I've been working towards a few modest ficus fusion projects for the coming growing season. Late last year I potted on a number of cuttings I'd taken and wired for initial shape with a view to later fusion. But these were fairly modest in size aiming for a wide trunked shohin.
At the Gold Coast exhibition there was a Queensland Small Leaf Fig which has inspired me to set the goal a little higher; actually both taller and wider. The tree in the exhibition would have been about 800mm high and had a trunk on it that looked like the sort of thing you get with a strangler fig after the supporting tree has died and rotted away in the rain forest. I’m inclined to think that it has actually come about by a little careful cutting and carving but the result is very impressive. The ‘windows’ in the trunk give a view through to the hollow trunk or right through to the space beyond. Either that or its a fusion of a number af advanced trees.
Last Season I let one of my QSLFs run and it has produced about 10 leaders all about 300 to 400mm long, perfect for a fusion project. A couple of days ago I pruned these all off and set them as cuttings. With the weather warming up they should strike well in a plastic bag in dappled light.
This is a sketch of the project I have in mind. The idea is to shape the material into a lattice patterns and graft together at the intersecting points.
With that in mind building this one is going to be a whole lot easier with a framework to attach the individual plants to. A wire framework will be relatively easy to remove in the future by cutting it out bit by bit through the lattice spaces.
I had some plastic coated wire mesh available so coiled some up into a conical shape and then proceeded to just massage it into the shape I wanted, about 200 across the base and about 350 high. That should give me a final tree height .around 450mm, with a 250mm diameter base and perfect taper.
My experience from the past when starting trees to a formula is to start with 6 and end up with 3 really good ones. I’m not sure I have the energy for that this time so it better be good first time.
Finally a photoshopped vision of the end result, just 5 years away I'd say...............