On my recent trip to Ohio, I had the pleasure to visit and work with both the Cincy and the Columbus clubs as well as a few private gardens. My host for the trip was Evan. I met him a several years ago when he called me up, out of the blue one day, asking about places to go for bonsai in the Orlando area. His daughter was going to high school in the area at the time and he was down visiting her. I mentioned Schley’s Bonsai in Deland, Mike Rogers’ Bonsai Studio, and maybe a few others. Then I invited him to my place. That’s where the friendship began. 

Now, whenever he’s down, I put him to work. And when I visit him, he hands me a beer and puts me to work too. 

I drove to Cincinnati again  because I had workshop trees for both the Cincy and the Columbus clubs to deliver  (I’m a masochist, that’s 900 miles one way. For you metrically challenged readers, that’s 1448 km). When I arrived, the Cincy heavens greeted me with this show: 

 After a brief “ooooh” and “ahhhhh” session, Evan put me to work.

 First up, a bald cypress I had originally styled on my last trip up, two years ago. 

Here’s the tree when I worked on it then, before bending. 

During bending. 

And after. 

I know, kinda weird. 

And this is how it greeted me upon arrival this trip. 

In need of a little haircut. 

My first step was to clean up the foliage and thin it of unwanted growth. Like a bikini wax. Got one of those once (I was a Chippendale dancer in a previous life and I’m very hairy. My stage name was Harry the Hunk but I got the waxing because the ladies started calling me Hairy the Lunk. Man it stings!) 

I’m not going to totally denude the cypress (you like that word, denude, right? That’s the new term all the cool kids are using instead of defoliate. It’s sounds all posh and proper and all that). I could remove all the foliage, summer being the time to do work like that, but I’m not going to. Gotta keep you on your toes. 

Here’s an example of a branch before the clean up. 

And after. 

Not too harsh. Although it’s a conifer, it is also a deciduos tree. This is the leaf. 

It’s technically what’s called a “compound leaf”. Most conifers can’t be defoliated, whoops….sorry, denuded, but on a cypress, you can strip it bare and it will bud back like a ficus. I’m basically just removing those leaves that will be in the way when I wire. And I’m going to put about a pound of aluminum on this poor tree.  

Here we are all cleaned up, before wiring. 

And after wiring. 

I think it’s filling in pretty cool. I’m enjoying the progression. 

And, because the photos aren’t doing it justice, here’s a link to the tree on YouTube. Next step is some root grafting. 

Next I worked on a spruce. Yeah, that’s right, a Christmas tree. 

It has a nice shari. 

Definitely a Christmas tree. Mauro Stemberger had worked on it last but I didn’t style it, my goal was to carve it this trip. 

The apex looked like a pencil someone had chewed on to sharpen it. Id been looking at it for four years, it was bugging me that much. This was my year. I had my tools. And there was some rot towards the bottom of the trunk that needed work. 

The goal of any detail carving on existing deadwood is to preserve and try to match the “old” details to the new carving as best you can. I’ll let you be the judge if I was able to do that. 

First, we move the branches out of the way…….

Ouch! First blood to the tree. 

Removing some dead bark. 

And the carving. 

 Not a lot, but just enough. 
And, again, a YouTube video of the finished work. 

Then we went for pizza and a concert in Dayton. 

The band was Signs of Life: the Essence of Pink Floyd. Highly recommended. 

The pizza was Marion’s. I highly recommend both if you get the chance. 

The next two trees I worked on were a tamarind and a Natal plum. 

You see that heavy wire? I’m gonna bend that. 

The Natal plum just need some taming. 

Bend. Bend. Bend. 

I think I shortened it by a foot. 

And, I had to apologize to Evan. The amount of wire he’s gonna have to remove is a bit staggering. The plum had about a kilo on it. 

It’s going to need a smaller pot after a while but Evan didn’t have one handy. 

And that’s all. I’ll cover some of the demo and workshop trees I worked on in another post. After all that work, it was Miller time for me. 

Never fear, I’ve gone back to my old haircut since this pic. Don’t know what I was thinking. 

As a parting shot, Evan has this cool sedum he keeps on the windowsill above his sink. 

Thank you once again my friend. I hope to see you soon! 

2 thoughts

  1. Perfect timing! I have a bald cypress that’s straight as a straight thing but flexible as a thing that can bend. I was going to wire it last night, but the universe said wait.
    I’m glad I did.
    I’m gonna bend the ever loving heck out of that tree tonight.


  2. After seeing your work on the cypress, it got me thinking about this mimosa air layer I have.

    Question for you Adam ( or anyone else for that matter ), what style would you recommend for mimosa trees? I’m thinking semi-cascade. It’s an inch and three quarter diameter wide at the rootball and several new sprouts that have appeared ( one of them is about one foot long ).

    Any ideas or pointers would be greatly appreciated.

    I can send pictures if that would help.



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