• Tuesday, August 26th, 2014
Dwarf Ligustrum – first styling

Remember the ‘Before and After Shots’ of the Dwarf Ligustrum? If not visit the blog post pix from July 19, 2013.  But here is the picture after it’s first styling last year.

Dwarf Ligustrum - first styling

Thought you might like to see a pix of it today — see below.  It was trimmed a couple of weeks ago after some long summer growth and here it is now.

Ligustrum - Dwarf - 2014-08-25


For a little guy, it puts out a lot of new growth so it must be controlled if you want to have a good bonsai but isn’t it sweet.  Of course, there is still more work to be done with the growth of the tree, the shortening and styling of the top. After that, the next step will be to put it in a bonsai pot. That’s always fun.  Choosing the right pot is rewarding and makes all the difference but I guess that’s the subject of another blog post for a rainy day. :)


Enjoy bonsai and life.
Sandy R

• Tuesday, July 22nd, 2014

Ah, sweet summer!  A time of fun in the sun, relaxation, sea shores, sight seeing and throwing away all your cares, right? Well one can dream, perhaps.  I bought someone a hand exerciser once that says, “Wish, Dream, Do!” You see, that person always dreamed of doing fun things but never actually does them. ”Someday, I will…”  You fill in the blanks.  That person is always too busy doing for others.  My answer is always, “Today is the day”, “Now is the time”!

What does this have to do with Bonsai?  You see, it is too easy to think, I will do that ’thing’ tomorrow or the next day or the next week.  And before you know it, the season is over and it is too late!  Now you may have to wait until next year. I look outside and see all the ‘tasks’ that need to be done and most days, I do them in order of urgency and importance.  Rarely do I get everything done that I want but there are results.  Some days it is hard to keep up with just watering, other days real progress is made. Some days, life gets in the way.

When the tree trimmers came because the oak tree was growing into the electric lines, I was annoyed.  But afterwards I was thankful and happy because frankly, the area had gotten overgrown. I seized the opportunity to trim and care for everything in that area.  The cuttings, pre-bonsai and bonsai there now look so good.  It motivated me to move on to the next area… Do you have an area that you keep really good care of  (your pride and joy bonsai) and then a corner of the yard that people don’t notice that isn’t paid enough attention?  Hats off to you if all your bonsai look pristine and show-ready!

Yesterday, I watered everything and defoliated a Buttonwood. When I watered it this morning, it looked so good (even leafless) I beamed with pride even though I was alone. That was all I had time for yesterday but today is a new day!  I noticed the palm tree dropped a frond and is pushing down on my Ficus Phillipensis – unacceptable.  A Mulberry needs spraying because it has mealy bugs – it’s in the hospital area now.  The penjing Ficus Nerifolia has grass weeds growing in it.  Tropicals need repotting before the summer is over. I think of it all and just smile, because “Today is the day” and “Now is the time”!  What’s going on in your garden? Whether it’s 10 minutes or 2 hours… just do something, and when you are done, your reward could be a smile, a lemonade, an easy chair in the air conditioning, a walk on the beach, spending time with family or maybe an adventure you’ve been putting off too long.


A special thanks to Wayne for watering all the bonsai and to Wayne and Mom for taking care of Kiwi, the Bonsai guardian cat, while we were away on ‘vacation’.  You’re the greatest!


Category: Buttonwood, Ficus Nerafolia, Ramblings Comments off
• Sunday, January 19th, 2014

The Joy of Bonsai – yes. It is the name of a great “show” put on by the Kawa Bonsai Society in Bunnell in mid-January where Orlando Bonsai is a vendor selling our tools and supplies. There are great speakers such as Sean Smith, Mike Rogers and others giving demonstrations and workshops, and there is an outstanding exhibit.

But the Joy of bonsai is also the great feeling one gets when working (playing) with bonsai. It’s a passion that evokes the emotions one feels when the tree responds with new growth, flowers, fruit or when the wire comes off and the desired movement is achieved. Or when a new root or branch grows in just the right place. Or when the newly repotted tree looks just perfect in its new pot. When new leaves burst out after winter, there is a certain joy that brings a smile to our lips. On days when it may be hard to find a little joy because of life getting in the way, it might be a good day to work with our bonsai and let a little joy in. Or maybe a lot! Find your passion and feel the joy — The Joy of Bonsai.


Category: Club Events, Ramblings | Tags: , , , , , Comments off
• Friday, July 19th, 2013

Not talking about what happens at the friendly neighborhood bar… This is about remembering to take before and after photographs of your bonsai as well as the work in progress so you and your bonsai friends can feel adequately impressed after all the work (er… drinking) is done. Well, maybe not done as in finished since the growing continues but you can always take follow up pix too.  Taking photos help you to remember what the tree used to look like, to really LOOK at your tree, to see things that can be improved, to remember what you planned to do next, gives you a journal for future reference on similar trees, and either make you humble or give you bragging rights.  Heck, you might even enter a photo in a contest or use it for an exhibit entry. Most of all, the pictures help you to learn about the tree.  I don’t have a fancy camera so I use my phone and the pictures are only adequate right now and usually just make me humble.  So here are a few humble photos of two very different trees I worked on recently.

This is how it looked when purchased.  Lots of foliage, branches to choose from, healthy looking and look at those small leaves – sweet!

Dwarf Ligustrum – Before


Below is a close up shot. You can almost see the original outline of the tree before all the outrageous, straight up growth!

Dwarf Ligustrum – before – close up

Below is the tree after the first styling.  Definitely starting to look like the makings of a bonsai.  Will let it grow in the pot for a year to increase the trunk size.  These trees make nice little forests too. Needs a little tweaking yet and will find a nice pot for it before next year.  Have to remember to take OFF the WIRE!  The photo file date will help with that.  Time to set a reminder!

Dwarf Ligustrum – first styling

Here’s the Ficus Microcarpa that was worked on last summer – see where the lower branches were tied down.  Also used a wedge cut to lower the upward tilt of the two lowest branches to a downward angle.

Ficus Microcarpa – before second styling

Ficus Microcarpa – post defoliation

Brother can you spare a leaf? (Sorry – bad recession joke).  It was best to defoliate to see the branches and when repotting.  The leaves will sprout quickly; especially since it is a ficus.

Ficus – defoliated

It’s been less than a week and the new leaves are already sprouting!  Lots more branch pruning to be done then it can go into a pot.

After some drastic root cutting, I like the banyan-style in the new home. A few branches and banyan roots need adjusting but it’s coming along nicely and the new growth is already starting one week later. The new angle in pot is helping the bar branch look and next year, we will be able to maximize the angle after the roots adjust.