Tag Archives: Bonsai Work Shops

Buttonwood Bonsai in Florida (Cont.)

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.”

BW Roots FL

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.

BW 4th year FL

Buttonwood Bonsai in Florida

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.

Epcot Apps 010

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.

Bonsai Accent Hint

This is a close-up of one of the accents in the previous post. This is spring and it is beautiful. 146

But we have a winter show and these flowers would be gone by then. We try to display accents that are seasonally correct. So, here comes the hint. Go shopping every year during the month of your bonsai show. That way you can pick something that looks nice that time of the year.  Plant the accent at least a year before the show. That way it fills in and takes on a natural look before the show. This is especially important if you are making “mixed accent plants”.  The accent plant above has the feeling of maturity. It does not look like it just was planted.

Bonsai work on a California Juniper

James goes to work on a California juniper. He and Boon are spending some time discussing the tree before the start of cut-back, jin and shari-work:

James and his California Juniper

6-8 hours later, and much wood removed, James has further refined his bonsai stock. The tree has now a flow, the jin work has really gotten started (but there is much more to go). Now there are the beginnings of sharis down the trunk. Boon is a great believer of doing things in stages to insure a future bonsai’s maximum health.

After some shari work on juniper

Sure it is rough. But the future is there. With futher refinement, wired branches in a few years, and with filled in foliage, it is going to be a powerful looking bonsai.

Hi All

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