My book is out

August 3rd, 2007

Filed under: Uncategorized, Blogroll — Enrique Castano @ 12:34 pm

If anyone its interested in knowing a bit more on the physiology and biology of the trees we care so much you may be interested in this book
Botany for Bonsai

My second candidate for competition

July 27th, 2007

Filed under: Uncategorized — Enrique Castano @ 2:48 pm

A little biology on Black mangrove (Avicennia germinans)( white botom wood)
Despite its name, this is the lightest in color of the mangroves. Black Mangrove has opposite leaves, pale gray-green, shiny above, and often found encrusted with salt. The leaves are larger than most mangroves at 4.5 to 15 centimeters (2 to 6 inches) long and are oblong to lanceolate in shape, however they can be reduced to ½ cm or less if they are constantly pinch. The tree grows to 8 meters (24 feet) high. The flowers are small — 0.2 centimeters (1/8th of an inch) —, white to yellow in color, and bloom from November to May. The fruit is about 1 centimeter (0.5 inch) in length and irregularly oblique shaped. Black Mangrove is one of the few mangroves that doesn’t grow on stilt roots. The root system consists of long underground cable roots that produce hundreds of thin, upright pneumatophores in the water around the tree. These structures have numerous pores that are thought to conduct oxygen to the underground portions of the root system.
This tree is particularly strong and cuttings will take very easily, I have yet to see someone use it for bonsai. Although passing through Pedro Morales house I saw a little one being develop. I wonder if anyone else has use it. I guess the
Here I will show a few that I think have great potential to become real fine bonsai one day soon.
First a nice literati, it was one of my top choices for the contest. The tree on the before images are about 110 cm in hight. After potting is about 80 cm. The pot was chosen not to contrast but to keep a balance with the leaves. Here I show a figures after the first styling and know three weeks after. Please do comment on this tree.

My first candidate for the styling competition

July 3rd, 2007

Filed under: Uncategorized — Enrique Castano @ 12:50 pm

was one of my first candidate for the styling competition, a large Hematoxylum campechanum that I collected in 2004. It was over 5 meters tall and I reduced it to about 1 meter in hight and planted in the garden, after all this years it has grown back to 5 meters tall. It has several interesting points, its a doble trounk with a very impresive base, a great looking straight trunk that reflects a very old age followed by a few branches that have to be deal with a lot of carving. Over all it will be come one day into a great looking tree. I decided not to choose this tree for the competition, as it will take at least a year before it will be great for competition. But I will keep adding pictures on the work done and I hope to hear some comments or Ideas.

Something about me

January 15th, 2007

Filed under: Uncategorized — Enrique Castano @ 5:56 pm

Something about my self: Well must people know that I have been interested in bonsai from childhood, as my father had bonsai in the garden and I remember him working on some trees long long ago.

However my taste for horticulture goes back to early childhood, as I have always grown plants in all sorts of containers, even when I could not have bonsai my self I kept a small jungle of plants in aquariums and other containers, and would spend many hours out in the nature. I thank my parents for taking me around as a child camping everywhere possible.

My connection with nature was set assure and as time pass by I decided to formalize this connection with some study, that took to a biology degree and discovery of molecular biology which seem fascinating to me, as the language in which all life is written. In such terms I continue with my master, Ph.D, Post doctorals and currently as a professor in a plant research institute.

However, during all that time my interest in growing bonsai has increased. I remember well in Rochester during my Ph.D studies I meet Bill Valavanis at his house, I saw some of the great trees he had compared to my young seedlings at home, which only made me try to do better work. As time pass I ended up in the UK for several years and nearby was the nursery of Peter Chen, who can resist, I went there several times buying little mame pots each time. However there I was quite impressed with one of his maples that had its own style a masterpiece. I saw there that Harry Tomlison had some summer camps, so I ended up camping there during tree great summers.

It was a great time and one can really learn a lot. I enjoyed then a lot two following world conventions, who can forget the one in Munich, washing Saburo Kato at work! It was impressive. I had by then become far more serious in my work; of course the only problem was that I had to leave my collection of trees and move again across continents, landing in a tropical climate where I live today. At first everything is more or less new. Old lines of thought had to be rewritten as common old fashion wisdom does not follow.

So I decided to take a more physiological approach to doing bonsai. Winter would be consider as the time in which water uptake by the plant is minimal, in the north due to the water being frozen, here during the dry season as there is no water around. The effect is similar plants stop growing. Then was yamadori collecting, although difficult to do in some countries, and in some I would considered unethical, here is quite a different ball game. The amount of construction going on ensures that kilometers or miles of land would be devastated I saw hills of bookend down trees taken down by bulldozers, so at the end I started collecting without feeling sorry that two or three of ten trees would die, as ten of them would die anyway under a bulldozer in this area.

Over the last four years I´m finally at the point of refining some trees, must of them in Neoclasical or classical styles and forms, I hope in time to bring out some more contemporary styles to the world, as I just begun working on them. As always I welcome different views on my work, as usually there is more than one esthetic solution to a tree.

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