And….. I don’t remember what day it is but whatever day it is, it must be Baton Rouge. At least.
Time to have some coffee with Lowell Tilly.
Man, that guy can drink coffee.
And he has some trees too, wow.
His main interest is the live oak style (which isn’t generally done with an oak).
Here’s a few boxwoods he’s worked on.

I arrived at Lowell’s house around noon, I guess, and he already had a few people and trees ready for me to work on.
He gave me a brief tour of his collection….and some coffee.
Then it was to work, an azalea.
When pruning an azalea keep in mind that, unlike most plants, it is not apically dominant. You could actually kill the top if you prune it too hard.
That’s one reason that azalea bonsai tend to be taller than is normally accepted (the other reason is there’s more tree to hang the flowers off of).
Then we have a ficus microcarpa I bent down into a cascade.
I don’t think she expected that but I think she likes it.
Then, my favorite, some carving.
Lowell had a water oak (quercus nigra) or one of the various mutt species associated with it.
It’s a tree that tends to be short lived in the ground but could have potential as a bonsai.
This one is half dead, which might have been from being too shaded (they need FULL sun).
My strategy carving this tree is to keep the long branches but reduce and hollow out the trunk.

Here’s a YouTube video for your amazement and my edification:
click here, no…here
I’m not going to style the tree because, it being deciduous and it living in a semi tropical environment, I could kick it out of dormancy and weaken the tree come real winter (the cold could kill any new growth) and then there won’t be much energy left for the spring burst of growth.
After that it was time for some coffee and then dinner (crawfish étouffée).
And some coffee before bed too.
The next morning, after breakfast and coffee, we went on a tour.
I got to see the LSU campus (with some great live oak and crepe myrtle)

I visited a real plantation house.

And I toured the Louisiana Museum, where I learned about the ancient Mississippian mound builders, Andy Jackson, sugar cane, and Huey Long.
By that time it was time for a little pick me up. We got a coffee and had some chicken and sausage gumbo (without okra for some reason. Can it even be called gumbo if there’s no okra?)
After that I saw the best looking lantana I had ever seen.
Talk about oak tree style. That is, indeed a lantana.
With but moments to spare, we finally make it to the meeting.
By which point, looking at all the trees I have to work on, I could really use a coffee.
This a pic of Lowell taking a pic of me.
If you zoom in on the lens you can see infinity (after about six coffees, that is)
I didn’t get all the pics but here’s a boxwood (the lady brought three!)
And, finally, a big ficus salicaria just screaming for a trunk chop.
Where does it need to be chopped?
Did I chop it?
Wrong time of the year.
Bonsai is art, but it’s also horticulture.
The tree would live and grow and put out branches etc….but the top most likely wouldn’t root at this time and it’d be a shame to throw it out.
And, except for some boudin and cracklings, that is my Baton Rouge adventure.
Thanks to all who had me (and Lowell and his family, especially for the home cooking and the coffee).
I will see you all soon!
Next stop, Gulfport Mississippi.
Oh, where’s the red stick? I was in Baton Rouge, or, red stick…..

One thought

  1. I think your post is excellent. First time I heard someone finally say let it be. Gotta work with each individual specimen. Love that.


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