I   still   have   all   the   trees   I   have   created   since   that   start   seven   years   ago,   they have   become   firm   friends   over   the   years   and   have   given   me   a   great   deal   of pleasure.   They   all   get   the   same   annual   treatment   of   thinning   the   head   and root   pruning.   Over   the   years   the   roots   become   exposed   and   give   the   added characteristic   of   ageing,   treated   carefully   they   can   become   a   feature   of   the bonsai. When   I   first   began   my   bonsai   fuchsias,   I   had   no   thoughts   of   exhibiting, however,   in   1998   I   took   a   couple   to   the   B.F.S.   Midland   Show   where   they   had a   Bonsai   class.   There   were   eight   exhibits   and   my   F.   hemsleyana   came   third, I   was   delighted   since   first   and   second   went   to   Roy   Payne   who   is   recognised as   the   fuchsia   bonsai   expert.   There   is   now   a   fuchsia   bonsai   class   at   all   the B.F.S.   National   Shows   except   Harrogate,   (in   2000   there   were   78   exhibits   at   9 shows)   and   quite   a   few   Affiliated   Societies   have   included   a   class   in   their schedules.   The   B.F.S.   Show   Committee   have   gone   to   great   lengths   to   come up   with   judging   guidelines   for   fuchsia   bonsai   in   the   2000   rulebook   which   I   am sure will be great help to both exhibitors and judges alike.
Because   it   was   at   the   time   of   the   year   when   "all"   fuchsias   are   defoliated   (I   did   not   know   any   better   at   the   time) this   too   was   done.   Defoliating   any   Encliandra   is   a   bit   of   a   job   bit   when   it   is   F.   michhrophylla   hemsleyana,   you begin to wish you had never started. I   was   pleased   with   the   result   especially   when   you   consider   that   the   only   difference   from   when   it   was   very   adjacent   to   a plastic   bag   was   about   ten   minutes   work   (not   counting   the   defoliating)   with   a   pair   of   small   snips   and   spending   £3   on   a   glazed dish. The   tree   was   successfully   nurtured   through   the   winter   months,   but   as   the   head   developed,   the   trunk   now   seemed   to   be   out of   proportion.   I   had   read   that   planting   outside   in   the   open   would   help.   It   was   removed   from   its   pot   and   planted   in   the   border until   the   end   of   October.   The   change   was   quite   remarkable.   The   trunk   had   more   than   doubled   its   girth   to   over   ½   "   (1cm) diameter.   I   should   mention   that   at   the   time   of   planting   it   outside   I   had   twisted   the   trunk   a   little   by   using   a   piece   of   soft,   thick copper wire which I felt improved the overall appearance. The   plant   was   lifted   carefully   from   the   border,   first   I   trimmed   the   branches,   growing   unattended   in   the   garden   the   head   had become   unruly   and   was   unrecognisable   from   my   original   shape.   Next,   the   roots   were   pruned;   this   consisted   of   removing   the vertical   roots   and,   after   trimming   to   fit   the   dish,   retaining   the   horizontal   ones.   New   compost   (I   use   double   the   amount   of   grit than   in   my   usual   compost   to   ensure   good   drainage)   was   worked   around   the   roots   using   a   small   dibber.   After   a   few   weeks   of   allowing   the   tree   to   become   accustomed to   its   new   environment   I   then   tackled   the   "head",   I   achieved   the   shape   by   reference   to   photographs   of   mature   trees.   In   addition   to   the   branches   removed   to   achieve the shape, I was able to remove a number of weaker branches allowing more light through the tree. Encouraged   by   the   result   I   began   to   train   another   couple   of   trees,   this   time   I   used   another   Encliandra,   a   hybrid   (Laura   Cross)   with   bigger   leaves   and   flowers   than   my first   subject.   Making   use   of   soft   copper   wire,   I   copied   a   photograph   I   had   taken   in   Northumberland   of   a   lonely   windswept   hawthorn.   For   my   other   subject   I   used   a failed 3 ½ " show plant of "Baby Bright" which I trained having in mind a willow overhanging a pond.
Small but Perfectly Formed by George Evans
A   fuchsia   bonsai   is   a   special   plant,   but   surprisingly   does   not   require   a   lifetime   of   dedication   to   produce.   Fuchsias   "age"   naturally,   forming   bark,   heavy   roots and   twisted   branches   in   a   couple   of   years,   or   less,   depending   on   the   particular   cultivar.   What   is   required   is   a   little   patience   to   utilise   these   characteristics into a bonsai fuchsia. In   1994   I   was   having   an   "end   of   season"   tidy   up   in   the   greenhouse;   black   plastic   bag   in   one   hand,   old   tired   looking   Encliandra   in   the   other;   when   it occurred to me that what I was about to throw away was a miniature tree. I   obtained   a   book   from   the   local   library   and   so   took   the   first   steps   to   creating   my   "miniature   tree".   First   I   pruned   the   tree   to   a   shape   that   I   perceived a   mature   deciduous   tree   to   be,   e.g.   oak,   chestnut,   etc,   the   roots   where   pruned   in   accordance   with   the instructions   and   the   plant   fitted   into   a   suitable   glazed   bonsai   dish.   By   "suitable"   I   mean   in   proportion   to the    tree,    the    height    of    my    tree    was    about    5"(12.5cm)    and    the    spread    of    the    "head"    6"    (15cm),    my interpretation of that was an oval dish about two thirds of the "head" when viewed from directly above.
Copyright 2011 www.fuchsiaflower.co.uk
Small but Perfectly Formed by the late George Evans