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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.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Ft. Wayne Workshop with Adam Lavigne, Part 1.

     This past Tuesday, June 17, the Fort Wayne Bonsai Club had a workshop with Adam Lavigne of Orlando, Florida. Adam is the owner of  a studio and nursery (painting and bonsai,) gives classes, leads workshops, and writes a humorous and knowledgeable blog. If I understand correctly, we were part of his inaugural bonsai-teaching tour in this part of the USA.

Adam brought along a good variety of styling-ready stock. Some people bought trees from him for the workshop, some brought trees they already had, and some did both. (I was in the first group; more on that in my next post.) Adam styled trees for whose who wanted him to do so; for those who wanted coaching and tips as they worked on their trees themselves, he did that.

Since Adam is from Florida and works a lot with tropicals, it's no surprise that several tropical trees were brought to the workshop, including Bruce Kennedy's Florida buttonwood (Conocarpus erectus.). My camera caught Adam just as he was listening to the question: "How much of a buttonwood's rootball can safely be removed at a point like this?" (That's not annoyance on his face; it's careful attention.) 

Florida buttonwood is a good subject for artificial deadwood.

He answered the question a moment later -- !

About half the rootball was removed, as Jeff Calder held the patient.

Becky Dull's juniper (shimpaku, I believe) was one of the most promising pieces of raw material there, in my opinion.

Adam works on Becky's juniper as Ed, Tony and Angie also watch.
Explaining something to Becky about separating layers of foliage.
This tree will be a prize-winner in a few years!

One of Adam's specialties is dwarf yaupon holly, Ilex vomitoria 'Schilling's Dwarf.' Several of us asked in advance that Adam reserve 'Schillings' for us, which he did.

Discussing options with Bruce Kennedy for Bruce's 'Schilling' yaupon holly.
Finished for now. This is actually the back, but it looks good from here too!

Adam was also promoting a new tool company, American Bonsai Tool and Supply. I'm not sure if he has a formal arrangement with them, but he definitely thinks well of their tools! (I intend to check them out.)

He even cuts wire with his scissors, though he doesn't recommend that others do so.

Among the trees Adam brought along were Ficus microcarpa and Ficus salicaria, and some of each species were bearing fruit. He drew our attention to the fact that on the F. salicaria fruit the distal stomas were all open, but on many of the F. microcarpa figs, the stomas had closed. That happens when the fruit has been successfully pollinated. The specific wasp that pollinates F. microcarpa, Adam told us, has found its way to Florida, and microcarpa seedlings have begun to appear in the landscape!

Very interesting!

For Adam's Art and Bonsai, please click here.

For his side of his visit to Fort Wayne, please click here.

:-)  :-)  :-)


  1. We (Cincinnati, oh) had Adam for an Ilex demo and workshop a couple years ago, and HAD to have him back this year. This time it was bald cypress demo and workshop. EVERYONE was thoroughly pleased and highly entertained!. It is a rare workshop where everyone walks away with a great looking tree. I believe this has to do with his great talent and supplying very nice material! Adam is a very knowledgeable artist, with a fresh, entertaining way of presenting. I highly recommend him!

    1. Thanks, edusan, for your comments. I saw some of Adam's pictures, on FaceBook, from his time with you in Cincy. And I've heard some talk in the Ft. Wayne club about having him back. I'm in favor!