Entry: Black Olive – Bucida spinosa var shady lady or Terminalia molineti – Mexico – WITHDRAWN
Terminalia molineti var shady lady or as it is better know black olive or Bucida spinosa var shady lady. This species has a very strong lateral growth with a geometric growth that makes very nice pads. Due to this geometric growth the pads may look a bit man made. Almost to perfect at some points. Also due to the lateral growth the branches then to drop down, so for people in the north the growth looks more like that of a Cedar or some junipers in high mountains. Not so much like what some people are used to broadleaf’s (not all broadleaf’s have the same growing habits). I collected this large tree a some 5 years ago, from a construction road that would have turned it into firewood.
I selected this tree because of its large base and nice dynamic movement in the trunk, due to the size of the trunk and the location that it was growing it should be very very old. Which can actually be senced when looking at it? I would like to show this and bring this tree to an appreciation point, I think when people can see the beauty of a tree they can appreciated and then they can think about not burning them as they do in my country. Currently it measures 3 meters20 cm tall and 3 meters 10 cm wide. Rather on the large size. Due to the time line and in order to set the branches in position in short time during the next few months the tree will remain in the ground. The reason is simple. Since the roots are untouched the small stresses of branch bending and wood work will be minimal and the tree, therefore it will continue to grow quickly which will set the branches into place, and also will thicken them a bit more. The main problem with making this tree into a good looking bonsai is to have a proper taper of the branches and good enough ramification to provide and pleasing sight.
One Quarter Progression
For the first part of the progression series I like to submit a drawing of the design in my mind. I think it is a very important part to define what the likely possibilities are and see them before we start cutting things a simple drawings would do, a few lines that define the tree would do suffice to clear the mind of what are our visions. This may be the second most important part of the series as it defines my vision of the design and what are the things that need to be done and how to accomplish the vision in a shorter time. To me the most important part is the health of the tree. Having said this the drawing of this gives me two possible scenarios, I will most like go with the second drawing at some point in time, but for the moment I will maintain the top alive until I repot. The first scenario shows a almost slender tree with lots of branches and leaves creating a massive top. The second is more dramatic, removing part of the top branches and creating a massive jin that joins the existing jin that currently has a 90 degree angle. This jin is to heavy and will have to be decree and add some movement added. Also changing the angle of the tree slightly will improve the look of the base I think this would make this tree look stronger while at the same time become smaller in actual height (for a tree this size this would be good).
Half Way Progression
This tree has given me two main options, after being cut back and know a few weeks later one can see the growth, all this growth may begin to look like it has been set in position, however it has not. Terminalia naturali grow in a way similar to what is known in the bonsai world as a Pine shape (not that pines have that shape). The Pine shape usually a bit conical with lower branches that are going straight or down and as it goes to the canopy the branches have a bit more angle to the top. The reason for this is the growth pattern. Terminalia branches grows in sets of 3 divisions from each point. Two branches that divide to the sides and one going on top that does not develop unless the main apical branches are removed. Having the one branch that goes on top remains dormant, its the trick, since the growth is going sideways in perfect geometrical divisions (also way is called the geometric tree) it provides a very pleasant pads after a while, sometimes a bit to perfect and those giving in nature the look of the ideal “pine shape”. The tree here still has a way to go on this but is already begins to set a pattern. Know besides the main branches that were to long where cut down the lower crossing branch was also partially removed. Some of that branch will be worked as a jin, while the top is what gives me two options. The natural jin at the top that bends in a 90 degree angle is interesting enough to be used , but for that the tree has to be repotted in a different angle as for the jin not to have such an aberrant look. Tilting the tree a bit will lower the jin and the tree will get a bit of balance, the cylindrical trunk needs some taper. This is the part that gives me two designs at this point, one in which all the top becomes dead wood and the second in which it has a more massive tree with an umbrella canopy. I will leave both options for know, while I wait for the tree to recover and get the maximum amount of growth. In the tropics of Mexico this is between July and October. So at this point I rather wait a bit more and let the tree become strong enough to do more work. After all this is an ancient tree that grew up in the rocks for a long long time, how long, hard to say for sure but this species is very slow for having thick trunks in such conditions. So I rather go slow and safe.
Three Quarter Progression
After a few months the tree is growing rather well and one can see how the branches are filling, one of the lower trunks was removed since it has obstructing the view of the base of the tree which was quite distracting, the rest of this trunk will be turn into a small jin, the tree is getting ready to be style, but since I need a bit longer branches to do this if I bend them know I would not be able to repot the tree this year. Therefore I will wait a bit longer cut harder and then repot. Obviously this will also provide me with more conical branches, for a thick trunk like this the branches need to also increase in thickness so to have a more realistic look. Can’t wait for the next month to do this.