Spring accents—(and seasonal bamboo clean up technique)—
Sharing several accents which look their best in the bright washed greens and tentative flowers of the early days of the year-
Equisetum, violet and lady fern
Slug bait is a near prerequisite for keeping your iris fresh looking and nibble-free
Maidenhair fern is a dainty, rather vain early growing accent that appreciates shade
At the end of summer your dwarf bamboo, or sasa, may look a mess, full of dead stems and burned leaf tips
Halfway through a spring cleanup with scissors and tweezers, having taken out any dead leaves and shoots and leaving only those with just opening spring shoots
The finished sasa bamboo offers a fresh-feeling spring display with only the newest leaves and stems left, which offers a feeling of breeziness and possibility that might entice a spring insect like a mayfly to alight for a rest
Please, what is a slog ball
Slug bait—usually iron phosphate pellets, non-toxic—and the slugs eat it and go to the big slug-fest in the sky. Away from our tender bonsai and accents.
What do you use as a growing medium? The Equisetum and maidenhair fern appear to be on an upright log of something… Do the trays have drainage?
The log is just a root wad with soil. If you grow your accents in a taller nursery pot for a couple years the roots will hold the soil together. Take it out of the pot, carve it up a bit so it doesn’t look square, and plop it on a tray. Moss will grow over it eventually. Some of the trays do have holes; others not, good for wetland plants like equisetum.
Hi, what species is that epic Iris, please?
Iris cristata, or dwarf crested iris! Fun accent-
Hi Michael, You inspired me to buy a dwarf fern leaf bamboo (Pleioblastus Distichus). It’s growing in my South Florida garden as we speak. A couple of questions. How did you get the moss over the top of the bamboo in your planting? Did you cut everything back, cover it with moss, and force the canes to grow up though the moss, or something? How shallow a pot will dwarf bamboo grow in, and how often does it need to be repotted? Finally, can a few small canes be separated off, and added to an accent composition, or does dwarf bamboo not divide that readily?
Hello Chuck, the moss grew there naturally, we do live in a moist climate here most of the year, and that may account for much of the ease of that. You can try shredding some orchid moss over a screen and applying that to the surface, live moss likes growing in it. Dwarf bamboo likes a little bit of depth, only needs repotting every 7-8 years or so. Yes, they are easily divided, no trouble there. Good luck!
Thanks Michael. I love your book, Bonsai Heresy.