Talking of favorite bonsai professionals this bit was funny and a little un-nerving.....the conversation went like this
Me:" the quinces caught my eye, how much are they?"
Z. "there are four price brackets on that bench, one tree is by far the best one (and the most expensive), which one are you interested in"
Me. "the one in the middle, I'll show you.......here this one............"
Z. "that one!!.....the one behind it is the best one...............you like the same one Peter did"
I bought the quince on the spot as it is great & has unique qualities but there was a silent pause between us both as I though 'omg, am i starting to like all the odd weird trees' and Z was thinking 'Marcus picked the same tree out as Peter......why? and could I have got a few quid more' haha. Finally the car was officially full so i was allowed to leave :-) and luckily the Friday night rush was all gone so the M25 was all moving and just short of 5 hours later I was home with a beer in hand.
Part of my feelings about starting the shop are to give the best chance of success in bonsai to my customers so they go further in the hobby so I decided to repot every new tree into a good soil mix, prune out the big coiled roots and to wire the trees into the pots properly. The chinese trees can only be imported with a very sterile potting medium so no nematodes or other pathogens survive - this also means no goodness survives either and will be the main reason so many starter trees decline and die so quickly. Many chinese elms end up as indoor trees and they dry out too much in pure akadama so it is the one species that really likes a loam content to the mix. Even my big one has been in a soil / loam based mix for the last 23 years, so it does work.
Akadama, ezo grit or pumice and John Innes No.2 is the Chinese Elm mix for success.
Sunday morning was production line repotting and i'm so glad I did - some pots had virtually 90% roots so now there is a nice mix of soil and roots - no wonder so many elms dry out so fast. These trees only arrived in the UK 4 days ago but they are starting to leaf out all over now they are warming up and seeing some sun, so the perfect time to repot was straight away