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Monday, September 19, 2011

San Diego demo part two

For the second part of my demo for the San Diego Bonsai Society ( I worked on a Ficus Nerofolia or Narrow leafed fig.
This was a tree I had grown from a cutting and was developing for use in a workshop. About 5 or 6 years ago we had a deep freeze ( deep for Southern California) and the trees froze down to the base. Many got thrown out but a few were saved by my assistant and they recovered and sprouted out with multiple branches. That left us with trees that had a very large base with multiple trunks. They're now excellent materials for a clump style which I will create the foundation of today. Ficus will develop large nebari or root bases when planted in shallow containers, which is why they were planted in these nursery flats. Here is the tree before starting work.
The first order of business is to thin the tree out a little so I can see the structure of it. I cut out branches growing up through other ones,  and where multiple branches grow from one place I reduced them to one or possibly two branches. I also removed any growth growing in the crotch of the branches and any branches growing inwards towards the trunk. We want all the branches to be growing outward and slightly up.

Finally I've got all the unnecessary branches removed and am left with what I will use to create the framework of the future bonsai. I know it looks a little bare now but remember - we're not trying to create an instant bonsai, but the foundation of a future bonsai
Now I'll use various sizes of wire to put movement in each trunk and to place them in the desired position. I'll also wire the primary branches to get them in place.
My goal for this tree is to create an image that is reminiscent of a large multi trunk fig tree like ones you might see in a tropical climate such as Florida or Hawaii. Even though there are multiple trunks they are not treated as individual trees but rather as part of the whole. The tree eventually will have a large rounded canopy, kind of umbrella shaped, formed by the branches on all the trunks.
I was a little pressed for time at this point so I didn't quite finish as much wiring as I would've liked, but I'm still satisfied that the foundation of the tree is in place. Here is the tree after the work. It is far from finished but bonsai is a process and we've got all the primary elements in place. A couple of years of developing the crown of the tree and I think we'll have a nice bonsai.
I hope you all enjoyed this post. As usual I welcome any comments or suggestions for future projects.
If any of you are in the San Diego area over the weekend of September 24th and 25th you should try to check out the fall bonsai exhibit presented by the San Diego Bonsai Club in Balboa Park in the Casa Del Prado. Check out their website for more info.

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