I tell you what, sometimes I live an interesting life. One time, when I was still in the Durable Medical Equipment field, fixing wheelchairs and such, I once removed a bougie for a guy, a big bougie, actually, which he let me keep, and still charged him for an inner tube and labor for fixing his wheelchair. It was my first Epcot tree. I know, I know, but the guy really saw me doing him a favor for getting rid of an unwanted plant than giving me a valuable bonsai.
But this isn’t a post about that bougie.
I have this client down in the Palm Beaches (I used to think there was only “West Palm Beach” but if one thinks about that, the “west” part tends to denote that there might be an east or north Palm Beach. But there’s no East Palm Beach, there is a South Palm Beach, though. So let’s get it straight; you have Palm Beach, West Palm Beach, Royal Palm Beach, North Palm Beach, Palm Beach Shores. Hell, there’s even a Palm Springs in the area. Thank Siri for Apple Maps when I visit) who asked me to help him with a…ah, big bald cypress. But that’s another story for another day (yes, it’s about an 8 foot tree, not a shohin by any measure).
Today’s blog post is about an equally impressive tree, a schefflera that’s about 40-50 years old. This was how I first saw it. In the dark, at Jupiter Bonsai. There was beer involved. The tree belongs to Greg. Somehow, I agreed to take his tree back home with me…….and, either find a pot for it, or make one. So we loaded it up in the van (Don’t hate on my luggage, it was on sale at Target) and back to Orlando I went.
I made some phone calls, followed some leads, chased a few rabbits down some holes, but, alas, there was no pot big enough, for this tree, in the state of Florida. What’s the matter with the pit it’s in? Well, it’s a terribly faded mica pot from Korea.
Dave and my son unloaded it for me. They love me. As for the pot, good thing I’m the creative type, right? And I have experience with making slabs out of concrete and using a new product called ShapeCrete. I did a blogpost on it a few months ago and I’m getting the hang of using it. I got this. I can handle the challenge. It’s just a matter of scale, right?
…….I’m guessing the new pot needs to be something like 28″x 41″ or so. And this will be a pot, with sides and drainage holes, as opposed to a slab. For a few reasons. First, I don’t like slabs much. No offence to you slab lovers out there but, I don’t know…..it seems too easy. Secondly, a concrete form with edges will be stronger and less prone to breaking because of structural integrity. That’s why I-beams and tubes are used to build structures as opposed to solid bars.
In order to make edges for the concrete, because it is technically a liquid until it cures, I’m going to need a frame. And, like all good craftsmen, I will do my maths on the wood. It’s always cool to find writing on the studs in the walls of my old, 100 year old house.
The pot’s edge finish I’m going for is in the same style as my “sexual chocolate” pot from the first ShapeCrete post (you’re gonna have to go read it now).
Which involved using a plastic sheet to roll out the ShapeCrete on and then place it into a form. You need to roll the concrete out bigger than the frame so that, as you lower the sheet into the wooden frame, the sides are formed.
24 hours later…..
It cures in 24 hours but doesn’t reach full strength for 28 days. And you have to soak it in water to leach out the alkalinity for a week or so.
Some of the things I did waiting for the pot to cure.
I feel like a woman waiting for her menses. 28 days. A lunar cycle. My birthday, if it was February. And finally, it’s time to pot the tree.
We move it (actually, Guaracha and Dave moved it for me. I’m not supposed to lift more than a gallon of milk, thanks pendejos!) they reminded me, it’s usually the best idea to wait to water it until it’s in place. I like it!
That’s all folks! Make sure you like, share, comment (I’m looking for “ask Adam why questions for the video series on YouTube). Check out the Instagram, Facebook and YouTube feeds. Follow the blog! And if you like my stuff, I’m on Patreon now, check it out, my son need a bigger shirt.