I was over at my new Bonsai friend Ben's house exploring his growing collection of trees. I was there to help him with some trees, teach him some Bonsai technique, and have some laughs. We were walking through his trees and this Burtt davyii nana was a tree that caught my eye.
This tree was bought from my good friend Mike Rogers. It was bought because it's a ficus and hard to kill. This tree was begging for some love so I told Ben this tree would be a great way to start the day and teach him a few things. So we got to defoliating and trimming
Some ask why defoliate trees. The reason is to be able to see into the tree and make it easier to wire, but to also reduce the size of the leaf. Now it is time for wire and placing branches.
Something I was always taught and I told Ben this, is to do all the tree work in the current pot because if you take the tree out and put it in a new pot then try to move branches... The tree isn't secure in the pot so you will be shaking the tree which isn't good for the tree's roots.
Now that all of the tree work is done, lets take the tree out and look at the roots.
This tree looks like it hasn't been repotted in a few years. The soil is very broken down and is in need of new soil. Lets go to the hose to see what roots we really do have.
That big tap root needs to go! Then those circling roots. Lets get to cutting! Here is the result
Now it is time to choose a pot.
I found this pot. Ben said the pot is by Tani Ranzan and we both agreed that the tree would look great in the pot! Here is the pot.
So then I showed him how to tie the tree into this cool pot.
Here is how the tree turned out.
The top of the tree needs to be moved right but I didn't because the tree was cracking. This would give me nice movement. Mike the original owner thought the tree came out nice. Ben and I both were very happy with the result and can't wait to see what it looks like in a few years!
On World Bonsai Day Weekend (May 13-15), I was at my friend Randy Clarks house. We went to a World Bonsai Day celebration at a local nursery and the day after he let me work on some trees.
I told Randy that later in may at the Bonsai Convention I am attending, I am doing a styling competition. The species I was going to style is a Procumbens nana Juniper. Since I don't have any juniper I can practice on at home, I asked if I could work on one of his.
He picked this one out:
Randy said trim the juniper. So we brought it inside to his studio and I started to trim.
He said start at this pad. He showed me how to trim a juniper since I wasn't 100% sure.
He said cut between the little needles shown below. Notice I did not say pinch. Always cut the junipers
So I trimmed the pad this way also cutting off everything growing straight down.
This is how the pad turned out:
So I trimmed the rest of the tree defining each pad and here is the after:
Working on this tree did prepare me for the styling competition later in May.
Here is what was given to me to style for the competition:
It is always hard figuring out which branches to use when the tree is super full and never been styled before but I think I picked the right branches and padded the tree out nicely.
Here is the after:
I feel like I did a really good job on the tree. I even used a friends dremel and took a shot at carving for the first time.
Here is a close up of both dead wood features:
I asked Bjorn Bjorholm to critique the tree and he said I did a very good job. He said I should have left a little more foliage on the tree but otherwise I did very good! Bjorn said my wiring skills are at a B- level, which to me is a big complement!
In case you dont know who Bjorn is, here is Bjorn working on a hackberry.
Here is the afters of both Procumbens nana Junipers I worked on in the month of May:
See you next time!
Ben jamin Lorber
I LOVE Bonsai!! I have participated in many styling competitions and have even won! I have also displayed many trees in many exhibits!
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