Some super-fuel for a busy morning.
Gotta love the goetta!
We had way to many trees…
….it was an ungodly time in the morning and after way too little sleep…..
Time for the impossible.
Yeah, that was a long, painful setup for a lame “flying pig” joke.
This was a workshop I led for the Greater Cincinnati Bonsai Society.
As all good workshops should begin, I had my students defoliate their trees.
The trees we worked on: taxodium distichum, the bald cypress.
Let me set the mood as we watch the defoliations.
The day before I had the day-long ficus salicaria styling session with Evan.

There were many beers.
That night we drove from Covington, Ky to Springfield, Oh for a concert by Get the Led Out, a band that plays Led Zeppelin songs with all of the instrumentation and vocals from the studio recordings. Which means that, at times, there might be three guitarists and two vocalists (Zeppelin liked to overdub a lot).
Now, this isn’t a theatrical act where they try to look like the original members, they just love the music and try to make it sound right.
Kinda like how a symphony orchestra plays.
The band does a great job at it too.
Should they stop in a town near you, I recommend seeing them.
This was the set list.
Anywho, we didn’t get home until near 2 am.
And we had to be at the Garden Civic Center for the workshop at 7 am.

I felt sorry for this student, she is a pretty new beginner.
So I did a little pruning to make it easier for her to take all the leaves off.
She looks a little perturbed.
It’s her first workshop.
The next step was pruning and wiring.

Or, in some cases, raffia!
Wait ’til you see those trees.
Some people chose small trees and they ended up as sweet, old and spooky looking shohin.



We got to practice the flattop style on some of the taller ones that had branches which would support that look.

And we made some pretty neat Jin too.
Our newbie ended up with a cool flattop…
She seems to like it….or maybe not.
But now for some fun.
Evan’s tree.
And this one.
Are you ready?
Let’s work on Evan’s cypress first.
First bend.
We are able to do this because the raffia keeps the outside of bend from breaking in the same way that a pipe bender works. It compresses the outside of the bark and keeps it from together.
It works.
Evan doesn’t seem impressed.
I think it’s cool.
Maybe he’s just hung over.
This next tree was my favorite of the morning.
There’s so much potential.
Tee hee! I feel like a school girl with a new Barbie.
First bend.
And the finished tree.
Before I get complaints that cypress don’t grow this way, they do. Look up a gentleman named Joe Samuels (try the Bonsai Mary website ) who has photographic and artistic representations of naturally occurring cypress that look like these.
But even so, this thing we call bonsai is an art.
And these trees are definitely artistic.
It seemed as though everyone had a good time and were pleased with their trees.
I should also note, I stole this technique from Guy Guidry, cypress virtuoso extraordinaire.
The aftercare I recommended after the work we did:
Doing this type of work at this time on a cypress is a little stressful to the tree but they should do ok if the students soak the tree in a bucket of water until the new growth fills in.
And fertilizer. Lots of organic fertilizer.
Phew, that was hard work.
I think I deserve this.
Lunch at the Hofbräuhaus in Newport, Ky.
There’s nothing like good German dark beer and various wurst to fortify the soul.
My next stop is Indianapolis and a little town called Washington, both in Indiana.

4 thoughts

  1. I have been really enjoying your blog. There is so much amazing information. I’m new to Bonsai, I just got a bald cypress, I am wondering what season I should be doing this type of work on the tree? I am wanting to add some Jin and Shabari…


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