soon so look out for that as well!

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Love/Hate Relationship with Vacations

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We recently went up north to Michigan to be a part of my little brother’s wedding, he is the baby of family so I had to make it. He’s always been a lot of fun, he had been dating his fiance for four years and it was great to get to be there for his wedding.

It was also an excuse to introduce my girlfriend to my parents and to the rest of my family. We had such a great time. I got to forget about plants for a full week. However, the plants did not forget that rain and a good amount of heat equals a crazy amount of growth.

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Bonsai Classes and The Growth of an Art Form

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I am going to be doing a class this weekend and I’m kind of excited about it. This is the first class in a while that we have really pushed, or at least since we’ve moved out to the Deland property.

I’ve been teaching classes all this time but I’ve never really managed to properly get the word out about them. I started teaching these classes in 2004 at the urging of my mentor and friend, Tom Zane. Our local club would have similar classes once or twice a year but the teachers there were beginning to get a bit tired of doing it and since I had a budding bonsai nursery in Florida they were excited to get some new blood teaching. Tom even gave me copies of his syllabus to learn from and about thirty books worth of slides, diagrams, and notes to help me get started.

My friend Mike Rogers also was helpful in that he had said no one was doing classes on a regular basis in the area. To say the least, I was a little intimidated considering I was primarily self-taught and had in fact only take a few one-on-one’s that Tom had been gracious enough to tell me about. But it was a lot different to actually be teaching and Tom and Mike were both extraordinarily helpful. Since the beginning, my programs have been tweaked over the years and today we have an 18 page syllabus. In the not too distant future we plan on adding PowerPoint presentations to it and making it a multi-part class to combine the beginner and intermediate class levels. So many students are left wanting more once they have completed our beginner class and I’d like to have a more structured environment for learning.

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These Are a Few of My Favorite Things…

I thought I’d take a little break from posting new items to the website and planning our next video to update you guys on what’s new. It’s been a while since we’ve posted a real blog entry on here that wasn’t a simple promotion for some event so this is me making up for that fact. Especially since this blog is kind of my baby and I’ve obviously been a terrible mother. My bad.

Anyway, in the last few months I have mostly been focusing on filming and editing the videos for our YouTube channel and have been super busy adding new content to the website. And since it’s been a bit since I showed you guys anything from there I thought it might be nice to share some of my favorites.MjYxRDU2NUE1NUM1QzgzOTNDNkY6YmE4MmM4ODkzN2UwOTU3MzA5ZDdlMzA1ZjAwYzI2MTY6Ojo6OjA=

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Beginner Bonsai Class – June 20th

We have our monthly beginner bonsai class coming up on the 20th of June. This class is an all day learning opportunity for anyone new to bonsai or those who are wanting a nice refresher on the basics. There are a limited number of seats available but there will be another chance to learn next month!

With your purchase of the class you will receive a tree, wire, beginner tools, and lunch. This class would be the perfect gift for Father’s Day. To reserve your spot, you can purchase here.

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And to keep updated on the future classes that we offer keep checking our Events page and sign up for our newsletter here.

Q&A Video

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Hey guys, we are planning on shooting a Q&A video for our YouTube channel in the next week or two. If you have a question relating to bonsai that you would like answered please feel free to ask away.

You can ask your question here in the comments or on our Facebook page either in the post about the video (which is here) or in a private message. Once we have a few good questions we will get the video up ASAP. If this goes well we might start doing this every few months.

Spring Festival Classes

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We are now officially a little under a month away from the Spring Festival and we have been working hard to get everything ready. We’ve started to hand out flyers to businesses around Deland and we have been collecting sponsors. The two classes that are going to be offered during the event have also been added to our website for purchase.

The first one is a cypress class which will be given on Saturday the 25th of April from ten until two. It’s only $150 for the class plus your tree, lunch, wire, and a shirt are all included in the price.

On Sunday we will be having a starter class for $45 and that includes the tree, starter shears, and a shirt.

There are a limited amount of spaces so don’t wait too long to reserve your spot!

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