Last Sunday I was feeling a little lazy and didn’t want to do much. So I sat on a milk crate, set up a backdrop for some photos, got a long extension cord and plugged in the fan, and did a little trimming. Got some cold beverages too.
This is a cultivar of a crepe myrtle that was advertised a few years ago as “firecracker” or something silly like that. It is actually the new leaves that are the characteristic that was bred into it. They come out a severe, deep red. The flowers happen to be red too.
I got the tree from my friend Ryan Frye, or, Thor, if you’ve met him.
He did a great job in the initial stages. There has been die back on the branches from when I got them from him but it has recovered.
Next year it will shine.
If you are paying attention to the date (early September) you should be asking yourself why is this fool doing this kind of work on a deciduous tree this late in the year. Well, firstly, I am only doing this to the crepes. And secondly, I am in Orlando.
Here in Orlando, I will get one more “seasons” worth of growth from them.
The two points worth noting: crepe myrtle and Orlando. Don’t do this to a maple and definitely not in Indianapolis.
I got this crepe from Mike Lebanik, dedicated student of Mary Madison. It is the most vigorous little tree I own. I have literally cut it back (since March) 5 times. This will be the sixth. I can see why he got rid of it. It’s hard to keep up with. But the trunk shape is so good I can’t imagine why he got rid of it.
And the new buds beginning to pop.
In Orlando, a deciduous tree will go dormant in the heat of the summer. If you time it right and defoliate in about June, you will get a growth spurt during and extra season we in Central Florida enjoy. Not counting the 6th one I’m taking advantage of now.
The crepes , though, will grow later than most deciduous trees; thus, we exploit it.
It’s not really the ideal time to work on them. You can trim them a bit now but I’m not going too. I’ll let it gain more energy for the winter. Winter is a bit stressful on them (even in Central Florida, but that’s another post)
Another crepe from Ryan. The structure on this one is unique. That first branch is very distinct. I like it a lot.
The story behind it is this: it’s a seedling off of a giant one he collected (that will be a masterpiece when matured). Ryan is a good artist. I wish he did more bonsai.
I got this at a convention a few years back. I haven’t developed it much though. I was attracted to the near perfect nebari it has. The proportions are somewhat classical and it has branching in some good spots. I promise I’ll work it.
This one is my favorite. Why?
I think that, in the world of bonsai (and more so with the advent of Facebook and such) there are so many images of the “perfect” tree that this perfection seems to be not so rare anymore. For myself though, I have a preference for material that is unique and different and the challenge for me is trying to make those qualities into a tree that is coherent and believable.
This crepe has a challenging nebari (base) to say the least.
The top of the photo is the front of the tree.
I’ve wired all those branches that way.
I do have a plan for it but for now it just has to grow.
That’s the special thing about Bonsai as an Art. It is never finished. And art, if you are an artist, is really the process of creation. And by the tree growing and changing, it makes that process more than a fleeting thing. It’s more like music or theatre. A composer may write a piece of music but every time he plays it it is different.
(I do believe a ” Philosophy and Art ” post must be written. That will be a hard one to write, probably as hard as that long-promised soil post will be.)
Another boxwood. I call this style “Florida Pine Tree Style”. It is reminiscent of the slash pines we have here. The forestry service calls them lightening rods. They will grow straight and tall and then, after getting too close to the harsh Florida sun, start to twist and get all gnarly. (It actually has to do with the roots. When the root tips and the top growth get too far apart, the tree will begin to grow down, allowing gravity to pull the water to the growing tips. The process of moving water through a tube (tree) gets more difficult as the tube (tree) gets longer. Mythbusters did a show on it. Look it up.)
I can’t remember how many more trees I worked on but, here is the final result.
All neat and pretty! Ready for the show! (pop culture reference, a prize to whomever can guess it)
I also moved some more trees into the area, and some other trees out.
(There’s that carved Brazilian rain tree I posted about and some more of the trees I’ve shown.)
I did get some really good pics too.
And I did get to work on my ginkgo too.
Not too much as its almost time to put it to bed for the winter but I did clean it up a bit.
I’ll save that posting for next year.
It was such a hot day, and I had so many cold beverages, I had to have Dave bring me more when he came over.
See ya’ !