Kusamono, Jasmine and Kitchen-Scrap Bonsai

My wife is an avid gardener. She tends to away from bonsai (most of the time). To quote her words: “I let my husband works on big trees, I stick to the small stuffs like kusamono and anything palm-size.” Here are some of her small stuffs:


She might not call this flowering jasmine a bonsai, but to me it is a bunjin shohin. The fragrance filled our kitchen when she brought it indoors.

This cabbage is a kitchen left-over. After stripping off all the leaves for food, she planted the stem in a cup filled with expanded shale and water. It rooted and grew into a small cabbage ball with curly leaves. Eventually the regrown cabbage will be eaten, and perhaps the stem will be regrown. She has other kitchen left overs, such as potato eye, yam, onion etc., grown into what I called, kitchen-scrap bonsai.

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Satsuki Azalea Flowers

In Southeastern Texas, satsuki azaleas bloom about a month earlier than in other parts of the US, from April to May. All my satsuki have flowered, and flowers of some cultivars were already gone. Some late bloomers, such as Chinzan, Nikko and Wakaebisu are still in flowers but they are definitely past their peaks. I will remove all flowers and unopened flower buds next week, and fertilize generously to thank them for brightening up my garden. I like to share photos of those flowers I took over the last few weeks.

Chinzan, Osakazuki and Wakaebisu. Flowers in some trees are already gone in mid-May.
Hakurei. I like their small white flowers with laceolate petals.
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How to Bare Root Repot a Satsuki Azalea Bonsai

In this post, I will show the steps on how to bare-root repot a nursery stock satsuki azalea into a bonsai or training pot. I live in Zone 9, mid March to end of April are the best times to do bare-root repotting for azalea.

This “wakebisu” satsuki azalea was repotted on March 10, 2014. It was in a black plastic pot and the soil had broken down and became water-logged.


Use a strong water jet to wash out the old soil, and use a pair of tweezers to unentangle and tease the roots outwards. Be careful to keep as much fine roots as possible. Repeat this process until all the old soils are completely removed. This is the most time consuming step.


Inspect the inner root ball; this plant has some rotted and unhealthy black roots which must be removed.  Seal the wounds with cut-paste. I use Top-Jin, an orange color cut-paste, which contains fungicide to prevent the wounds from rotting.

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