Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Wiring a Ficus Benjamina for Shape

Ok, first off please note that my wiring method is not traditional, elderly asian bonsai artists would probably faint if they saw it. But once again, I don't really care about tradition, I guess I'm iconoclastic like that. Also my pictures are kind of cluttered in the background, I need to set up some kind of area for picture taking that doesn't have all my cds, SNES games and Godzilla for the backdrop. I'm going to post it anyway.

Here is what this tree looked like before wiring, branches all over the place.  I'm going to try to shape it into a umbrella/ball shape, we'll see how well it works.

First things first, trunk. I have the wire doubled up because of the size of it, plus I'm going to use one of those wires to also wire a branch. According to many things I've read this is totally the wrong way to do it. However I also read a book that showed the guy doing it with even more wires, I'll dig it up and do a post about it, it's my favorite bonsai book so far. I just formed the end of the wires into a hook and secured it to a large root.
 This is also not the "right" way to do it but since my tree isn't huge I'm not too worried.

Wrap the wires loosely around the trunk, too tight and they can damage the bark, too loose and they won't do the thing you want them to do. I usually leave ~3/4 - 1" or so between the wires.

Once I got the the first fork I shifted one of the wires to the branch and just gently wrapped the end of the other wire around the trunk so I didn't stab myself with it.

One thing to note, always pass the wire over the top of a branch where it comes out of the truck or other branch. If you run it underneath you can choke off the limb when you shape it.

Next I took another length of wire, doubling it again, but this time to send one end up each branch from a split.

Then I just continued wrapping until all the branches I wanted were wrapped (well, most of them. Some were too thin yet) and then bent the branches down into the shape I wanted.

That's pretty much it, it's not very difficult, just time consuming. Don't rush it or you will snap off small branches or leaves, wrap the wire poorly or damage your tree in some other way. Besides, it's supposed to be a meditative activity so relax, take it slow and don't stress yourself. Nothing done while wiring is really permanent you can always reshape it later. Well, unless you snap things off. Oh and don't forget to take the wires off after a couple weeks! Leave them on too long and they'll bite into the bark leaving gouges and possibly hurting the tree.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Spider Plant Flowers

See that?

Apparently spider plants (Chlorophytum comosum) make flowers. I had no idea. I wish I knew what happened to make them bloom, they're kind of pretty and I would like to have it happen more often. They appear on the ends of the thick shoots that the baby plants grow from and don't seem to last very long. I had three flowers appear over three days and none saw the sunrise twice. If anyone has any info about this phenomenon I would love it.