Monday, August 31, 2009

Visitor in the garden

A Preying Mantis sunning himself on a Dorstenia gypsophylla

Friday, August 28, 2009

First commisioned pot and staging

This Operculicarya decaryi was dropped off today for me to create a bonsai pot and stage. Stay tuned for progression photos!

The new front

Bare rooted to see what lies beneath

Raised and rocks repositioned

Delospermum sphalmanthoides

In addition to making pottery and growing succulents my other hobby is photography. As with everything I do I like to experiment with different techniques.

A little reflection play, an easy setup as long as you have a piece of glass and black fabric

and a macro shot showing flower detail

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Greenware Bonsai Crackpot

At the show I had many inquiries about larger pots so I thought I'd better get practicing. My largest bat is 12" so that's the largest base I can produce till I pickup some bigger ones. Made 3-4 simple cracked pots but wanted to try something a little more formal.

Made this pot last night, it has a 13" outside diameter and after firing will have a an inside diameter of about 11" and 3" deep, once it dries some I'll get started on the base and feet. Looking pretty good so far.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Aloe chortoliriodes

Here's one Aloe you won't see very often. Picked this a few years ago when I visited San Diego at a small C&S nursery. I've read it only flowers after a fire. It's hardy here to 28f and painfully slow growing, doesn't help matters being staged in such a shallow dish. The pot is 1" deep by 7" wide and is made with Cassius Basalitic clay and was fired to ^04.

Ipomoea arboresens

Purchased this plant online at the beginning of 2007, when it arrive it had thick large roots so it had to go into a 12" container to get re-established.

April of "09 I wanted to attempt bonsai treatment so I chopped the taproot off and majority of thick roots to get it to fit in a shallow 8" pot.

The pot was definitely too wide for the plant so in June I moved it to a 4" diameter pot, but before doing so I had to removed roots again to get it to fit in.
One tough plant to be able to go through two major root prunings and still survive.

Update 8/29

Foliage fully open

Close up of the base

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Show plants

These are a few of the plants I entered in the Inter-City show

Fouquieria fasciculata-1st place-outstanding specimen

Petopentia natalensis-1st place-outstanding specimen

Cissus tuberosa-1st place

Fockea edulis-2nd place

Pachypodium baronii v. baronii-1st place

Cyphostemma segmentatum-2nd place

Ipomoea arboresense-1st place

Pachypodium lamerei-2nd place

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Show of shows!

What a weekend! 1600 plants entered this year and roughly half (probably more) were fat plants. Incredible specimens, from a 7ft tall Fouquieria purpusii to the tiniest Euphorbia. Saw a new hybrid Fourquiera purpusii x macdougallii in flower with beautiful pink clusters. Charlie and Debbie Ball entered 7 of the most impressive looking Bursera simplicifolia I have ever seen, each one in a pot made by Charlie. Larry Grammer stole the show with his impeccable staging and beautiful plants, he had at least 5 plants on the trophy table.

The sales area is always a treat, one thing about SoCal vendors they provide material that you can not get anywhere else and I brought home quite a bit of them. At last count I had 40 plants and have of those were from Tim Harvey’s table, he had Cyphostemma humile, humile dolichipus, a beautiful sp. Cf. simulans and bainesii x juttae. I was able to get them all, although I did give Gregg one of the bainesii after he could not find any that I may have missed (those puppy dog eyes got me ;o). Some of the other plants I got were Dorstenia gypsophylla and gigas, Stathmostelma praetermissum, Moringa boriziana, Pelargonium bowkerii, Othonna furcata, Pachypodium ambongense, Dendrosicyos and a large Boophane. If that was not enough I also went to a couple of private collectors and brought home more, those plants are Adenia ballyi and pechuelli, C, uter, D, gigas, Aloe pillansii, Peniocereus greggi, Digi caput-medusa and a Euphorbia that I can’t remember.

The following are specimens I picked up from private collectors and banquet auction

I've been searching a decent sized reasonably priced Aloe pillansii for years...and now I have one! It measures 30" from soil level to the tallest leaf, trunk diameter is 3.5"

I could not pass on this Dorstenia gigas, 40" tall with a 7" base

Normally I would not even think of getting a cacti, but this Penoicereus greggi is perfect and big! It has an 8.5" diameter!

Another plant I could not leave. Sure it's been grown with too much TLC but I'll fix that ;o) This Cyphostemma uter is difficult to find in any condition, it is 40" tall. I'll be taking cuttings over the weekend.

Here's one you rarely if ever see available, Adenia pechuellii is a jewel! It had a 4" diameter and needs a good trim.

I won this at theauction put on the Inter-City clubs after the banquet, it's newly introduced Jatropha species. Has an 18" spread and ready to bonsai!

This one is labeled Euphorbia hopetownensis, can't find out much other that it's found north of hopetown, it has some potential. It stands 12" above the pot.

I've only seen this at one place for sale and it was too small and too expensive. This is a fat rooted cutting of Adenia ballyi I purchased from a friend collection.

Friday, August 14, 2009

24th Inter-City Cactus & Succulent show and sale

The 24th Inter-City Cactus & Succulent show and sale is said to be the best and largest of all shows on the west coast. Attended last year for the 1st time and was amazed by the amount of plants entered, 1500 specimens!! I enjoyed it so much I'm entering 10 of my finest plants are staged in my creations and packed for safe transport to the Los Angeles Arboretum for the annual show. Looking forward to a great event, meeting new friend and visiting old ones. I'm driving down this morning at 5am.

Will be posting photos by mobile phone if I can figure it out, if not I'll post them on Monday when I return.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Death Valley crackpots

Not the desert but the clay. Thought I give Death Valley a try since it's a high fore body and most of my firings are going that way. It's a medium course clay that is easy to throw, fires to a reddish buff in oxidation.

This was a technique I read about called "dry throwing", using no water at all. Interesting look but don't think I'll do it very often.

This one was going good till it started to twist off just above the base, was able to salvage it and will be go for a trailing plant to drape over the side.

Cracked this one with sodium silicate

Builders sand was used to add texture here

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

A few handbuilt pieces

Made these over the 4th of July while at our cabin in Anderson Springs, no wheel so I handbuild when I'm there.

2.5" tall flattened coil

1.5" tall cracked slab pot

4" tall cracked pinch pot

6" round crackpot, this technique was inspired by a Mark Smalley vase which he kindly shared with me. The base sagged a bit under the weight of the walls during firing, should have made the base thicker than a 1/4". Next time...

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Silicon carbide test

I am attempting to to cause some blistering and bubbling of glazes by adding silicon carbide. These fired to cone 9 (2300f) at medium speed.

This one did nothing, maybe I need to go hotter at a faster speed? I do like the base ash glaze though.

This was right next to the above and there is some eruptions happening here.

This ash and silicon carb was applied too thin for any kind of bubbling, but I do like the way it came out.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Black montain paperclay fired

A follow up on my posting in June regarding the paperclay I had made from scrap Blk Mtn clay. These were fired yesterday and decided to leave these raw, no stain or glaze.

3" spiked bowl

8" oval, did not get a good bonding, shows some separation

6.5" tall cascade, my favorite of the bunch