Developing Yaupon holly bonsai – a tale of when not to cut

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Refinement carving on a buttonwood 

Adam's Art and Bonsai Blog

This’ll be a quick look at a client’s buttonwood and how I try to match new carving to old deadwood. Not easy but you can get close.

Here’s the buttonwood, ready for work.

It’s a little green, I know. The deadwood, I mean. The leaves shouldbe green. Unless it’s a silver buttonwood. Then the leaves are a kinda silvery green. But I digress.

Some alcohol or a coating of lime sulphur cures the green. It’s just algae.

A wire brush too. I’ll leave that to Judy, the owner. I’m here to carve.

Pretty elaborate deadwood. It’ll be a challenge to match.

The backside, which used to be the front.

This area is where I need to focus.It’s a bit chunky and plain.There was probably a longer Jin or branch that someone broke off and whittled down with Jin pliers (or their teeth). That’s how deadwood treatment is…

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Ficus vs. ficus

Adam's Art and Bonsai Blog

It’s a battle royale! We have two trees that have been at war for some time now (well, sincethis post, really, which was an update tothis post, actually, which goes back three years and is one of my most popular posts on air layering).

Two ficus microcarpa. What some people call tiger bark ficus or erroneously, ficus retusa (You know what? I’m feeling frisky enough today….I’ll wade into that battle; I’ve even been arming myself for it. Ready? Begin rant: When we refer to plants using the binomial nomenclature system, devised by Carl Linnaeus, we use the genus (i.e., ficus) and then a descriptive (i.e., microcarpa) which then tells us the species. In this case “microcarpa” means “small fruit”, it is the singular form of “microcarpus” . I used to think it meant small leaf because ficus macrocarpa has big leaves (it also has big fruit)…

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Separation Anxiety!

Nebari Bonsai

In February 2014, I approach-grafted an Itoigawa juniper cutting to this collected Rocky Mountain Juniper. It wasn’t a great graft, and I left it in place for 27 months to know it took. Over the last year, I weakened the scion between the graft union and the elevated pot, to force the scion to rely on the new host. In May 2016, I took the plunge…

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To help prevent drying out, and maybe just to make me feel better, I took a tip from Kathy Shaner, and wrapped the graft with a cloth to keep it wet for a while.

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It didn’t take long to see trouble… 4 days later and it was already yellowing. For comparison, the left tree is the parent tree from which the Itoigawa scion came:

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After day 6…no doubt about it…

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And now that I know it’s toast, I can’t photograph it straight on…so you’re…

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