The Big Girl's Blouse Azalea

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The Big Girl's Blouse Azalea

Post  fiona on Sun May 31, 2009 9:27 pm

Here are a few pics of my big Satsuki Azalea - height approx. 30inches. The pics don't show it terribly well but the ratio of white to pink flowers is about 4:1. The funny thing is that I gave it a fairly intense cut back last year and according to the books it shouldn't have flowered very much if at all this year. The tree obviously hasn't read those books! It still needs a fair bit of shaping which I will do this year.

I'm quite pleased with it even if it is a big girl's blouse. For the benefit of those not from the UK, that is an expression used to mean a bloke who is a bit showy in a frilly and girly sort of way. It is a term of endearment, honestly.

With my "trademark" size indicator


trunk detail


A welcome visitor (one of many)


Yes there are pink flowers too


Any suggestions for future work are welcome as this is my first big azalea.

Thanks

Fiona

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Re: The Big Girl's Blouse Azalea

Post  Kev Bailey on Sun May 31, 2009 9:43 pm

Hi Fiona, that's a really good Azalea. Big girls blouse is a great name AFAIC. Any idea of the variety?

I'd say it probably flowered so well because you didn't cut it back hard enough. You need to remove all but two of the clusters of new shoots that emerge around each flower and then cut every remaining shoot back to two leaves. Then thin and refine the remaining to perfect the structure that you want. The usual stuff, remove anything growing up or down from the branches, anything that spoils the profile that you want to achieve. If you are going to remove any major branches, leave a stub and allow it to sprout a bit in the first year.

A great start. If you have any specific questions feel free to ask away.

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Re: The Big Girl's Blouse Azalea

Post  John Quinn on Mon Jun 01, 2009 12:05 am

Also, if you pruned before August you likely missed removing the new flower buds. Don't forget to remove all parts of this year's flower crop to prevent it from wasting resources setting seeds.
Nice tree!

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Re: The Big Girl's Blouse Azalea

Post  fiona on Mon Jun 01, 2009 12:11 am

That's interesting because I was advised that it should be done over here in the UK mid-late July, and that was by a reputable person. In fact I was booked on to a workshop at Newstead the third weekend in July to do the pruning but couldn't make it so ended up doing it myself.

I think perhaps Kev is right and I might have been a bit over-cautious as it was my first attempt. It certainly looked considerably thinned out but maybe it was not enough. Ah well, this year! I'm inviting myself down to your house Kev to enlist your help!

fiona
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Re: The Big Girl's Blouse Azalea

Post  Russell Coker on Mon Jun 01, 2009 1:21 am

The variety is Eikan, "victorious crown".

When a friend of mine saw them in Kanuma during the Satsuki Festival, he said they reminded him of birthday cakes.

Russell Coker
Mobile, Alabama

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Big Girl's Blouse Azala Update

Post  fiona on Sat Jun 06, 2009 12:00 pm

Here's the next mystery to befall the BGB azalea: it has never produced such vivid pink (almost cerise!) flowers in the five years or so I have owned the tree. As I said in a previous post, it has produced mostly white flowers with a few (ratio of about 4:1) pinkish tinged ones.

Can some of the azalea experts tell me why it has chosen just now to send out even bigger girls' blouses?

Pic of the hitherto unseen pink flowers against the normal white ones:



Pic of the normal pink tinged flowers:


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Re: The Big Girl's Blouse Azalea

Post  John Quinn on Sat Jun 06, 2009 3:16 pm

You may wish to mark this branch with a colored tie, or pipe cleaner, to identify it as a branch with the potential for this color flower. Perhaps the branch had been pruned during earlier years of shaping the canopy with resultant loss of this color bloom.

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Re: The Big Girl's Blouse Azalea

Post  Russell Coker on Sat Jun 06, 2009 6:04 pm

Your eikan is doing what it is supposed to do.

In Japan, if you are able to get close enough to really look, you will see that most satsuki bonsai will have rings of small wire around certain branches for the exact reason John mentioned.

Russell

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Re: The Big Girl's Blouse Azalea

Post  fiona on Sat Jun 06, 2009 6:30 pm

Thanks Russell and John - informative as always. But here's the rub: the pink tinged flowers are all located off one or two main branches in quite discrete areas. After I read John's post, I looked closely at the cerise flowers expecting to see the same thing - a branch of cerise flowers.

But what I found was the same branch having two flower colours on it - cerise and white - and in very close proximity!

It's lovely, but a. is it normal and b.(the million dollar question) why does it do it? An area of same colour I can understand but not two totally different colours on the one branch.

Pic which hopefully shows what I mean:



Wish I'd washed my hands before I took that shot!

fiona
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Re: The Big Girl's Blouse Azalea

Post  Kev Bailey on Sat Jun 06, 2009 7:36 pm

It is normal and the appearance of greater numbers of flower variants increases as Satsukis become more mature. I have seen this with a few of the varieties that I am growing. I leave the flowers on in areas I must not prune away until I've marked them with twist ties or similar.

On the question of why, if you are into biology and have the time, you could start your research here http://www.springerlink.com/content/t1712v67u8767551/ I'm no biologist!

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Re: The Big Girl's Blouse Azalea

Post  Russell Coker on Sat Jun 06, 2009 7:58 pm

a - It is normal for this variety and countless other satsuki varieties to freely mutate from solid white to strips, speckles, bitones and varying shaded flowers.

b - Why? Because that is what the Japanese have spent centuries hybridizing satsuki to do.

BTW, this is minor variation compared to some other satsuki. See if you can find a copy of "The Brocade Pillow". It was originally written by Ito Ihei in 1692 about the azalea culture of Edo period Japan, and was updated by John Creech in 1984.

Russell

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New in Azalea

Post  Joao Santos on Tue Sep 08, 2009 10:28 pm

Hello to all,

Sorry to post here but I realy need your help:

I've just bought my first two azaleas and I can't identify them because the small card that came along only mencioned "Japanese Azalea".

The curious is that they have diferent leaves. One has small "rounded" ones and the other one has biger "pointed" ones.

I think that with the Japanese Azalea the mean Satzuki ones but I'm not shure.

My Azaleas:


Closeups



Much work to do...

Thanks

Joao Santos

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Re: The Big Girl's Blouse Azalea

Post  Russell Coker on Wed Sep 09, 2009 3:02 pm

Hi Joao.

As you've figured out, "Japanese azalea" is a very vague term. Yes, these could be satsuki. But they could also be kurume, the other "Japanese azalea" common in gardening around the world. My guess is that these are indeed kurume. We will know more when they bloom in the spring, kurume are early and satsuki are late. Another clue would be fall flowering. You don't say where you are, but in a subtropical climate like we have here on the American Gulf Coast many satsuki varieties will bloom again lightly during the fall months - but not the kurumes. I don't think satsuki do this in a cooler climate with 4 distinct seasons, but I'm not sure. For the 3 years I was in Kanuma, Japan, I never noticed the satsuki throwing any late summer or fall blooms like they do here.

Russell

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Re: The Big Girl's Blouse Azalea

Post  Treebeard on Wed Sep 09, 2009 3:10 pm

What a beautiful tree. Big Girl's Blouse suits it perfectly Smile I've never taken much interest in azaleas, if I keep seeing ones like this then maybe I'll change my mind...

Chris.

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Re: The Big Girl's Blouse Azalea

Post  mr treevolution on Wed Sep 09, 2009 4:46 pm

Just my two pence worth, but i think that azaleas are one of the necessary types of tree to include in any serious bonsai collection!
Very nice tree there even if it is a big girls blouse!

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Re: The Big Girl's Blouse Azalea

Post  Joao Santos on Wed Sep 09, 2009 7:58 pm

Russell Coker wrote:Hi Joao.

As you've figured out, "Japanese azalea" is a very vague term. Yes, these could be satsuki. But they could also be kurume, the other "Japanese azalea" common in gardening around the world. My guess is that these are indeed kurume. We will know more when they bloom in the spring, kurume are early and satsuki are late. Another clue would be fall flowering. You don't say where you are, but in a subtropical climate like we have here on the American Gulf Coast many satsuki varieties will bloom again lightly during the fall months - but not the kurumes. I don't think satsuki do this in a cooler climate with 4 distinct seasons, but I'm not sure. For the 3 years I was in Kanuma, Japan, I never noticed the satsuki throwing any late summer or fall blooms like they do here.

Russell

Hi Russel
I live in Portugal, and then with the four distinct seasons. Again even with diferent leaves, you opinion is that they are BOTH kurume?

Sorry to bother you more but as it's my first time with azaleas, when shoul I prune and repot them? Each pot has tow azaleas I want to separate and as younger they are, I want to start some modeling inclusevly trying to acheave the one above Smile

Some sites tell me that these works are made in late fall when plants are in a dormant state, some say that should be done right after blooming - I'm confuse Neutral

Thanks
Joao

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Re: The Big Girl's Blouse Azalea

Post  Justin Hervey on Thu Sep 10, 2009 8:30 am

Endearment, it deserves Fiona.
I'm with Mr. Treevolution on this one... nothing wrong with letting our collections do some strutting once a year.

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Re: The Big Girl's Blouse Azalea

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