Bonsai Veteran Chris Fry pays a visit and some nice shots of trees!

For those of you who don’t know Chris Fry, he’s been working with plants, topiary, and bonsai since he was a young man. Chris was responsible for designing and managing the creation of the topiary trees in Edward Scissor Hands and has a wealth of horticultural knowledge and experience. He has lectured across the US and was one of the first yamadori collectors to put species like Huckleberry and Chickasaw Plum (to name a few) on the bonsai radar.

But perhaps most importantly (to me), he doesn’t mind playing in the dirt to lend a hand. On this day we were pruning some really interesting collected Ilex Shilling (Ilex vomitoria nana) that are probably older than I am. Here’s the tree I couldn’t wait to hack away at.

Ilex Shilling Bonsai

Here’s a tough Ilex Shilling Bonsai Chris decided to take on.

Chris Fry works on an Ilex Shilling Bonsai


Now to seal all the cuts, I used a wood glue while Chris used Japanese cut paste.

If you look at the picture below you’ll see a cut without any glue on it. This is a great example of why branch cutters are superior to regular hand pruners. Regular hand pruners have a flat side which smashes bark as it drives the sharpened edge through the wood. Branch cutters have two sharpened sides that cut like a pair of scissors and don’t leave funky edges and don’t crush your trees bark.

Sealing a bonsai tree wound Chris Fry works on an Ilex Shilling Bonsai


At this stage many branches and trunks that may not be on the final tree are left on to give the final owner full artistic control and as many options as possible. From here the Ilex Shilling bonsai are left to grow uninhibited for six months to a year (or more) then a second pruning can be done to begin defining the branch structure.

Ilex Shilling Bonsai Ilex Shilling Bonsai

Below is a Japanese Dwarf Juniper, this bonsai will need a good restyling within the next year. Next to it a mame Elm in a shot glass.

Greenmound Juniper Bonsai Chinese Elm Mame Bonsai


Nice Sumo style Bougainvillea, the whole tree is about 15″ tall.

Bougainvillea bonsai Bougainvillea bonsai

Anyone’s name start with an “e”? How this Oak grafted its own roots together to for an “e” is a mystery but it certainly is cool.



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