So here are the pictures from this year (09). When the Buttonwood came out of the pot I got a real complement from an old-timer. He took one look at the roots and said, “I’m changing my soil.”
It is easy to to see the larger roots in the picture, but if you know buttonwoods, the white areas are just a fine mat of white roots. One student said he had never seen so many roots on his buttonwood. It is easier to convince people about my soil-mix when they see it.
The picture below is after cut back. There was no styling this time. Even though this tree was exhibited at the EPCOT Center in Orland, FL, it is still a tree in development. It was cut back this way to encourage bud-back and to quicken ramification.
First of all, I love going to see my bonsai students in Florida. They are very enthusiastic people. Growing up in Thailand, I knew tropicals. There are 5-6 different types on ficus bonsai in Thailand. The Tiger Bark Ficus (taiwan) and the buttonwoods are also fun to work on. All these are developed as bonsai a little differently than pines and junipers in our northern states.
So Henry has the collected buttonwood in the picture below. If this had been a collected Sierra juniper in my own state of California, you might tell me to throw it away. (…maybe I would have.)
But this is a Buttonwood living in Florida. It is now about two feet tall. If a buttonwood is well taken care of, it will grow and show us something that could become a bonsai. This one did it. The picture below is about two years later with leaves pruned and branches wired.
After only three years this very new bonsai in the picture below was shown at the EPCOT Center in Orlando, FL.
Henry really did as good job. He did not over-prune. He waited until he had something to work with. But the story is not over. I just returned from Florida and have more pictures. I’ll post further developments and the first look at healthy buttonwood roots – if you are interested.
Photo credits to Henry R.
I teach several study groups in Florida a few times a year. Here are some of the trees that we worked on.
We made major cuts and shortened larger branches last year, then bare-rooted and repoted it. This is how it looks before another major work.
after major branches pruning and repot
We cut off more branches and then repoted it again to try to encourage more roots for better nebari.
Martha and her Australian pine
willow leaf ficus and Dorothy
This tree is grown from cutting over 20 year ago
after pruning large branches
after cutting tangel roots from the bottom