Little ilex from Walmart

How many of my readers out there take the time, when going to a box store like Lowes or The Home Depot, to glance at the landscaping material in hopes of finding a bonsai diamond in the rough?
I do it every time myself.
The tree today I think came from Walmart.
20130808-143954.jpg
It was in 3 gallon nursery container and I think I put it into this training pot last year.
20130808-144900.jpg
I pruned it hard then, to the trunk line, and let it grow.
20130808-145037.jpg
I didn’t put too much thought into the planting position. Either that or I was deranged at the time.
20130808-145237.jpg
Which seems to be a theme here recently. Too many Stephen King books.
I had put this tree up for sale at Kawa Bonsai Societies Joy of Bonsai show in January 2013 and I was surprised that no one bought it. I think I only had $50 on it at the time.
Needless to say, it’s not for sale now.
20130808-145701.jpg
Can you see the trunk?
20130808-145837.jpg
I know, it looks like a dog turd with a Pom Pom on top.
Just wait and see
20130808-150004.jpg
This was the “front”
20130808-150119.jpg
Three cuts. I’ll make this tree with three cuts (some minor pruning cuts too, but those don’t count).
Let us commence
20130808-150555.jpg
Kinda thick, huh?
First cut
20130808-150644.jpg
20130808-150729.jpg
Second cut
20130808-150841.jpg
And third cut
20130808-150944.jpg
Now, I did cut the first branch back, so if you want to count that, you can. But I won’t. It messes up my narrative.
20130808-151058.jpg
And here you go
20130808-151205.jpg
Great little sumo with superior movement, right?
You guys know what’s coming next: this isn’t an Adam’s Art and Bonsai blogpost without wire.
And, believe it or not, only two pieces of wire.
One:
20130808-151540.jpg
20130808-151845.jpg
Who says that ilex schillings have brittle branches?
20130808-151929.jpg
This little, delicate branch is the new leader.
20130808-152107.jpg
Don’t even breathe on it.
And the second wire
20130808-152220.jpg
As I spin the tree
20130808-152337.jpg
you’ll see the two pruning scars where I first made some cuts two years ago
20130808-152523.jpg
Those won’t heal. But that’s ok, it makes the tree look older.
So now we have the tree in the pot showing the wrong front. What to do?
20130808-152633.jpg
I don’t repot ilex in the summer; only late winter through spring.
I can move it in the pot though.
20130808-153028.jpg
Pick it up and squash it back in
20130808-153140.jpg
I think I’ll also clean the top soil off and refresh it with new mix.
20130808-153308.jpg
Oh, don’t forget tying it in place; children and cats you know.
20130808-153408.jpg
Let’s talk seasonality. It is early August in Florida. I have 4 or 5 months growing time until the tree goes dormant for winter.
I can expect one or two pruning sessions,at least, on this tree.
In Orlando, I don’t have to worry about freezing with an ilex. It can withstand any temp Orlando can drop down to. Except for new growth.
New growth will definitely freeze.
So, for me, there won’t be any pruning past the end of November.
Keep that in mind when pruning your cold hardy trees.
A sketch
20130808-154211.jpg
The back
20130808-154359.jpg
Left side
20130808-154526.jpg
Right side
20130808-154657.jpg
And…. Ta Da…the front
20130808-154822.jpg
I may or may not try to remove the odd feature on the front that looks like a root. I think it gives it a little character.
Some fertilizer, lots of sun and this tree will be a sweet little tree next year by repot time.
I’ll post an update. If I don’t sell it.

About adamaskwhy

Visual artist specializing in bonsai, mostly.
This entry was posted in branch placement, rare finds and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to Little ilex from Walmart

  1. fellowshipofthemoss says:

    Yes!!! Got my first Yaupons from Home Depot.

  2. I am guilty! There is not a single store that has a garden center or any plants that I do not browse through for the hope of a good find. I often get “the look” from my wife and kids when out shopping as I wander over to the plant section. 🙂

    • adamaskwhy says:

      I know that “look” oh too well.

    • Joe says:

      Everytime I come home from the store by myself, my wife asks, “what did you buy?” I reply, “Nothing.” She says, “I know your hiding something in your truck. Did you buy another dead plant?” Why can’t we spend $4 on a tree that normally cost $20? Geez!

  3. Tom H says:

    Great little guy! Man, I need to commission you to draw some concepts for my trees. Sometimes it’s easy to lose sight of the final design when I get to hackin’.

  4. hippietwiggie says:

    That is a fat, awesome, gnarly trunk on that tree, It’s going to look great when the top fills out.

  5. tekylicata says:

    I’m hoping the Holly I have around my house are the same Ilex I can use to bonsai. Would any holly tree work? These holly have TREMENDOUS size trunks, about 24″ wide and 6″ thick. They are used as 16″ bushes along my sidewalk right now. The wife gave the go ahead to get rid of them. Little does she know that, yes they will be gone, however they will just have moved from the front to the back and put into tiny, little containers! Hehe!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s