BONSAI WORLD A series of articles by The Shikoku Shimbun focuses on the attractions of bonsai which encapsulate small universes in containers.

Attraction of Satsuki: Flower Make Forget Hardship

June 6, 2016

 Tomio Ota in Takamatsu's Aji town is a fancier of Satsuki. His tree "Nikko" won the organizing committee award of the Taikan-ten Bonsai Exhibition held in Kyoto in last November. It is over 40 years since he was attracted by Satsuki and started to take care of it everyday. We interviewed him about the attraction of Satsuki.

Enjoy Throughout Year

 There are over 100 pots of Satsuki such as Nikko, Kozan, Kobai, Wakaebisu, and so on at Ota's house. He got the trees by herbaceous cutting and purchase and cultivates them for a long time. Some trees are over 60 or 70 years old.

There are many masterpieces of Satsuki in his garden.
There are many masterpieces of Satsuki in his garden.

 The flower season of Satsuki is short. Especially for fanciers, who pick the flowers out soon after blooming, it is said the period of it is between a week and 10 days.

 However, Ota says, "Satsuki can be enjoyed throughout the year. Once you are addicted to it, you can't stop taking care of. In summer, I can't go out because I need to water it. But the flowers in May make me forget the hardships. I'm living happily with it."

Ota taking care of "Nikko" which won the prize in Taikan-ten bonsai exhibition in Takamatsu's Aji town
Ota taking care of "Nikko" which won the prize in Taikan-ten bonsai exhibition in Takamatsu's Aji town

Key Is Water

 After the flower season, growers pick out the buds in June and the flower buds come out in July and August. Most leaves are fallen in winter, but the new leaves come out in the end of February. It helps the trees to have good balance.

 Ota says, "The atmosphere in winter is dreary but the flower buds are growing. After the transplant in the beginning of spring, flowers will bloom. The shape of tree is most beautiful in spring and autumn."

 The most important care is watering. He waters trees once in a day in spring and autumn, and once in two or three days. In summer, he does three times in a day: 10 am, 3 pm, and the evening. In addition, he fertilizes it in the end of February, May after flower season, and October. It is better to put a few fertilizers.

"Koyo" in full bloom
"Koyo" in full bloom

 Ota wants to show his trees in Tamamo Park, Green Festa Kokubunji, and Taikan-ten bonsai exhibition this year. He hopes young fanciers will enjoy the beauty of Satsuki more.
(By Shigeo Hano)
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