Photos and captions by Travis Fargher (Long Beach, California)

            Note by David:   We modified our shipping/packing system and I asked Travis to send me some photos of how the parcel arrived and his report follows.  He also included a photo of his latest bonsai.


        The package arrived from Hawaii via FEDEX on time and undamaged.  How exciting.
          The box was slit open to expose contents; a tree extensively wrapped and protected for shipping.  The foliage, trunk and pot were completely wrapped in plastic and newspaper, and taped securely to a thick cardboard pallet that fit flush into the bottom of the box.  I have received a few trees through mail-order before from other enthusiasts and bonsai nurseries.  These trees were usually shipped sloppily using only foam peanuts, and arrived with mixed outcomes.
          Sometimes the trees arrived in good condition, and at other times there was extensive damage from shipping and the trees were in shock right out of the package.  The survival rate was less than 50%.            Ordering from David is a totally different experience.  Giving the strength and hardiness of the dwarf schefflera, coupled with Fuku-Bonsaiís systematic method of packing and shipping, chances are great that a tree ordered from Fuku-Bonsai will arrive in great condition and thrive once acclimated.  Detail of pallet.
       Off the pallet- all tape and plastic was removed. The entire tree was wrapped in layers of newspaper to insulate the tree from cold in the shipping process.

       The crown and trunk exposed to the Southern California climate for the first time.  As you can see, the tree did not go into shock in route to Los Angeles.  In fact, the tree never went into shock and new growth continued as if there was no change to the trees environment. 

       My Custom Collection Dwarf Schefflera unpacked, along with the contents I received from Fuku-Bonsai.  
       10 months after delivery, my Fuku-Bonsai Custom Collection and 8LS8-R Dwarf Scheffleras are both totally acclimated to indoor, Southern California climate, and currently summering outside --- both needing a springtime trim. 


MY GREEN ISLAND FICUS; Design & methodology influenced by Fuku-Bonsai

          My Ficus microcarpa 'Green Island'  being trained around a driftwood with the design idea of looking as if itís growing epiphytically around a dead host tree.  The initial design idea, along with the the potting and training methods, are influenced by David.  I had to rewrap and repot this tree 2 months ago due to an incident involving my 5 year old son and a soccer ball. 

         During this process, I was pleased to find that after only one year since the initial planting, small roots were already flowing to the bottom of the pot.  Itís a vigorously growing ficus and should produce a fine tree once the design is set and the tree has matured.  


        SOME COMMENTS BY DAVID:     In several respects,  Travis represents a new generation of American bonsai hobbyists who are moving more strongly to Tropical and True Indoor Bonsai.  Most traditional temperate climate outdoor bonsai plants will not grow well in Long Beach or Hawaii as its just too warm.  So in the warmer parts of the country,  Tropical and True Indoor Bonsai make a lot of sense to grow outdoors whenever night temperatures are above 55įF and brought in and protected indoors when night temperatures are colder.

        In Hawaii all tropical and True Indoor Bonsai can grow outdoors year-around and this produces stronger, faster, and more compact growth.  We believe Dwarf Schefflera will be the fastest growing bonsai in any climate and that fits as Americans are not known to be excessively patient!  I like to define bonsai as "artistic pot plants" that is an art, craft, and hobby and as such,  design should be influenced by the horticultural properties of the plant. 

       Temperate climate bonsai are trained with attention to leaves, branches, trunks, and surface roots.  BUT TROPICAL BONSAI ALSO HAVE UNIQUE ROOT SYSTEMS THAT ALLOW TRAINING INTO MORE STYLINGS THEN ARE POSSIBLE WITH TEMPERATE CLIMATE BONSAI!  I'm told that those doing outdoor bonsai tend to follow traditional Japanese bonsai cultural and styling philosophy because they are the dominant force in outdoor bonsai.  Consequently the overwhelming majority of outdoor bonsai simplistically follow the Japanese bonsai single apex -  tier branched "pine-tree" structures.  To many of us, it's really odd to see azaleas, elms and even ficus trained into "pine-tree" shapes!

       So I'm delighted that Travis and others are exploring tropical forms of bonsai!  Travis will be exploring the more difficult "Fuku-Bonsai 1:10 Project" to utilize very shallow saucer pots and will be amongst our study group members as we try to put together the best methods for success.  Travis also had a few other very innovative projects and I look forward to seeing Journal reports in the future!  MAHALO TRAVIS!


***   Return to the April 2013 issue of Journal of Tropical & True Indoor Bonsai
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