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Welcome to this edition of the Bonsai At Pasiminan Newsletter. This
newsletter will give you valuable information related to growing, styling,
and taking care of your bonsai projects. We are constantly introducing
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Feature Story - Article - Reducing Florescence Size

The most beautiful aspect of the crape myrtle plant, for the most part,
is its gorgeous flowers.  Granted, the growth habit of many of the crape
myrtles is particularly appealing, and the development of roots and
nebari make for a very interesting display as well.  What a shame, then,
that we have not been able to make the florescences, or flower masses,
work for the creation of an even better bonsai - until recently.  The
crape myrtle's florescences are way out of scale, for the most part,
especially from the larger varieties of crape myrtles.  However, at our
annual seminar on crape myrtles, which was held in 2010, we discussed
a solution to make flowers work as a successful aspect of our crape myrtle

How can this be? Don't we know that flowers can't be dwarfed, at least to
any serious degree? And if we can't dwarf flowers, how can we make them
in scale? Is there a trick?  Well, it's not exactly a trick, but it is a secret of
sorts.  At least it's not a deliberate secret, but it hasn't been talked about
much; in fact, it's even hard to find out much if you were to search for it in
"Google" for an answer.

The secret lies in the fact that flowers don't grow individually but rather in
groups which together are called a "florescence".  A florescence consists
of many flowers growing out of the same stalk and secondary stalks, as it
were.  Importantly, the florescence consists of a different kind of plant
material with different growth characteristics than the flowers themselves. 
Thus the flowers don't need to be dwarfed (which won't happen anyway)
to reduce the scale and size of the overall mass of the flower mass, the
florescence.  If we could just dwarf and shorten the stalks on which the
flowers grow, we could make the florescence smaller without doing
anything else.  But how? 

Here again there is a trick that has been developed over the past few
decades and it involves using chemicals which have been formulated for
just such a purpose.  Collectively, they are called "growth retardants",
PGRs, or "growth regulators".  The part of the plants that these
chemicals have been developed to retard are, for the most part, the
stems.  There are several parts to the stems, primary, secondary and
tertiary.  All have the same characteristics of growth as a result of which
we can treat them similarly.  The primary stem that is the attachment of
the florescence to the rest of the plant is called merely the stem.  The
secondary stem, which attaches to the primary stem, is called a peduncle,
and the smallest part of the florescence, which themselves carry the
flowers, are called pedicels. Fortunately for us, they all react the same
way to the PGRs, as "stem" material.
Much work has been done to create
different growth patterns, especially including products which can cause
a more compact form of growth.  That is something that is in great demand
in ornamental plants which have, as their purpose, their looks, rather than
a particular function of the plant.  Even grasses have had formulations
prepared to keep them from having to be mowed as often.  There is even
a formulation designed specifically for grasses, called "Cutless", for
obvious reasons.

Other formulations, which have different effects on different plants, but
which are all designed primarily to make the ornamental plant and/or its
blooms more attractive, include those with names like: A-rest, B-nine,
Cycocel, Trimtect, ethephon and paclobutrazol, or bonzi (not
recommended, for when used in a concentration slightly too high, it can
cut off any more growth almost permanently), and bud ignitor, which
does several phase-specific bud boosters for different aspects of the
blooming cycle. 
And there's much to discover.  To read more on this recent development,
Bud Booster, for example go to:

Ethephon, as another example, which has a different mode of action than inhibiting
gibberelic acid (GA). GA inhibition is one of the most used
methods of reducing growth.  Application methods vary too. Some are
designed as foliar sprays and others as soil drenches. The literature has
become so all-encompassing that it is impossible to do more than touch
on some of the highlights of a few of the best known.  For more
information, just Google "Plant Growth Retardants" and you will find
everything you need to know - and much more.

The crape myrtles, being vigorous growers, for the most part, will
generally need more powerful PGRs. The more forgiving sprays are
probably the best to experiment with first. We've found Cycocel, B-nine
and Ethephon among the best - all foliar sprays - for our personal
purposes.  Much experimentation is still worth doing. For each size
of growth florescence, and its speed of growth also, there may be
another PGR that is best for it.

Another thing that needs to be kept in mind is that many of these are
designed only to be applied in commercial quantities and thus only
available in large (and expensive) quantities.  If so, you will want to
share your acquisition with others to make it affordable.  However,
there are some good ones for our purposes which can be bought in
smaller quantities.  Bud Ignitor one such; Bud Blood is one similar.
These last two are commonly used in the marijuana growing trade,
but I am not suggesting this. The fact is, there is a great growth of
knowledge among those growers, perhaps for obvious reasons,
and as a result their prices are coming way down as they become
more popular.  They are still expensive, but perhaps affordable, and
available in smaller quantities - and for our purposes and quantities
used for bonsai, they will last a very long time.

There's another way we can reduce the size of the florescence, also:
by reducing the number of flowers in the florescence.  Simply cut back
the remaining flowers on the remaining stem to only the bottom few,
perhaps even just one, while they are in the budding stage, and
remarkably the remaining flowers will fill the gaps to create a complete
mass of flowers that look as well as if they were the complete
florescence from the start.

With these techniques, you can dwarf - and make into small scale -
even those crape myrtles with the largest florescences, like Natchez,
Muskogee, Red Rocket, Dynamite, and Arapaho. Of course, the
same results will occur with the smaller growing varieties as well.

Upcoming Workshops

The annual BSF convention will be held May 22 through May 26, 2014, featuring Enrique Castano, Ed Trout and Peter Warren.  It will be held in the Florida Hotel and Conference Center at the Florida Mall. 8001 S; Orange Blossom Trail in Orlando

With a new pricing schedule, it will be more affordable, yet packed with many programs, workshops and exhibitions.

For plenty more information, go to

On Saturday, May 10, the Moccasin Lake Park will host a display of Eagles, on Eagle Fest Day in Clearwater at the Moccasin Lake Park.

Several new eagles will be on display in addition to their regular family eagle and other bird members.They are eagles which cannot be released for they have been wounded in the past, and have found refuge and
care at the park.

There will be educational presentations on Eagles and other birds of prey, and programs with the featured theme "Soaring with the Eagles"

Included in  the displays will be:
The Suncoast Herpetological Society

Clearwater Audubon Society

The Clearwater Turtle and Tortoise Society

Clearwater Bonsai Society

The Pinellas Native Plant Society

Create Clearwater

Grow Permaculture

A drum circle will also be held - and live music - from 6 PM to closing.
Food will be available for purchase and free beverages
The  hours are 10 AM t0 10 PM

Mocccasin Lake Park is located at 2750 Park Trail Lan, in Clearwater

For more information and a full map call 727-793-2976, and see


More Workshop Information

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Barnel V3000

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