SATSUKI AZALEA, TSUKI NO SHIMO

Without a doubt, this has to be my favorite azalea.  The flowers in the early morning sun seem to have a shimmer to them or they seem to glisten, it is hard to find the words to explain it.  I am certain that the fellow who named it was also seeing what I see because from what I have read, "tsuki no shimo"  translates to "frost of the moon" or "moon frost".  He was right, there is no Earthly comparison, but when I look at the flower I can see that maybe if the moon did or does have frost, that it  just might glint or glimmer just as these flowers do.

Another interesting characteristic of this satsuki is that the leaves curl lengthwise.  It adds some interest during the rest of the year when there are no flowers.  Often when I post pictures of it on some of the bonsai forums, someone usually tells me that something is wrong with it or that it is suffering from some nutritional deficiancy.  I can see that conclusion if you are not familiar with this cultivar.

Curled Leaves of Tsuki no Shimo

I recieved this azalea around 2012-2013ish as a rooted cutting of several years, growing in a one gallon nursery pot.  I got it from my Dad, who also grows bonsai, you can check out his trees at www.bnjl.com.  I started thinking about what I was gonna do with it in October of 2013 and made the decision to develop it as a cascade or semicade.  One thing to note, this cultivar is slow growing.  It doesn't throw out the long shoots typically seen on most azaleas, so it takes a while to get it to look like something.  On a positive note, since it is slow growing, the foliage is easy to keep in tight pads.

October 2013

October 2013

October 2013

When I posted these pictures on Bnut back in 2013 I got a little ribbing about using the garbage can as my stand for photos, it was kinda funny but a good lesson on trying to take proper photos.

Late Feburary-early March is a good time to repot azaleas in the Heart of Dixie, so in March of 2014 I repotted shimo into a really nice Byron Myrick  pot that I had him make for me.  I used my standard soil mix, 40% lava/40% pumice/20%pine or fir bark.  The subject of bonsai soil is very controversial and can lead to some "passionate" discussions on bonsai forums.  The most important thing that you can do is to experiment, find out what works in your area, and stick to it.

March 2014 Repot

March 2014 Repot

March 2014 Repot

March 2014 Repot

March 2014 Repot

March 2014 Repot

March 2014 Repot

March 2014 Repot

It seemed to like its new home and in May I was rewarded with a pretty good showing of flowers.  This is why I grow azaleas as bonsai, they are so beautiful. Also, I like the way the buds on this one look, they remind me of the old style christmas tree lights.

Buds Opening May 2014

Buds Opening May 2014

Buds Opening May 2014

May 2014 Flowers

May 2014 Flowers

May 2014 Flowers

May 2014 Flowers

More To Come...

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