Look what I found!

A dear friend and patron, Marty, found out about a bonsai sale in the Tampa area that was on Craigslist. He, in turn, found out about it from one of my Saturday Sarasota Studygroup students, Pete. What they were doing looking at Tampa’s Craigslist, I don’t know, but I’m glad they found it.

The listing was made by the son of a recently passed bonsai practitioner. I can only guess that it was sudden because some of the mans trees were recently worked on.

It’s always a sad day when I have to visit a deceased person’s collection. To walk amongst a man’s life passion, who just isn’t here anymore to continue the work, is humbling. Seeing a freshly pruned branch, or the newly applied wire (that will need to come off next month) always pushes home the reality that life is short and precious. That you may do something today, in hopes that it will come to fruition tomorrow, and tomorrow may never come, gives me pause. Makes me wonder why.

Make today count.

And, in that vein, I think I shall have a Redd’s Apple Ale, and you all (my perpetual readers) may join me, if you’d like.


Both the tree and the ale.

I’m trying to figure out my front.

The two fronts above have good taper, but below looks more chunky. And you can see some movement.

Before I decide, I’ll defoliate.

There we go.

Next, the bottom. The tree’s roots are kinda taking over the pot. I think I need some fortification and liquid encouragement. B&B.

In fact, it may have removed some of the inhibitions whilst imbibing, and resulting in the creation of the video below.

I’ll tell you what, if you ain’t havin’ fun doing bonsai, then you ain’t doin’ it right.

My front. New pot.

I like it.

My very first “real” exposure to a bonsai professional, way back when I was a young man, grasping life by the horns and still full of piss and vinegar (now I’m just getting old and I’m just full of shit and lactic acid) was at the Central Florida Bonsai Club. I was maybe two meetings in, and a superstar bonsai guy (who shall remain nameless) is leading a byot workshop when suddenly he is presented with a schefflera. This dude, (who had been dispensing little gems of advice, such as, “I have a little wooden mallet that, on trees which need trunk thickening, I will, in the evening when I am sipping my aperitif, oh-so-gently, tap said skinny trunk to make it fatter”) preceded takes a look at the schefflera and pronounces it to be a “mutt” bonsai.

I kid you not, this fella, who literally advised people to take a hammer and smack a skinny trunk to make it thicker, had the temerity to call another persons tree a mutt.

The tree belonged to a brand new guy, and his wife. A very young couple who were (were, past tense) very proud of this little tree they just had a few questions about. And maybe just wanted validation and encouragement.

Anyway, this Professional took a look at the Schefflera tree and wondered (because he didn’t know) if you could even wire them. I believe if you go into an area to work on trees, and are paid to do so, at least know what you’re doing. Am I right?

We never saw that couple again.

Here’s my tree. It’s a good bonsai.

Granted, it’s big. But my first trees weren’t.

Be nice.

Enjoy your life.

Don’t believe everything you hear, and half of what you see, but, more importantly….

…..don’t lose faith.

And lastly:

You don’t need permission to do bonsai.

5 thoughts

  1. Luv your stuff,but please change your black background. Hard to read your literary genius.
    Thank you so much. Have you ever been or heard of Vancouver ls. Great bonsai country.


  2. How will a Schefflera push new growth after defoliation, meaning do the new leaves come out of where the old petiole connects to the branch? Are the new leaves noticeably smaller? What about back budding? How do you encourage ramification on a Schefflera. So many questions… And, thank you so much for blog.


    1. The new growth comes from the tip, and when you cut the tip, the new buds do emerge from the base of the petiole.
      They get smaller by getting more ramification, and cutting the grow tips is the only way to get that.
      It’s not easy though. Lots of fertilizer and pruning.


  3. “deceased person’s collection” – what no name? Seems a shame not to know the person’s name that loved that tree. Great work on it and it is a GREAT find!


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