fun with a little maple; and “the octopus”?

Sneak Peak

I work with a lot of large trees, as you know, but I have no problem growing seedlings and developing them into nice bonsai in their own right. It’s all about using best practices and doing your best work, regardless of the starting point.

Fun With A Little Maple; And “The Octopus”?

This rather meek looking little tree is actually the result of intentional and somewhat painstaking development. I grew it from a seed that I started about five years ago. If you look closely, you can see two distinct trunk chops which were done in order to build taper. This is a key bonsai technique, one you must do as a bonsai artist. No ones get out of performing this technique; and the quality of your work depends on doing it well.

Date: October 2019

Now why would you pot up a stick like this in fall? Well, I’ll tell you. The trunk on this tree is done. It tapers nicely from the soil to the tip of the leader, and it’s got subtle movement. There’s nothing else to do to it, and because I’m not trying to create a big Swamp maple all that’s left is to build a branch structure. There’s that one nascent branch that’s got wire on it. But there are also a number of dormant buds I can easily see that are going to push in 2020. This is going to work much better than it appears, trust me.

This photo is from a month after the one above. It’s alive!

Date: November 2019


Now I’ve got a whole bonsai. Those buds I told you about sure enough emerged and grew out. I applied some strategic wire, did some shaping, and have clipped off a leaf or partial shoot here and there. This maple now has a complete structure, and is just about down to pinching and occasional pruning.

Date: June 2020

Now available at the Shop.

Here’s one of the Mulberries I got in last month. The structure is fine, so there wasn’t any reason not to pot it up. I had gotten in a bunch of Byron Myrick rounds just for this and other trees. The one I had in mind worked out better than I thought it would.

I love the decoration on this pot – a consortium of octopi, as it were. I found some nice rootage under the soil surface of the Mulberry, and exposing it complements the pot decoration really well. So I’m naming this bonsai The Octopus. Did I do good?

This one is also available at the Shop.