The Central Florida Bonsai Club has an annual fieldtrip in August where we visit Mary Madison’s home in Lake Placid Florida. Mary is, indisputably, the Buttonwood Queen, owing to the fact that probably 80% of all buttonwoods that have been displayed in high profile shows were first collected from the wild by her. She specializes in rescuing the trees before the bulldozer rips them out of the ground to make way for another retirement condo or timeshare highrise.
I carpooled with Sandy, Don, and Dick (or Richard, I’m not sure what he went by). Here’s Don riding his scooter at Mary’s, perusing the wares.
Then we have Judy in the back, Nanette in the front and the indomitable Paul Pikel sporting orange.
From front to back, the legend herself, Mary, Sandy, and Judy. And some heavy clouds just beginning. Look at that deadwood on the tree Sandy is holding! Looks like a snake about to strike.
I tried to warn Paul about not wearing a hat like Mary. The second pic is just moments later.
The traditional meal Mary serves when we have a group fieldtrip is….
….hot dogs, beans, potato salad and chips. And beer. Truly a feast for for royalty. And don’t tell me anything about not eating clean, Mary is in her eighties and she still goes into the swamps and mangroves to collect trees. Although I will say that the yellow gunk on the dog is a local sweet pickle relish she likes.
She also dared me to try this atomic-green habanero suace she likes.
There’s nothing like talking with a legend over beer and meat formed into tubes. She even stepped up this year and offered us Sam Adams and Yeungling instead of the usual Miller Lite. Come to think of it, this beer might be left over from a certain person who visits Mary. Well, if it is, I’ll gladly drink his beer. Bottoms up!
Sandy, wondering if this would root. Mary said, “Sure, you go ‘head and do it though. At my age, I don’t need to be taking cuttings” A Q&A session after the work. Mary will use mostly organics in her soil for buttonwood because, she says, they love to be wet.
So what did I get? I got this:
And what the hell is it? I went all the way to Mary Madison’s home, she of the buttonwoods, and I come home with a…….winged elm. And, because I have a hole in my abdominal wall and people think I’m an invalid, the guy on the scooter drags my tree to the car for loading. Let’s clean it up and cut it back.
At least it’s not a sharp stick in your eye. I think the next post will be a quick one on a buttonwood I got at Mary’s two years ago and somehow I missed styling it last year. Here’s a sneak peek.