I wrote this blog after returning from the 2017 Taiwan National Hwa Fong Show but did not finish it. I can give many excuses, truth is I was just lazy. Procrastination has become a way of life for a retiree; there is never a rush to finish things I used to hurry and complete over the weekends while I was still working.
With the coronavirus pandemic, many of us are staying home for various reasons, doing our best to cope in this difficult time, and I want to wish every safe and well. I thought I should pick up this old draft, add some more ficus bonsai from the show and post it.
Without a doubt Taiwan has among the best ficus bonsai in the world, and there are many things we can learn from studying the trees upclose in person.
I counted 15 ficus in this show; each one is a masterpiece. Since my wife and I travelled to the show on our own, unbound by group activities and schedules, we could spend time studying and admiring trees we like; how the trunks were fused, how aerial roots were used to enhance the trunks and nebari, how side branches, ramifications, and pads were formed. In fact, we came back to the show two days later since we were not done admiring so many amazing bonsai in our first visit. Studying top-notch trees in person and talking to high level practitioners are among the best ways to learn.
Massive Ficus From Fused Trunks
The majority of the very large ficus we saw were fused from several smaller trees.
The first one I want to discuss is a massive Ficus microcarpa with an umbrella shape canopy. A lot of ficus bonsai in Taiwan are shaped this way with variations in how the pads are arranged. The roots are powerful, anchoring the tree firmly onto the soil level, giving the whole tree a feel of stability and unmovable.
The main trunk is made up of several fused smaller plants. Although some could have been created from fused aerial roots. Surface roots that became too fat were split to form smaller V-shape roots. This is an important part of maintaining old ficus bonsai, preventing the roots from become overly and disproportionally fat.Continue reading