There was an interesting topic on one of the online bonsai forums discussing the technique for creating yamadori style junipers. You basically start with a Shimpaku whip and then wire the tree, then twist and bend until the desired shape is reached. It is a way to simulate the harsh conditions that give yamadori trees there weather beaten and aged look. This young Shimpaku cost only $7 so i thought I would give it a try.
In the future I would like to try and create some Shari on the trunk, I have read that this helps create the aged look. To put it simply, when the Shari gets created the live vein will continue to grow, while the dead Shari part of the trunk will not, which makes it look like the Shimpaku collected in Japan. Until then, I’ll just try and keep it alive.
The Ficus Benjimina Kiki I posted in an earlier entry is as far as I can tell dead. My first tree was a Ficus Benjimina and it too met it’s demise a few years back. Though that was due to leaving it out during the first cold weekend of the year and I was an unprepared bonsai keeper. This means that two of three trees I have killed have been what most hail as indestructible, species of Ficus. I have also killed a juniper with a summer repot.
I think that this is precisely the reason why I haven’t had success with Ficus. I have the notion that they are nearly bulletproof, therefore I don’t give them the same attention as my other trees. For instance I already know that I will be mulching in my trees in the next few weeks to winterize them, and these are hardy trees. This year I brought my tropicals inside when it hit the 40s at night so lesson learned. I also know that this late summer repot of the ficus might have not been the best decision without a proper greenhouse to let it recover. On top of that, I put it in a frosted window for about a week and clearly that want going to work. Lessons learned.
I do think I will try Ficus again but it won’t be until I have had success growing my tropicals inside for the winter. I have added additional lighting to my indoor setup and will be seeing how a natal plum and portulacaria rooted cuttings take to the system. Once I get this all figured out, I will probably give the species a good try again.