Why are there no mixed species forests or group plantings? One factor could be that different species might compete for space between each other. Another could be the eventual problem with re-potting that you would be disturbing the roots of one tree where the timing is perfect whereas for another species it would be too soon? In either case, the spark was set off by Bonsai Mirai’s Beech forest on Tom Benda’s pot and I knew that I needed to try this year.
When you think about it, forest plantings required a substantial amount of work. Size of pot, finding the pot, can someone make it for me or do I have to get creative and drill an under tray? Where do I find such an under tray?
Rocks, where do I get rocks or stones that reflect the local geography? How do I secure them to the pot? Do I even have the tools to make this happen?
Trees, what size should the trees be since I don’t really know what the layout of the composition will be? How many should I buy? What direction should the front of the leader and secondary tree be? Where are they going to sit in the composition so I can cut some excess off allowing me to fit them in my car and allowing them to compartmentalize in the cambiem before I actually do the root work in the spring.
Can I do this alone? Do I have the drills and other tools to make this happen, what if the rootballs suck? How will I even transport this thing after it’s done if I ever move or eventually want to display it?
These are only some of the questions that were lurking around my head and 4 hours into the actual day of work, I started to question whether or not I was in over my head.
After visiting all of the nurseries here, I chose 3 stones that I thought could mesh well together. Lava rocks that seem to be mixed with something else as they are much harder than a porous, typical lava rock.
Finding a large under tray, I thought would suit the composition and play well on the stone, bark and foliage colors throughout the seasons. I also placed the rocks around to get an idea of what the entire piece could evolve into and also to mark where holes needed to be drilled along with the supports for each stone.
Then came the work on a beautiful Saturday morning. My good friend Jiri offered that I export everything I need from the balcony and bring it to his newly purchased property where I could make a mess without caring too much. I also had to purchase a diamond based holesaw to create the holes from which water could escape and oxygen exchange could take place.
Following slow and careful drilling, 3 hours later the “pot” was ready.
From this point on, there is a period of 3 separate days as I was running out of time and had other errands to run, I unfortunately was desperate to finish that I didn’t have much time to properly document all of the work and planning.
Monday afternoon and after working on my largest bonsai creation ever, with a final application of the sphagnum moss I had left (I should have been prepared with much more). I had to consider how the hell was I going to get this monster to the balcony as my car was much too small. Thankfully, another friend of mine with a handy business van helped me on Tuesday evening and the Moravian Forest was brought home after over 20 hours of work and 40+ hours of planning, searching and finding all the material.
A few weeks later, most of the trees seem to be doing fine except for a couple of the Carpinus and the main Beech tree. Beech usually open about a month after the Hornbeams so I do hope it pulls through after such a surgery.
Have a great weekend and stay fresh.