I found this little beauty in my nursery this time.
I haven’t done much writing on the initial styling of a bonsai yet so I decided to show y’all how I do it.
I’m pretty sure I grew this from a cutting. I know I’ve had it for awhile because, for some reason,I had a real dislike for the green island ficus. But, with some counselling and the proper meds, I think I’ve reconciled with them now.
for those that don’t know, a ficus is a fig. The one used for food is the ficus carica. The fruit is called an infructesence. The fruits on the green island ficus don’t get much bigger than this. They are edible and they’re purple when ripe. Do not eat them unless you know that the tree hasn’t been treated with a systemic insecticide used to combat thrips. Thrips are a common pest that is hard to beat without the use of a systemic.
There are two reasons to defoliate and many reasons not too.
If the tree is healthy, defoliate the tree in the initial styling stage so you can see the structure. (it’s also easier to wire).
The second reason is balance. I’ll be root pruning this to put it into a training pot and by cutting the leaves, I will stimulate the tree into growth.
There are many trees we don’t do this to. So don’t think that what I do to this ficus is good for a juniper.
This growth habit is typical of the green island. It is more of a shrub than a tree and it likes to fall down and throw roots down etc etc. and this was one reason I didn’t like the species. But it’s also one reason to like it too.
This is the native green one.There is a brown variety (that has been more successful and is overtaking the native one)that was imported from Cuba a long time ago. My nursery is, it seems, is a major breeding spot (bowchickawowow!); I find eggs all the time. I re-bury them when I find them, the anoles eat bugs.
Now, I know that some of you don’t care about tangled roots. Some of you care very passionately about untangling them. Some wonder what the hell I’m talking about. Some people don’t want aerial roots at all; some wish very much to have them. We call them Californians.
I like them,but I like them,mostly, untangled.
Bonsai is an Artform. In art, it is not the goal for the artist to copy nature (thats what forensic photography is for) but for the artist to see “something” and present that image so it translates that “vision” into a language or medium that the non-artist can appreciate.
So it’s a process of simplification, addition or subtraction, and visual trickery. Example: If we are painting a landscape of a pond and trees and we want to show nature, we probably won’t show those power lines. If we want to show mankind’s intrusion into nature we will, and put in some litter and abandoned cars as well.
We might add a heron or duck to the first and show a dead fish in the second.
It is the artist’s story to tell. But it should be a conscious thing to leave in or take out various details.
Anyway. I choose to comb out these roots.
Here’s a trick, if you want an aerial root but don’t have any, you can take a branch and bend it down so the tip goes into the soil.
The branch will root and become that root (take note Californians) you can also take a rooted cutting and thread graft it through a horizontal branch, thus creating your aerial root.
I won’t do either here but it does work.