It’s how you look at it.

Bonsai Iterate

Bonsai is an art form. The most effective bonsai artists employ the skills of artists who work in other media (our medium just happens to be living plants.) Among these skills is looking — I mean REALLY looking.

Ficus microcarpa, July 2020, before work

What inspired me to think about looking was some routine summer work on this humble little Ficus microcarpa. It held on to life through the winter months, and has started to find some of its summer vigor, even in this ill-matched pot.

Now that it is growing strong, it is time to defoliate, prune, wire, and repot. For just about anything but a ficus, doing all of these at once would be foolish. And for most species, doing any one of these in the hottest part of the summer would be just as foolish. But for ficus it works.

Ficus microcarpa after defoliation


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