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"And the LORD God made ... trees that were pleasing to the eye ..." Gen. 2:9, New International Version.

"Bonsai isn't just something I do; it's part of what I am." Remark to my wife and daughter.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Trident Maple Workshop in Fort Wayne

     Saturday, while my wife went to her first-ever audition for a movie role, I enjoyed the Fort Wayne Bonsai Club's trident maple workshop, led by Mark Fields of Indianapolis. Mark has been in bonsai for 46 years, he told us, having started at the age of 8. He is another on the growing list of homegrown US bonsai teachers, and the proprietor of Bonsai by Fields LLC.

Some of the trees for the workshop.

Mark brought along a few examples of what can be done with trident maple.

Trident maples are particularly well suited to forests ...
... and to root-over-rock.

We drew numbers from a hat (Mark's cap, actually) to determine the order in which we would choose our workshop trees. Mark talked a bit about trident maple in general and his own bonsai background, before we got down to business.

Mark discussing the ROR maple in the previous picture. Jerry and Darlene Kittle hosted the workshop in their garage.
Kathie, Ed, Al, Dave and Bob listen to Mark.
Al and Dave give Mark their attention.

Then the tools came out and the work began. Some of us chose to wait for Mark's input; others of us started in on our own. We had the whole range of experience in the workshop group, including two brave brand-new members. (Kudos, Ann and Tony!)

Bob considers the best position for a branch.
Mark studies Kathie's tree, while Andrea hides behind the foliage.
My own tree, finished for now.

Trident maple (Acer burgerianum) is an excellent species for bonsai in many ways. (Witness the fact that it has been so widely used for centuries.) But it requires some extra winter care in this cold a climate. Putting trident maples with one's yews and ponderosa pines in an outdoor shelter for the winter is a certain death sentence. Different people handle the problem in different ways: I keep mine in our unheated mudroom, along with my serissas and other species that are not quite cold-hardy here.

(I also discovered last winter that they need more water in winter than I realized. Sigh. Lesson learned.)

Even tho it's not the best time of year to root trident maple cuttings, there was nothing to be lost by trying. (As has been admitted already, I'm one of those people who hates to throw away potential cuttings. I should be a member of "Cuttings Anonymous!") So I saved half-a-dozen lignified twigs and stuck them when I got home.

Just before I covered them with the ICU (inverted aquarium.)
 We'll see what develops!

You can visit Mark Fields' website here.

:-)  :-)  :-)

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