During my trip to Florida I took a day out to visit a few bonsai enthusiasts in the Orlando area. My friend Stephen was also in Florida so I dropped my wife and kids off at his villa pool and we set out for our fist stop.
A few months back I had been googling bonsai in Orlando and made contact with Rick Jeffery, President of the local bonsai society in Orlando. I said I was going to be out there in July and he said to give him a ring when I got there. I think he was surprised when I actually followed through 🙂
We arrived at Rick’s place one Sunday morning. Thank goodness for Satnav!! Rick’s lovely home is nestled away in a forested area. After a warm greeting we made our way out to see his benches. Nearly all the varieties used for bonsai in Florida are new to me. My climate just wont have all these Ficus and Bougainvillea 🙂
Rick and Stephen having a look around
They may be different species of tree but after talking with Rick for a while about bonsai, clubs, techniques, etc, it was obvious that we held many things in common.
Rick had some beautiful trees. This Brazilian Rain Tree was my favourite. I got Rick to pose with it.
As there was only a green forest for a backdrop, Rick sent me a shot of it with a better backdrop. This tree has been exhibited in an Exhibition recently. I’m sure Rick will correct me if I get any names of facts wrong 🙂
He also had a great collection of Shohin Ficus. I normally avoid these, but seeing them in their proper climate and observing just how good they can be for bonsai was an eye opener. I used Stephen as a backdrop for a few photos.
This is one of his bigger Ficus.
and another. We had a good chat about options with this one.
He also had a few nice Bougies on the benches. This big one caught my eye. It’s well on it’s way to being a stunning tree.
and a smaller one also with a few pics supplied by Rick.
I spotted this Holly on the bench. Rick told me that it was collected material that he was going to sell or swap. On closer inspection I told him he was mad! It was a great multi trunk tree in there. We discussed a few options. If I had longer ( a spare day) I would have loved to have styled it with him 🙂 What variety was this again Rick?
The flowers on this Crown of Thorns caught my eye and Stephens 🙂 We have both now added a little one to our collections 😉
One of the most eye catching yamadori in the garden was this Pond Cypress. Did I get it right Rick? It’s not Bald Cypress is it? Stephen used for scale, for goodness sake Stephen put those wee ones behind your back 😀
One of the best features of the tree is the knee at the base. This is a root that extends up usually in swampy areas and is thought to help the tree process oxygen. I have a nice photo of one to show in another post.
We had another discussion about the future front of this tree. The knee was always to be a visible feature to show off.
Here’s a few general shots of Rick’s benches.
He even had a little Trident maple. I didn’t think they would grew in this climate but they are obviously a very adaptable tree.
Rick only had the one Juniper in the garden and it was raw material belonging to the club. This was a surprise to me as throughout my stay in Orlando I saw many Chinese Juniper varieties being used as landscape plants and was rather envious.
Rick’s Chocolate Lab was also a welcome sight. I was missing my own dogs dreadfully 😦
It was a very hot day, even for locals. We moved inside to cool down and a great chat ensued with Rick and his wife Patty about Ireland, the black art of Gunniess brewing and drinking, genealogy and dogs 🙂
We moved on then to our next destination. This was the home of Paul known for his bonsai videos on Orlandobonsai.com You can see this part of my trip in my next post 🙂