Me, selling can gardens in Montréal - Summer 2012
Potting Bay Laurel (Laurus nobilis) and Tea Tree (Melaleuca alternifolia):
Notes On the Importance of Soil Mix
The Bay Laurel—the plant from which ‘Bay Leaves’ used in cooking are harvested—is native to the Mediterranean. It likes dry, well-draining rocky soils. I potted mine in a citrus soil mix, mixed with a generous helping of sand to aid with drainage.
Tea Tree couldn’t be more different: it is native to streambeds and swamps in Australia, and appreciates a water-retentive soil, that is both lime-free, and low nitrogen. I potted mine in rich potting compost, with a handful of akadama clay pellets (which I have on hand for bonsai soils). The clay should ameliorate the lime and calcium content in the soil, and time will reduce the amount of nitrogen.
Houseplants don’t have the benefit of a wild nutrient cycle, so their inputs are 100% dependent on their owners. If you want your houseplants to thrive, research their optimal environment, and try your best to mimic it.
I’m most emphatically NOT ready for them, but the southern African bulbs are ready for me. Yee-fucking-haw.
I reworked the 5-gallon terrarium that I set up last weekend. I added some oregano, Corsican mint, a maidenhair fern and some twigs with lichen.
Grow my pretties! Hoping that adding coffee grounds to the soil helps, though I may have made my new plants coffee addicts…
It’s very good for your soil, as is diluted or fermented liquid coffee! Coffee hosts beneficial fungal colonies, and breaks down towards a neutral pH as a slow-release nitrogen fertilser.
Bonsai Japanese Quince Trees (Chaenomeles japonica)
The tradition of growing miniature trees in shallow containers started in China, where is is called penjing (盆景), which means “tray scenery.” These tray displays have a number of variations, including “Tree Penjing” (shumu penjing), “Landscape Penjing” (shanshui penjing), and “Water and Land Penjing” (shuihan penjing).
The Japanese word, bonsai, is derived from the earlier Chinese word for the above practice: penzai (盆 栽). Bonsai is a much more specific artform, involving the restriction of the growth of a tree in a shallow container. This is achieved through root pruning, and foliage pruning, as well as the use of wire to guide the growth of the tree.
I have 50+ year-old quince trees I’d like to get off my hands before winter, for sale or swap. They make excellent bonsai specimens, and I ship them bare-root, so they are easily adapted to transplant into a bonsai soil.
Photos: BonsaiTonight, The BonsaiCast, mainguyen2010, Seeds for Africa