Monday, 18 January 2016

Decisions, decisions

I apologise for harping on about my fig tree, but decision-making has never been one of my strengths and I really feel like I need to commit to a front before I go any further with its development.

When last I wrote about it,  I had just done a drastic pruning and defoliation after I repotted it, ending with a naked tree that looked like this:

December 2015 - after pruning and defoliation

Over the last month the tree has put out quite a bit of new foliage on some of the branches, though it still has a few bare patches. But there was enough there for me to feel I could take it to another meeting and ask for more opinions from members of my club, some of whom had not been at the December meeting. Unfortunately the more opinions I got, the more confused I became. Of those who were prepared to offer an opinion, no two people seemed to pick the same angle and I came away with five different fronts to choose from.

Since then I've spent quite a while examining the tree from all angles and even shot a video of it slowly rotating to try to get a more three dimensional view than any photo could show.



After making a few slight adjustments to the angles suggested by my fellow club members, I eventually cut my options down to the three I've marked in the video.

Front 1

Potential front 1

I know this looks nothing like traditional bonsai, but I like the way most of the curves are visible, while the one bend I dislike is hidden away at the back of the tree. The base also looks thicker from this angle than from any other. Some branches will have to be removed, but the same applies to any front I ultimately choose.

Front 2

Potential front 2

The bend I dislike is more visible from this side, but still doesn't look too bad. Watching the video back, I'd probably rotate the tree slightly anti-clockwise if I went with this option.

Front 3

Potential front 3

The more I look at this one the less convinced I become that it's one I'd really consider. The angle at which the curve comes back to the front is problematic because parts of the rear section are visible while others are hidden. And in a two-dimensional photo, they look more like straight lines than like curves anyway.

Branches

As the focus of this tree is on the curvy trunk, it was suggested that I remove all the branches and only grow foliage at the apex. It's an option I'm considering, but the one negative is that it will limit the tree's ability to produce fruit, and I really had hoped that it would give me a fig or two to enhance its appearance in the future.

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