I’m early and I’m sitting in the parking lot.
The gate is locked.
I’m at the Brevard Bonsai Society’s Annual Zoo Show at the Brevard Zoo.
Might as well do something productive.
A willow leaf ficus I brought along just for this occasion.
I worked on it maybe a month ago, but I didn’t blog about it, so this is the first time you’ve seen it.
At least I think so. I might have posted it on various social media platforms.
It’s gotten somewhat shaggy since I’ve worked on it, as to be expected.
After an initial styling (or even the second or third styling) I will let the tree run wild to regain strength after the brutal beating I just gave it.
Time for some more, should I say, gentler discipline.
First, I remove the wire…..uh oh, do I have any wire? Tools?
I left all my stuff in my booth, behind that locked gate.
Good thing I keep a spare set of tools in my car (What?! You don’t?)

But, I don’t have wire…..except for what I take off, I’ll have to be creative.
I need a work surface.
Too high, maybe on the hood…..
Spectacular, they choose this time to turn on the sprinklers.
I know, in the back.
That works.
I get the old wires off.
I’ll need more though, I found these strewn about my van.
It’s not enough.
Let me prune, maybe someone will show up in the meantime.
Some establishing shots.

You may be thinking,” Wow, where do I start?”
This is the easy part. Start at your basic lessons.
Any branch growing down, up, or in the crotch of a branch, prune off.
Any place there are multiple shoots from one spot, keep the strongest one and prune out the rest.
With this tree, that’s a lot.
That leaves us (get it, leaves…leaf) with this.
Then a quick shaping for branch length.
Now it’s time to wire, but I need some #1 wire desperately….wait, the box I’m using, I think I have some in there from the New Orleans trip.
Yes! Back in business!
Before wire.
And I work my way up to the top of the tree where I have the bent over apex I use when doing an initial styling.
It’s called the “Puerto Rican Top”.
Basically, you bend over the apex and turn it into a side branch and use a side branch as the new “apex”.
It accomplishes three things: one, it enhances taper because you’re obviously going from thick to thin, you are putting movement into the tree and, it fills in the top so that the tree looks more developed after the styling. This last helps when you bring the tree home after a meeting and your wife sees it. She is less likely to say “You payed how much for that stick?!?”
But it is a temporary solution.
The next step is to start cutting it back for taper.

Almost done….
Wait! The gates are open!
Finally, I really have to take a….um, I have to perform my daily constitutional.
Let me load up here and I’ll be back to the tree in a second.
Oh! Lookie here, it’s my demo tree for the afternoon show.

It’s a ficus phillipenensis…what could I possibly do to it?
Man, I gotta go……..…………………………………………………..
Ok, I’m back.
Where was I?
Ah, my booth.
And the ficus salicaria.
I’ve left this one branch in the back.

I’ll sometimes have my “number one branch” be a back branch just to annoy people.
I don’t think I need it here though.
Are you ready?
Here it is…
And the front.
Not bad. People at the show kept bugging me because they wanted to buy it.
It’s not for sale yet, sorry.
And you’re wondering about that demo tree, the phillipenensis, right?
It’s on my Facebook page- Adam’s Art and Bonsai Studio Nursery.
Go check it out.
And make sure you check out the zoo show next year, the club is filled with great people with awesome trees.
See ya’.

6 thoughts

  1. Another wonderful transformation! And I love your resourcefulness….your posts are helping me gain more confidence at ‘seeing the tree in the tree.’ You are a great teacher! (BTW: this post made me LOL!!)


  2. Hi Adam,

    Great job on the ficus. I also notice that the leaves seems a little kind of weird. I mean, the are way to narrow and some of them curls to a side. I also have this same “problem” with a ficus salicaria new growth. The leaves did not use to look like that, but after an initial work of pruning back and wiring the now the new growth are way to narrow and curled. I think is an insect problem so I have been spraying with insecticidal soap which hasn’t help. I was thinking on moving on into a systematic insecticide but now I am thinking that it might be a lack of iron problem. What do you think it might be?


    1. I wouldn’t worry about it. The leaves will be a little smaller after a pruning, it’s trying to put out those little solar panels again as fast as it can so it puts out twice as many. But it only needs a certain square inch so the leaves stop growing bigger when it reaches that number. As for the twisting ones, I don’t think it’s an insect. I see it on all of them and it could be a reaction to the sun or maybe the growing tip was damaged when you pruned it. I don’t worry about it anymore either.


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 )

Facebook photo

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

Connecting to %s