I love going to nurseries to see what trees are available, but with so many trees in my collection I'm not really looking to buy more. I certainly wasn't planning to buy one when I went to a bonsai show at a nearby nursery this afternoon. But sometimes I can't avoid temptation, and today was one of those days.
Most of the trees that were for sale there didn't really appeal to me, but when I saw a few rows of little Ficus Burtt-Davyi for sale, I had to take a closer look. As I've already got a couple of small ones (nowhere near being bonsai yet) and have propagated several more from cuttings, most of the trees for sale didn't seem worth spending money on. Then I spotted one which vaguely tempted me - a sort of exposed root style tree with a relatively thick trunk and a second one which I assume started out as an aerial root but was now close to half the thickness of the original trunk. It seemed a bit top heavy though, so I went on looking.
I nearly missed this one which had its card blocking the view of the trunk. This was what I first saw.
I'm not sure what made me move that card aside, but when I did, I discovered this:
Now it had my attention. None of my trees have bases like that.
On closer inspection I decided this was (approximately) the grower's intended front because this way the leader is growing towards the viewer:
That pretty much blocks off the view of one root though, and it also has a distinct lean to the right at the moment which doesn't feel quite right. I'm still thinking about how I'm going to deal with it because that leader may be a little thick to bend. I may even go for a slightly shorter tree which will help to deal with the lean and the straightness of the leader. Some of the lower branches will probably have to go too.
I'm not rushing into anything though. For now I'm planning to tidy up some of the dead wood at the points where it's been chopped in the past and may remove some excess branches where there are several growing too close together. Hopefully that will help with back-budding lower on the leader.
It will probably take a while before I establish exactly where this one is headed, but it should make a much more interesting tree than the little one beside it in this photo - a tree I got off the raffle table as a young cutting a few years ago.
Here's a 360° view.
Before I commit to a way forward, any suggestions on future styling would be welcome.