Bonsai, boxwood, buxus, ficus, shohin, show

I wasn’t sure that it was going to happen, but Northern Virginia Bonsai Society decided to hold an actual, physical (not virtual) bonsai show in September of 2020. So many events have been cancelled, but this was a small show setup in the visitor center of a park that was already open and enforcing masks and social distancing inside the building. All we did is add a few trees.

I included two small trees in the exhibit, and while they were no more or less worthy than most of the others I thought I’d tell you a little more about them. (Ok, I admit there were a few that were far more worthy!)

Boxwood “Dr. Seuss” September 2020

The first is this modest little boxwood. I found this back in 2006 yanked out of a neighbor’s garden and tossed to the curb with the trash. I’ve always been one to value the life of every plant, so I picked it up and plopped it in a pot to see if it still had some life in it. Clearly it survived.

When I found it, the little shrub had three trunks. I let it grow for a couple years and decided i wanted to separate the whole plant at the base. It may have been a foolish thing to do, but again, it survived, and so did it’s separated sibling, shown below.

The other two trunks separated around 2009.

The biggest lose from this separation surgery was probably what might have been a stronger base. Both plants have a relatively weak nebari, and while in pots, neither is likely to thicken up their surface roots very quickly.

You may have noticed I captioned the first photo with “Dr. Seuss.” A couple years ago, I showed this tree in another display and overheard someone compare it to a tree from a Dr. Seuss book. I loved the idea and named the tree after the author and illustrator.

The second tree is one I created from scratch in 5 years. This is a willow leaf fig, Ficus salicaria, that I started from a cutting in 2015. I cut a branch from another tree, stuck it down in a pot, and let it grow roots. I let it grow like crazy for two years until the branches were wild, but the roots and trunk were thicker for it.

Cutting in 2015
Grown out, 2017, right before…

Ever since then, I have been working on developing branches and a silhouette in a 7 inch tall, shohin-sized package.

Ficus salicaria as displayed in September 2020

Not too bad for five years work!