Bare root seedlings – winter supply only

It is winter again and that means bare root seedling time at Shibui Bonsai.

Those who have purchased before will note a price increase this year. It was just not worth the time to collect the smaller seedlings at the previous price of 50c each.

Growers in West Australia and Tasmania will be aware that state Quarantine laws prohibit us sending live trees and most seed to your states. While this can be frustrating for individuals, these regulations are to protect you from many of the pests and diseases we have to contend with here in the Eastern mainland states.

Most of these seedlings have never been pruned so trunks are usually tall and straight with few side branches. Roots have not been pruned. Some have good lateral roots, others just have the early tap root. Fortunately tridents grow new roots very well so the roots can be chopped really hard with full confidence they will grow new lateral roots.

All these seedlings will be sent bare root. Roots are wrapped in wet newspaper and a plastic bag to retain moisture during delivery. Trunks will be chopped to around 40cm long to facilitate packing. Bare root seedlings are only available while they are dormant through winter – usually July and August.

Smaller seedlings $1 each. Trunk thickness up to around 3mm thick. These are flexible enough to bend if you want to try to create twisted type trident trunks or plait them to fuse together. They are suitable as smaller trees in groups and ideal to thread through holes drilled in sheet metal to promote future nebari.

Medium $2 each. Trunks from 3mm to around 6mm thick. Great to thread though metal plates as the first stage of developing great nebari.

Large $5 each. Trunks around 6-10mm thick. Too thick to bend but these are a good start toward growing larger trunks in grow boxes or in the ground. Also good as focal trees in a group planting.

Forest packs $30 each. I select a range of trunk thickness that will suit a starter group planting. Typically a group pack will have 2 large trunks, 8 medium and 10 smaller tridents. These have been very popular so only available while stocks last.

Extra large POA. These are still ‘feral’ seedlings that have grown unnoticed behind sheds or hidden among garden plants so they’ve had a chance to get a bit thicker. Please be aware that these have never had any pruning or root work so roots may or may not be ideal for bonsai. Trunks may have little taper. Bigger is not always better for bonsai.

I can also select trident seedlings to various other criteria. If you want seedlings to approach graft roots on another tree then seedlings with a low bend work better. Seedlings with bends might suit your plans better than straight trunks or really skinny trunks that are still flexible enough to wire and bend extensively. Seedlings with long roots might be useful for root over rock bonsai. If you have a project let me know and I’ll try to offer advice and find the right seedlings that will suit you best.

Seedlings with low bends are good for approach grafting new roots onto existing trees.

Seedlings with existing bends. Some will have more bends while others will have gentle bends like these. Please specify small or medium size.

Japanese maples are much slower to grow. We still get good numbers of self sown seedlings growing in the garden beds but they typically only get to 3mm thick and around 10-15 cm tall in the first year. There are some Japanese maple seedlings a bit older and thicker but nowhere near as many as tridents. Small – under 3mm thick $2 and larger $5 each duet to numbers, ages and higher demand. Buyers should also note that the Japanese maple seedlings offered come from a wide variety of Japanese maple varieties. Some will have red summer leaves, some green. You may get some with brilliant red autumn leaves while others might be yellow and there’s no telling whether any will be strong growers or have long or short internodes.

I can also supply seed for those who enjoy the magic of germinating seeds and start bonsai from scratch. Japanese or trident maple seed: 10 seeds $3, 20 seeds $5, 50 seeds $10 or 100 seeds $20.

Japanese maples are notoriously variable when grown from seed. Cross pollination between different types in the garden also means there’s no way of knowing which seedings will look like the parent and which could be different but that’s one of the great things about growing from seed – there’s always the chance of growing a special type. Every new seedling is a new and unique cultivar because every seedling has a new combination of genes from each parent. Named cultivars cannot be grown from seed so don’t ask for seed from specific named Japanese maple varieties. If you are really determined to try to grow Japanese maples with specific traits, the best I can do is select seed from trees with broad characteristics such as red leaves, dwarf habit, etc but please be aware that these traits may or may not show up in all (or any?) of your seedlings.

As usual delivery will be through Aust post. I’m using express delivery this year as we experienced some delays with regular post last season. Packages under 1kg typically up to around 20 smaller seedlings are usually around $15. Allow around $20 for most orders but packs with more than 100 or some larger trunks are heavier and larger so delivery price can be higher. Post cost also depends on your location so please advise your postcode or address so I can calculate delivery price for your order.

email orders to: neil@shibuibonsai.com.au

Old ficus for sale

Every year my back reminds me more and more to only work on smaller and lighter trees. This Port Jackson fig has been neglected for a few years as it is just a little big for me to handle alone.

Ficus rubiginosa

I started this bonsai from seed collected at Burnley school of horticulture gardens, Melbourne in the late 1980s. This bonsai was originally 2 seedlings planted with roots wrapped round each other as a twin trunk bonsai. They were then planted in larger post to grow on fast. It spent a few years in a polystyrene fruit box and grew fast. The growing seedlings have fused completely and as the trunks thickened the space between the 2 trunks has gradually closed up so the 2nd trunk is now a large lower branch on the right side.

Trunk diameter 20 cm

Asking price $3,300. Unfortunately this tree is just a little too big and too heavy to post so buyers will need to pick up in Yackandandah or arrange for transport.

All enquiries to email – neil@shibuibonsai.com.au

New catalogues

A number of customers have pointed out that the old catalogues appeared to be out of date because they were titled 2020. Shibui Bonsai years are designed to fit in with tree seasons rather than our traditional calendar.

Field grown trees are dug from the grow beds in winter – That’s July and August here – then pruned and potted up. Some new dug trees may be available as bare root but as I have no control over your subsequent care and conditions bare root trees are not covered by the standard Shibui Bonsai guarantee.

Fresh potted trees are hard to pack and post with no roots to hold the soil together so I delay sales until the trees have started growing and have plenty of new roots in the pots. The tridents are generally ready to cope with mailing by December so that’s when the new catalogues are posted (provided I’ve managed to find the time and energy to take all the photos and compile the catalogue files). By that time i can be sure that the trees have recovered well from the trauma of transplant and the massive root reduction that entails so you can be assured of getting strong, healthy trees with the traditional Shibui Bonsai guarantee.

The catalogues on the catalogue pages are current right through to the following November but the later you are the less trees will still be available.

Good bonsai are not like many other retail goods – I can’t just get more from the factory to fill the shelves because bonsai growing is seasonal so we must learn to fit in with the annual and seasonal growth patterns. New trees are only added each year in December.

offerings of trident maples are good again this season but there were no Chinese Elms ready for sale this time.

The few pines and junipers I potted up have all been sold (provided they recover and grow well) before going in a catalogue.

I’ve only potted up 2 field grown Japanese maples – catalogue still in progress at this stage but should be posted soon.

There are also a few Prunus ‘Elvins’ from the grow beds along with a couple of feral plums collected locally. Catalogues will be up as soon as the weather allows me time to take photos and compile the catalogue so, if you are keen on great flowering bonsai, keep an eye out for that one soon.

Enjoy the new offerings.

Neil

Spring at Shibui Bonsai

After the cold, bleak winter spring seems to arrive suddenly. The first green shoots on Chinese elms are the heralds then, suddenly, everywhere is new life and color.

Late winter and early spring sees an ever changing pallette of color as flowers come and go. Prunus are some of the first quickly followed by forsythia, crab apples and azaleas. If you happen to have a green thumb you may even be able to get wisteria to flower reliably as a bonsai

Shibui Bonsai has an ever changing list of flowering trees suitable for bonsai. Email Neil to see if I have the one you are searching for. Please don’t ask if you can buy the trees pictured above. They are all from my personal collection and hold far more sentimental value than monetary. I do, however, offer younger stock at reasonable prices, some already at flowering age and size.

Azaleas also make great bonsai if your conditions are right. At my last property something was just not quite right and azaleas slowly deteriorated over several years until they died. Moving just a few Km saw a miraculous change and now they thrive under similar care. I cannot work out the details, just that it is so.

Azaleas have been grown by gardeners all round the world for many years so we now have a bewildering array of types with a wide range of flower colors and shapes. Here are a few from Shibui Bonsai nursery this month.

Azaleas transplant really easily. It is one of my favorite species for collecting from gardens as they seem to transplant successfully any month of the year. Don’t bother trying to retain a large root ball – azaleas don’t need it. Shake off as much garden soil as will come away without undue damage to the roots, cut damaged roots to fit the container and pot with good quality potting soil or your favorite bonsai mix, water well and place in a semi-shade area until the roots recover.

Azaleas will also grow new buds on old wood so taller stems can be chopped hard with confidence knowing masses of new shoots will usually appear all over the stumps. i currently have some quite large collected azaleas for sale. Most are planted in large polystyrene fruit boxes and are too big to post but there are also a few in 15, 20 and 30 cm orchid pots. POA

Many other flowering species suit bonsai. Here are few I occasionally have available for sale.

Shibui winter 2021 Seedling sale

We have plenty of self sown maple seedlings in the garden beds at Shibui Bonsai again this year. These have all grown without any help so I can supply them at reduced rates. These seedlings will only be available until they start to grow in spring or until sold out.

First up let’s deal with quarantine. We cannot send trees to either WA or Tasmania due to plant quarantine rules and before you start complaining it is best to remember those restrictions are there to protect you and your wonderful environment from a range of pests and diseases that we battle daily here in the Eastern Mainland.

Trident maple seedlings are supplied in a range of different sizes

Small: seedlings with trunks under 3mm thick only 50c each. These are still flexible so suit wiring and bending or as smaller trees in a group planting. Also useful for root grafting.

Medium: trunks 3-6mm diameter approx $1 each

Suit group plantings, growing on, threading through plates, fusion projects and more.

Large: trunks 6-10mm thick $2 each

Great for larger trunks in a group planting or to grow on for larger bonsai trunks in future.

There are a few trunks larger than 10mm. $5 each while they last. Please note that thicker does not always mean better. These will usually have a large trunk chop and may have less attractive roots than the smaller ones.

Forest packs $20. A mix of different sizes suitable to make your own group planting. Usually 3 large, 10 medium and 10 small trunks.

Bent trunks: While most of these feral seedlings are pretty straight some have bends. These bent ones could be better for approach grafts to roots or to grow small trunks with good low bends. Price as per trunk thickness above.

I am happy to select seedlings with specific characteristics if you let me know exactly what you require so the more info you can give me as to your plans the better I can tailor your order.

Japanese Maples: These are not as prolific so numbers are limited and most are smaller size than tridents above. All JM seedlings $1 each and you get whatever sizes come up.

Please don’t expect too much from these feral seedlings. They will be packed just as they come out of the garden as shown above so some have lots of roots, some have fewer but all should survive as tridents are really tough. Even those with just a very few roots have great survival rates. The roots are only trimmed roughly to fit in bundles. You can’t expect me to do detailed root work at those prices so that’s up to you when they arrive. Trunks will be chopped to fit into a 50-60 cm long pack. Further detailed pruning to size is also up to you.

Trees are sent bare root. I’ll bundle the trunks, wrap the roots in wet newspaper and wrap in a plastic bag to retain moisture. Trees will survive quite comfortably this way during delivery and for several weeks if necessary. On arrival please check and refresh root moisture if necessary. Trees can be stored in a cool place for a few weeks or even longer if you are not ready to pot up straight away. For longer term storage roots should be buried in damp soil, sand or sawdust until planting is possible.

Delivery: Please allow for the cost of delivery in addition to the tree price. Trees are sent direct to your mailing address via Auspost. Price depends on the size, weight and destination of the order so I’ll need to quote each package to give you the best price so please supply your delivery address or at very least a postcode when ordering so I can calculate a price for delivery. typical cost is likely to be: smaller packages under 1kg $15 regular mail or $20 express. More than 1 forest pack or larger numbers of individual trees could be $25 or $30 for delivery.

Email neil@shibuibonsai.com.au to place an order or to discuss your needs this season.