Tag-Archive for ◊ Orlando Bonsai ◊

• 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

• Monday, May 06th, 2013

Not sure about you, but we’ve been pretty busy here at Orlando Bonsai so far this spring.  Filling orders, doing paperwork and tax reports, preparing soil.  Re-doing the pond, weeding, trimming trees. Fertilizing, insect maintenance, acquiring new trees, selling trees. Attending bonsai meetings, demonstrations and garden shows, visiting suppliers, and volunteering at Epcot’s International Flower & Garden Show.  Help, I need a time out! Of course, there was National Grilled Cheese Day, and a mini time out for a grilled cheese lunch. Yummy! And we did go see a movie – another mini time out. That was fun!

Have you been busy? Need a time out too?  Come join Orlando Bonsai from May 24 – 27 at the 2013 Bonsai Societies of Florida (BSF) Annual Convention to be held in sunny Lake Mary, FL at the Mariott. It will feature bonsai artist, Suthin Sukosolvisit with Sean Smith and Michael Feduccia teaching workshops and demonstrations. Orlando Bonsai will be selling bonsai tools and supplies in the vendor area.  And also check out the Exhibit area for a beautiful display of bonsai by many Florida artists. For more info, go to the BSF web site, www.bonsai-bsf.com.

…Back to working in the bonsai garden. The fastest ways to a great bonsai:  start with good stock, take a good look at the roots, pick a front, pick the apex (top of tree), cut the correct branches, trim hard – trim early, proper maintenance, trim new growth, and pay attention! Nutshell version:  do the right things at the right time! How do you know what the right things are?  1. Education. Read a book, join a club, go online, ask questions, find a mentor, take a class. 2. Experiment scientifically.  For example, cut a secondary branch, take a picture, journal it (date, tree name, photo, notes, etc.) wait for new growth, see where the new growth occurs, look back at your picture to see the difference.  Soon you will learn the growth habits of that tree. By the way, the fastest way to a great bonsai takes time. Is that an oxymoron? Or just buy a good-looking tree in a pot and then maintain it. That’s pretty fast! Either way, it is worth it.

Aspiring bonsai enthusiasts often ask “How do I know which branch to cut”? Well, it takes a little time and sometimes a mistake or two, but there are some general guidelines to help.  If a branch is growing straight down, typically you would cut it off. If a branch is growing on the inside curve, it should come off.  Look at the picture of the branch I took off with standard concave cutters from an inside curve. It’s a little fuzzy but you can get the idea. Another guideline is to avoid bar branches – branches directly across from each other. Notice the branch I was about to cut off was also a bar branch and there is another branch directly above it that has secondary bar branches so I cut one of them off too. There are other guidelines to learn as you go.

Inside Curve cut

The right tool is needed for the right job. Four tools I use all the time are standard concave cutters, shears, wire cutters and tweezers. And there are lots of other great tools that really come in handy and some that are more specialized. Feel free to send an inquiry to sandy@orlandobonsai.com if you are unsure what tool is needed or how to use it.

So take a TIME OUT! After ‘working’ in the garden, get a refreshing beverage of your choice,  sit back and ENJOY your bonsai.


• Friday, March 08th, 2013

Winter is almost over!  There was almost no winter here in Florida so our trees haven’t had much rest.  Even the citrus is confused, but bonsai enthusiasts, tourists and snowbirds are loving it. Yaay! Come on down (or up or over or whichever direction is appropriate) because Walt Disney World’s 20th annual Epcot Flower and Garden Festival, presented by HGTV, runs for 75 days from March 6–May 19, 2013. And members of the Central Florida Bonsai Club, are once again at the Festival Center, the Wonders of Life building (the one with the golden dome near the Test Track), displaying bonsai and answering the guests’ questions about bonsai.  I will be there on March 9 and several other times throughout the Festival. Check out Orlando Bonsai’s Facebook page frequently for upcoming pix that I will take this year. At Epcot, where people visit from around the world, it is easy to feel a connection with everyone through the shared love of plants and bonsai.

Last month, I had the privilege to attend a Deciduous tree workshop at D & L Nursery near Ocala where Owen Reich shared information and demonstrated skills learned as an apprentice at Fujikawa kouka-en in Osaka, Japan.  Owen stressed that it takes time to create the “perfect” tree.  He talked about how important it is to look for a good trunk as it is the hardest thing to change on a bonsai. Owen also encouraged us to make large cuts on trees over time so they will heal faster and not stress the tree.  Making a lot of major cuts on the tree in the same year is not good for the health of the tree.  He said you will have a better looking tree in the long run by using this method. The goal is to not even know that the branch was cut.  He also talked about wiring the roots which happens all the time in Japan but not so much in America. He demonstrated wiring branches using a ‘rhythmic wrap’ while introducing movement – up, down, left and right. There were many little tips and tricks that Owen shared along the way as he demonstrated using each participant’s trees.  I really encourage you to attend any event where Owen is teaching; he has a ‘laid back’ style and shares a lot of information as he goes. He plans to go back to Japan in a few years to continue his studies.

In February I went for a walk in nearby Fleet People’s park where old live oaks abound and dogs too. It’s a dog park so if you visit, be prepared for them to be running free. They are very social and love their park. It’s a fenced-in lakeside park and has a war memorial walk nearby and connects to a walking/bike path that goes for miles. If you want to see the pictures of the most amazing movement in the branches of these old oaks, look for the pictures on our Facebook page. I promise it will be worth clicking on the link! These pictures are my reminders as I try to emulate their aged look into my bonsai trees as I am wiring branches.

As you are looking for your spring bonsai supplies, if there is something you are looking for and don’t see it in Orlando Bonsai’s store, let us know as it is likely we can find it at one of our suppliers if we really don’t have it.  We always have trees and supplies that aren’t displayed on the site yet. As always, we welcome your feedback.

Speaking of Spring, remember to spring forward 1 hour as Daylight Saving Time starts in the USA & Canada this Sunday, March 10, 2013 at 2:00 am.

Enjoy bonsai!



• Wednesday, January 09th, 2013

Faster is better when it comes to internet speed but TIME is flying by too and since we cannot capture it in a bottle yet, we should manage our use of time if we want to accomplish anything. And since resolutions can fade away quickly, instead I am setting goals in hopes of reaping more results in 2013. Here are 13 Bonsai Goals for 2013 that any Bonsai enthusiast can adapt to meet their needs. Do them by month, mix them up, modify them to suit your needs, create your own, add sub-tasks, or jump to # 13.  Just have fun with it!

1. Prepare (plan/organize): mind, garden area, display stands/benches, soil, pots, tools etc.  Use the winter idle time to plan for the busy, beautiful springtime.

2.Try something new or different (step out of your box or comfort zone): Examples: really big tree, really small tree, penjing, suiseki, daiza, graft a branch, carve jin or shari, start from seed, air layer, create a forest, make your own bonsai pot, new style (windswept?), go collecting, take a class, create companion plants.

3. Photograph your trees/collection (or video): to record progress, before, after, styling changes, for insurance, in case of loss or theft, bugs or disaster, educational or personal reasons (i.e. bragging rights).

4. Journal the journey (record/document): in your own creative way, record the progress via journal, logs, calendar, blog, facebook, twitter, audio, drawings, whatever…  Use beloved, old-fashioned media or new and trendy social media but just don’t dodge it, journal it!

5. Focus on your best trees (exhibit): help them be all they can be. Take a new look at them. Ask yourself questions about them. Pretend someone else owns them; what advice would you give? Treat them as if you plan to display or exhibit them. Be ready.

6. Expand or reduce your trees/collection: What is your preference? Ready to try new species? Focus on higher quality? Have lots of space or not much? Count your trees and pre-bonsai; it may surprise you. Pay it forward or ask a friend for cuttings. Trade species with your friends or club members.

7. Increase Knowledge (strain your brain): read a good bonsai book, search the internet, learn horticulture, take a workshop or intensive training, join a club, forum or attend a bonsai conference, experiment, learn from others, learn Japanese bonsai terms or scientific plant names of all of your trees.

8. Visit bonsai (travel): visit a friend with a backyard collection, a local or national bonsai exhibit, garden or arboretum, find a forest near you for natural examples, travel to Japan or China (for real or on the world wide web), find resources wherever you are or wherever you are going.

9. Exhibit your prize tree(s) (see #5):  ask someone’s opinion, learn the art of display including companion plants, time the trimming, fertilizing and blooming to coincide with the display.

10. Focus on pots (composition): take a new look at your tree/pot combinations. Is it the right pot for the tree – quality/finish/color/shape/gender/size including depth? Is the tree located correctly within the pot? Would a slab or rock work better? What could or should be different? What do you like? Does it have enough negative space (like white space on a printed page)? What story does it tell?

11. Share your accomplishments (communicate) your goals, rewards and newfound knowledge with others. Hold yourself accountable. Find a mentor or be a mentor. Talk about bonsai.

12. Take a break (refresh/renew/rejuvenate): take a hike, find a quiet spot, relax, think about your bonsai, accomplishments of 2013 and goals for 2014! Yes, I said it — 2014 will be here before we know it. Time just will not stand still.

13. As always, ENJOY BONSAI every day, every year.


Think Bonsai, Think OrlandoBonsai.com