Bald Cypress Slab - "Bill's Bayou"

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Bald Cypress Slab - "Bill's Bayou"

Post  BillsBayou on Mon May 18, 2015 7:23 pm

I carved this slab about three years ago.  It's been to several bonsai shows, but no one bought it.  I decided to create a bayou scene using bald cypress.  The stone is a piece of Pennsylvania bluestone.  To get the color right for a Louisiana bayou, I colored it with a brown wood stain.  We'll see how long the color lasts.

I named the planting "Bill's Bayou" because, damn it, it's my bayou and it reminds me of some of the bayous I like to paddle down.  I created it on Saturday.  I made a video of the planting.  I'll upload it to YouTube when I edit it out.

This is the initial planting for the trees.  As such, I'll let them grow out and do their first styling in about a year.

The moss on the muck wall is from my backyard.  I have several areas that I keep wet just for the moss I can grow.  There are several varieties of moss in there. I collect it from anywhere I can and place it on my mossy bricks. Even so, I barely had enough moss to do the walls.   The moss on top of the soil was found later that day in abundance.  I capped the soil off to hold as much moisture as I could.  Bald cypress do very well when well watered.

That one brown-leafed tree likely fell off the growing bench and missed a few waterings.  It already has green buds of growth, so it'll do fine.  I'll have to post update photos as all of this grows out.

Here's the photos:





Last edited by BillsBayou on Mon May 18, 2015 9:01 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Re: Bald Cypress Slab - "Bill's Bayou"

Post  BobbyLane on Mon May 18, 2015 8:45 pm

This has all the makings of a great forest, i get a great sense of scale and perspective, i look forward to seeing the vid, keep us updated Cool

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Re: Bald Cypress Slab - "Bill's Bayou"

Post  Zach Smith on Tue May 19, 2015 12:52 pm

BillsBayou wrote:I carved this slab about three years ago.  It's been to several bonsai shows, but no one bought it.  I decided to create a bayou scene using bald cypress.  The stone is a piece of Pennsylvania bluestone.  To get the color right for a Louisiana bayou, I colored it with a brown wood stain.  We'll see how long the color lasts.

I named the planting "Bill's Bayou" because, damn it, it's my bayou and it reminds me of some of the bayous I like to paddle down.  I created it on Saturday.  I made a video of the planting.  I'll upload it to YouTube when I edit it out.

This is the initial planting for the trees.  As such, I'll let them grow out and do their first styling in about a year.

The moss on the muck wall is from my backyard.  I have several areas that I keep wet just for the moss I can grow.  There are several varieties of moss in there. I collect it from anywhere I can and place it on my mossy bricks. Even so, I barely had enough moss to do the walls.   The moss on top of the soil was found later that day in abundance.  I capped the soil off to hold as much moisture as I could.  Bald cypress do very well when well watered.

That one brown-leafed tree likely fell off the growing bench and missed a few waterings.  It already has green buds of growth, so it'll do fine.  I'll have to post update photos as all of this grows out.

Here's the photos:
Nice work, Bill. Keep us posted. Do you ever have trouble keeping the muck wall mucky? That's always been a problem for me after the second year or so, which is why I've shied away from doing the slab plantings. But I do love them!

Zach

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Re: Bald Cypress Slab - "Bill's Bayou"

Post  BillsBayou on Tue May 19, 2015 3:31 pm

Zach Smith wrote:
Nice work, Bill.  Keep us posted.  Do you ever have trouble keeping the muck wall mucky?  That's always been a problem for me after the second year or so, which is why I've shied away from doing the slab plantings.  But I do love them!

Zach

When the wall hardens, I immerse the slab in water for an hour or so.  Then I repair the wall where it needs it with fresh muck.  The repair won't be a strong as the original wall, but it works well enough.

My muck recipe was taught to me by Joe Day of Mobile's Azalea City Bonsai Society some time back:

  • One part Louisiana blue clay
  • One part fibered sphagnum moss
  • One part milled peat moss
  • A handful or two of manure (for flavor)

Mix well with water to a sticky consistency.

I like to prepare my clay in advance by drying it partially to where you can crumble it.  Then letting it dry out completely.  I use an old blender to turn the clay crumbles into a fine dust.  

The clay cements everything together.  The milled peat holds moisture and helps the clay get wet when it dries.  The fibered sphagnum moss helps to hold dry and broken walls in place as well as being a wick to get water into dried walls.  The manure gives the roots a bit of nutrients as they grow into the walls (adding support).

Guy Guidry's muck recipe involves crawfish mounds [GOOGLE IMG LINK] and bonsai soil.  That's a little dense for my watering habits. However, letting crawfish do the clay mining for you is a great idea.

Not everyone has access to clay. Here in Louisiana, it's about 18 inches below our feet. I go by construction sites and grab nice looking chunks when I'm running low. Where you get your clay is up to you.

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Re: Bald Cypress Slab - "Bill's Bayou"

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