It’s been a long and winding road with this Brazilian raintree. It made its debut Here, in 2012. That’s like, 7 years man!
Another fantastic showing was Here , where it was planted it in its current pot.
If you read both of those (like, why didn’t you? Huh?) all the carving and concrete work I toiled on are going to be tossed aside, like a deuce in the night, for a new vision (yes my friends, it’s “deuce” not “douche”, in that old song). The carving at the top is still pretty much in good shape, but (and take note), as often happens, the deadwood at the base has rotted away. But I have achieved the goal of strengthening the live vein. In those previous posts (you haven’t read them yet?) on the tree, that vein was less than the width of my pinky. (since I’m the only…
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What Bonsai Is Not
Bonsai is not what is sold in big box stores. These are what the bonsai community refers to as “mall bonsai” or “mallsai.” Some examples of mallsai are as follows.
Bonsai is not meant as an indoor hobby. There are a few plants that can survive (not thrive) inside, namely Jade, Ficus, and Chinese Elm, but plants are meant to be outside. If something is sold as an indoor bonsai and it is not one of these 3 species it is being labeled incorrectly usually in an attempt to sell more bonsai. Even though these 3 species can survive inside, they all prefer to be outside during the growing seasons so they can thrive. I personally never suggest a bonsai come inside. I put my Chinese Elms outside year-round, and only bring my Ficus inside when temperature drop too low for it to survive.
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I’ve been doing some searching recently for Mojave Desert native plants that would be serviceable for bonsai. Enter Coleogyne ramosissima. This bush has tiny leaves, flowers, is long-lived, and has awesome gnarled bark. While researching this bush I stumbled upon this website that had invaluable information: https://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/plants/shrub/colram/all.html
Within the link it explains that these bushes typically grow in areas where caliche impedes deep roots, and that the majority of the root mass is below the plant within 4″ – 12″. This is a realistically collectable species. What is also great news is that these are everywhere and commonly bulldozed around where I live. Perfect, a trash tree has now become my treasure. Hopefully they’re easier to collect than the California Junipers that also fit that bill.
Here are a couple that I scouted out while I was looking for the best candidates to pick out for the next appropriate collecting…
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The display of this tree threw me off for a few reasons. The pot is yellow, which doesn’t seem to fit with pomegranate’s leaves, but would go well with the flowers and fruit. It just seemed a bit loud to go with a winter silhouette showing.
The companion plant looks not so alive (can’t tell from the photo if I’m wrong or not) and awkwardly placed. This is in part due to the apex and confusion of flow which I’ll touch on.
The moss is well put together and looks clean. This can be just as much of an art form as the rest of bonsai itself.
Branching and Silhouette:
The silhouette of this tree rubs me the wrong way. Not to say it is wrong, but design-wise from my understanding I think it is because there isn’t a significant amount of asymmetry in the design.
The defining branch…
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