There’s a cutie.

I picked up this little ficus from Mike Blom, of Emblem bonsai, down Loxahatchee way. He was a vendor at the last (2019) BSF convention and he will be back. I get some of the best material from him.

In fact, the one on the right was from him as well. But that tree, and the one next to it are for another story. for another day.

Today, this sweet lil’ thing is the star!

Mikes genius is in creating amazing taper in short spaces and giving the tree loads of character.

I mean, damn! It’s only about four inches tall, maybe three, and it looks like a gnarly, 4000 year old English elm.

Or it will, in a year or two.

I can see it. That’s why I bought it. Get the trunk.

The work today: Changing the potting front a little….

….about here…

….trying not to damage this tiny, yet very important aerial root, which will be an integral part of the nebari in a few years. …

…..and prune off some of the branches and and get, of course, it wired up.

First step done. Even though it’s winter, I can rotate a tree in the pot without damaging it.

And it’s still Florida, so, yeah. Remind me to put some fertilizer on it when I’m done.

Now to prune.

A shohin or mame tree is a little more difficult to style, than a big tree, for a few reasons; mainly, obviously, because it’s smaller without as many branches.

This particular tree one has a fair number of choices though, so it should be a little easier.

To begin, as always, go back to basics.

-One or two branches from the same spot.

In this case, I’ll be choosing more often two, to help fill in the canopy.

-The best choices for branches are those going in the general area you want them to go in.

Like the one below. It’s leaning back towards the rear of the tree. It won’t take an heroic loop of wire to move it.

Whereas this one, looking at it with the front of the tree towards the left, would need to be wired to the pictures right, and it’ll look forced.

This is the back of the tree. Unfortunately, these branches have a strong upward bend. We shall have to do some moving on them.

I wish this branch weren’t coming from the front of the tree, but it is and it’ll have to go.

Here’s what’s left:

–Try for radially spiking branches around the trunk. It’s that whole Fibonacci thing, like a snails shell.

Now for wire.

I’ll be using exclusively 1mm anodized aluminum wire.

I’ll explain why in a second.

One more difficulty with small trees is wiring small branches. Though this one has a problem that many large trees have, the anchors are long and not as sturdy as I’d like. On large trees, we can drive screws into the trunk, or use heavier wire, which provides more structure and holding power. On a small tree, that’s not so easy. So doubling and tripling the wire is the best way here.

It’s a little messy, and loose, but it’s a tiny tree and I have gorilla hands.

It’s loose so the branches can grow into the wire. The smaller the wire, it seems, the worse the wire marks.

The wires are secure and effective though. That’s what matters more when we wire. If I wanted a finished look, I’d use 22 gauge copper and you’d not see the wire at all.

Every branch is wired except this one. To get to it I’ll have to do what one just cannot do, cross the streams, uh, I mean the wire.

Let me do some bending and see if I can get away with not having to. Nope. I need to wire it. If you must cross wire, make it neat. And only do it when the anchor is only achievable if you cross. The branch not breaking is more important than any perceived “neatness”.

There we go!

I suppose I could leave it with the leaves on it. But then I wouldn’t be living up to my image now, would I?

From the left…

From the right….

Birds eye view….

Glamour shot!

Check out Mike’s stuff from Emblem Bonsai on his website Here , at his nursery in SE Florida, and he’s also been posting on the Facebook auction sites.

In the spring, a new pot, but for now, just let it grow!

See ya’

5 thoughts

  1. Super

    On Thu 12 Dec, 2019, 8:39 PM Adam’s Art and Bonsai Blog, wrote:

    > adamaskwhy posted: “There’s a cutie. I picked up this little ficus from > Mike Blom, of Emblem bonsai, down Loxahatchee way. He was a vendor at the > last (2019) BSF convention and he will be back. I get some of the best > material from him. In fact, the one on the right was fr” >


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