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Additional pictures of the bamboo bonsai

December 7, 2011

Two days ago I hinted that Greg Braun from Australia helped us in establishing a bamboo bonsai.

We have already received feed-back from the world. Ketsanee’s friends in Argentina want more pictures, and this morning we (I and the Finnish tropical gardening school students) finished the preparations. This is what you need to consider:

1. I grew the black bamboo Phyllostachys nigra for a year in the shade in the Dokmai Garden nursery to make sure it survives this climate and in the shade. This is only necessary if you try a new species. The Chiang Mai valley in northern Thailand has a monsoon climate while this black bamboo comes from a temperate northern Asian climate.

2. We planted it now in December to allow the roots six months to colonize the stone and the soil without interference of heavy rains.

3. We planted it now in the cool season to give the bamboo and the moss three months of establishment before it starts getting hot (March-April).

4. After yesterday’s initial fastening of the bamboo to the stone, we added ‘din dam’ or river sediment, a clayey soil to encrust the good soil to protect it from erosion.

5. Then we scraped off moss with sporangia (Bryophyta) from the nursery brick floor and we created a ‘moss-aic’ on the clay to allow a beautiful green and to protect erosion of the clay.

6. We pruned lower leafy branches to give the slender bamboo culms a more mature appearance.

It is likely many leaves will be lost initially as a response to the transfer from the cosy plastic bag in the shady nursery to a naked rock with some afternoon sun. We plan to mist it many times a day to allow establishment without too much leaf losses.

Step 1 – tie the bamboo to the stone and add compost mixed with sand.

Step 2 – cover the lose soil with clay.

Step 3 – cover the clay with ‘moss-aic’.

Step 4 – prune low twigs and spray some water.

Ilkka and Jussi Suominen in action at Dokmai Garden’s gardening school.

Text & Photo: Eric Danell

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