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Masako Esaka 3

Welcome Spring!

A display with flowering herbs helps to make your life more colourful, especially in spring. By bringing the spirit and its emotions into the house, you can rediscover the pleasure of looking at nature after a long, pallid winter time. One can use all kinds of pots to make the composition unique. In this case the artist uses curious containers created by the ceramic artist Mitsue Kataoka.

The shape of this pot is very original, it's kind of a double pipe which can easily created from a single slab of clay. Since both vessels are separate, species that need a lot of humidity can be combined with ones that prefer dry soil. You can combine plantes with totally different soil requirements; but of course the plants should require the same amount of sun or shadow. It can be interesting to give each of the vessels its own character and select plants with different flowering periods, so that you can enjoy the composition for longer. In this case the artist combined alum root (Heuchera sanguinea) that has a more vertical growth pattern with white rock cress (Arabis caucasica) that has a low, spreading growth.

Right: Alum root (Heuchera sanguinea), left: White rock cress (Arabis caucasica). The Heuchera is an evergreen herb that belongs to the Saxifragaceae family. In the wild it grows to a height of 10 to 25 cm in rocky, steep mountain areas. It flowers from May to August. Being a robust species it is quite frost resistent and doesn't need winter protection. In the summer it shouldn't be exposed to full sunlight, but rather be put into semi shade. The Arabis is evergreen too and belongs to the Cruciferaceae family. Its height is 8 to 15 cm and it flowers between March and August. It is tolerant towards both frost and heat. It is well suited for forest and rock plantings, but also has fine qualities as a single plant.

Smal meshes are attached to the drainage holes.

After removing the dry leaves, the plant is removed from the pot and the old soil is carefully removed. The roots should not be damaged in this process, otherwise there's a danger of losing the flowers.

Filling in a drainage layer and the substrate. The recommended soil mixture consists of Akadama (70%) and Lava (30%).

Filling the container up to the rim.

The small Heuchera is positioned by carefully working the substrate into the roots.

The same procedure for the seconds plant: wilted flowers are removed, the plant is removed from the pot and the old soil is carefully removed without damaging the roots.

Finally, after filling in the drainage layer and the substrate, the substrate is worked into the roots to position the plant correctly.

Water abundantly until clear water is running from the drainage holws of the pot. To avoid damaging the flowers, the pot should be watered from the edges.

White rock cress (Arabis caucasica) is a species that is easy to propagate, but moss interferes with its growth. Therefore, a fine layer of lava granules (with a particle size of 2mm) is used instead.

The pot of the Heuchera is slightly tilted, so moss on the surface can be effective against erosion. The moss is first watered thoroughly. It is applied by pressing the sides slightly into the soil.

Removing the spore capsules of the moss, and using tweezers to remove little grasses.

Using the tweezers, the moss is arranged on the surface.

The protection provided by the moss makes watering easier.

Heuchera sanguinea (with red flowers) and Arabis caucasica (with white flowers). The dark flowers of the Heuchera make the white flowers of the Arabis more prominent and create a joyful, lively atmosphere. After assembling, it's recommended to protoct the composition from wind and put it into semi-shade so that the roots are able to recover.

This article was kindly provided by BONSAI ART.

Translation: Stefan Ulrich

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