This post is actually an update of this post.
We have two trees to work with today (to be honest it took two evenings) and a lot of pics. I’ll try to be less verbose than usual (verbose is such a verbose word, isn’t it?).
The trees are both forestiera segregatas: Florida privet or swamp privet.
They’re not true ligustrums (privet) but they are in the olive family (currently; as plant geneticists work their way through the millions of plants some of the familiar plants are being shuffled around. The old way of classification was visual. If they looked similar they must be related)
I’ll work on the bigger one first.
Reading over the last post, I carved it, did the initial wiring and reduced the roots to fit it into a bonsai pot.
Today I’ll be removing the old wire, rewiring (including the new branches) and repotting it into a ceramic bonsai pot.
Here’s a view of the back, right and left sides
As I alluded to in the last post, the Florida privet has very persistent deadwood but also the living tissue inexplicably will stay alive and thrive with very little behind it
Which is what I exploited in the design of the hollow on this trunk (you have to read part one of this post here).
The routine as I practice it.
Remove wire, then trim, then repot, then rewire and finish prune.
And this is what I want to see- wire marks
Why? Why in the whole wide history of bonsai and the world do I want wire marks? Oh, woe is me!
This tree, like many tropical trees, will not stay wired unless the wire cuts in. Or more specifically, the branch has to have grown enough to grow around the wire.
There just isn’t any way for the branch to set if it doesn’t grow in the wired position.
I’ll show you what I mean on the second tree.
Back to this tree though.
Ah! You can see the structure.
Let me point out this branch now
Do you see it?
You could remove every “bad” and unconventional branch that every bonsai teacher has told you to remove and make the tree fit some cookie cutter, stylized and preconceived aesthetic and what you end up with is a collection of mediocre, lookalike trees.
If you read the first article I said that I liked this branch because it set the whole tone of the tree.
To expand on this, if this were a jazz or rock song this branch is the riff that the whole song structure is built upon.
It’s one of the first branches you see (because it sticks out) and I’ve taken every other branch and wired and placed them to complement this branch.
I plan on turning the tree a little in the new pot
The new pot is shallower so I will need to remove a few unnecessary roots
That one was ugly
Here’s the finished tree
And the front
Now for the little tree
Looks more like a bush at this point.
I think I’ll turn it as well and make more deadwood on this tree
These two branches will go
Now, pay attention to this part.
I wired both of these trees at the same time last year. I removed the wire on the little one in April. The big one’s wire was just removed, (remember the wire marks) those branches stayed where they were wired.
This one’s branches
No wire scars. Lets let that sink in.
Lets defoliate and prune
That’s enough to work with.
I promised carving so, here you go
It’s hard to teach carving on a blog.
I am teaching a class at Erik Wigert’s nursery on October 13 and 14 but the classes are all booked.
I’ll be giving a power point presentation on Sunday morning (which, if you wanted to crash, that’s the best time to do it) and then a workshop Sunday afternoon and another workshop Monday morning.
Anyway, time to repot.
First, lets find a pot:
Too dark, too small
Too big and chunky
This ones not bad, a little wide
It’s even signed
But not right.
This one is good
Not deep enough though
Damn, you never have the right pot
This one is too wide too
And this one is ugly
And this one is…..wait
It’s not perfect but its just plain enough to be inconspicuous.
Ok, now to wire it before I lose the light
I should do a wiring class at my nursery.
A class on not just the mechanics but on the reason we put branches where they should go.
Mostly it’s learning how branches grow.
Sometimes it’s pure aesthetics too.
On this branch a rule was broken
First person to tell me where and why in a comment I’ll give a prize. You just have to come pick it up.
Here we go
Wait, not quite right.
What’s bugging me?
The branches are all the same distance apart.
Just by moving the secondary branches a bit you can hide a small flaw like that.
I suspect I’ll refine the carving one more time and fill in those spaces between the branches a little better as the tree grows.
Not bad for swamp weeds huh?