Ficus Obliqua

This is a F. obliqua I collected growing out of a sandstone wall in Rushcutters Bay, Sydney, around 20+ years ago. It had a canopy about 3ft across, and these 2 slender trunks holding the whole mass up. No idea how old it is but it must have been growing in the crack in the wall for at least 10 yrs or so to get to the size it was.??? I removed all the branches at the time and ran a saw against the wall and base cut it free. It now stands around 15ins tall and 16in wide canopy. The nebari is my biggest issue with this tree…. very one sided due to its original growing angle. Never really known how to correct or improve it, so have learned to live and work with it.
First pic was November 2011.
Frustrated and neglected for a few years.
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Here is the same tree August 2012 after a season of more attention and a regular fert program instead of neglect.
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Another year on….October 2012

 I restyled this fig with the original rear view as the new front. There is some lengthening of the RH primary branch to happen, but so far it is powering along. I shouted it a new bigger pot as well and it looks like it is enjoying the extra room….so pretty happy with the progress so far.
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January 2014

We are smack bang in the middle of a hot summer down here which is perfect time to work on our figs…. here is the result after defoliation and full rewire, sitting on one of my own home made stands.

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Overhead view below, showing good ramification developing.

Obliqua overhead ramification 11-1-14

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Update time!

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Early summer here now and plenty of work to do still this season with this being the perfect time for me to work on Ficus.

The past few months have been consumed with saving my entire Trident Maple collection from the dreaded fungal leaf curl disease which affects so many people worldwide, but now I can say with a good deal of confidence, that I finally have a handle on this monster that wants to devour my favorite  species in Bonsai. With the help of some friends and an Agronimist, I have now got beautiful fresh, undeformed foliage for the first time in many years, so I will be sharing my detailed account of this in an update to come very soon.

In the meantime, I will try to catch up on my posts which will show much development to existing trees, and I will be posting some new unseen projects I have going on.

My first cascade stand

A few months ago, I put the word out locally to see if anyone knew of a good supplier of nice affordable bonsai stands….. replies came back with a few leads, but nothing too reliable, so I thought I would investigate the option of making my own. I have limited wood working experience, but like anything, if you seek good advice, and know how to follow it, you may have a chance. I have turned my hand to many things I have no formal training in over the years, and have had success with most I’m proud to say. I turned one into a 30 year professional career strangely enough. Anyway, as it turns out, a few weeks ago, I stumbled upon a blog from a fellow bonsai nut from Fresno, California, who also makes his own beautiful bonsai stands and has been incredibly generous with sharing his knowledge and skills on how he goes about making these bespoke pieces. Referring to his tips and using some of my own skills, I embarked on my first project…. this cascade stand.

A few years ago I began making “one off” longboard skateboards using exotic hardwoods, such as Mahogany, Birch, Maple, Black Bean, Ebony & various others. I bought a few slabs of ”hairy oak” which is a she-oak (Allocasuarina inophloia) from dry areas up in Queensland, and this is what I chose for my first project. It has amazing grain patterns and I know some purists out there will say it’s too flashy for a bonsai stand ‘cos it will distract from beauty of the tree….. I couldn’t care less about that to be honest, as I also have stands I display purely for the beauty of the stand. It doesn’t have to have a tree on it to be admired. Anyway, here it is….. the dimensions are 3.5ins x 3.5ins x 11ins tall.Image

Top detail… the top is a solid ”one piece” with routed profiles and the internal border was carved by hand. My new projects have a central ”foot print” piece plus boarders, following the traditional methods, however I will still work on some designs using a solid one piece top.

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I thought I would show the incredible variety of grain patterns in this amazing species. These pics are all from the one 6ft. piece of Hairy Oak, from both sides of the piece.

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This is why it got its name.The bark literally looks like aYetti.

This is why it got its name.
The bark literally looks like aYetti.

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These next few pics are from the one 4ft length of Silky Oak. This is sold in the USA under the name ” Australian Lacewood” .

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Mame’ Shimpaku Junipers

Here are a few super small mame’ Shimpaku Junipers for a bit of fun and a challenge to keep alive through our very hot summers here in Byron Bay. Some I keep in trays of gravel or coir/peat to keep them from drying out. One month in to Summer and so far so good…. no losses to report thank goodness.

The pot measures 2''x1.75''x.75'' deep and the tree 3'' high

The pot measures 2”x1.75”x.75” deep  Tree 3” high x 3.5” wide from 2011 cutting.

Pot 3''x2''x1'' Tree 3.5'' tall x 4'' wide.
Pot 3”x2”x1” Tree 3.5” tall x 4” wide from 2011 cutting.

Round Pot 1.25'' x 1.25'' x .75'' deep. Tree 1''tall x 2'' wide

Round Pot 1.25” x 1.25” x .75” deep. Tree 1”tall x 2” wide from 2011 cutting.

Pot 1.25''x1''x.75 deep. Tree 2'' tall x 2'' wide from 2011 cutting.
Pot 1.25”x1”x.75 deep. Tree 2” tall x 2” wide from 2011 cutting.

 

 

Mega Swamp Cypress

Here is the latest addition to our bonsai family. The tree was only a couple of inches thick and about 4ft. tall when I put it in the ground approx. 6yrs ago. 3 days ago it was about 15ft tall. For some strange reason I thought it might be a good idea to dig this big guy out and do something with it. Current height 54ins, and the base is 21ins. Pot 38″x24″x7″…. A huge thanks to Chris White @ Red Dragon for getting me sorted for the pot, as the recycle tub I bought earlier was way too small. I did have a plan for the design before the dig, but now I see it potted up, I will be content to just look at it for the next year or two before any styling decisions will be made. Happy for you to throw out some though….be curious what you think. That’s a 15 litre bucket btw, for size comparison.
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Quick encouraging update for this big baby of mine. Overall health of this tree seems to be on track with weekly seasol and fortnightly feeds of nitrosol or powerfeed. Budding has been generous considering the treatment its had. I’m also happy to report, all the super cuttings (2-6 ins. in diameter) are shooting as well. All will get this aftercare for some time, but for now I’m excited with the progress so far.
Oh…. the other Mega Swampy has been in a humidity tent since its dig. I have taken the tent off today and had a careful dig around the base and was pleased to discover some nice fine white feeder roots. It hasn’t thrown out any shoots as yet, but only time will tell if this monster will make it through the summer…..fingers crossed he takes after his happy relatives.

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Another ‘then & now’ update pic from today. I have started to slowly lower the 2 primary branches and as you can see by the comparison shot, that they have already come down quite a bit. Slowly but surely with this process. I have pruned back the original upper branches heavily, and with the explosion of shoots, have gently wired them down to the correct future angle. The apex has also put out 2 strong shoots right smack bang where I need them, and I will let the new leader bolt skyward for maybe 6-8ft, to start developing some upper taper. Everything is being done with great care and caution…. nothing too radical, and so far it is responding well to the feeding program of Powerfeed/Seasol combo full strength applied every 2 weeks. I have done some careful exploration around the base and I’m finding beautiful new strong healthy red roots the thickness of a pencil, as well as a ton of fine white feeder roots, so very happy with it’s progress.
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23-1-13_before trim