Preserving and Styling a Fuchsia Bonsai

The new Bonsai Book for 2019 by Harry Harrington
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fuchsia bonsai

Using the cotton-bud, wood hardener is repeatedly applied to the surface of the wood into which it is then absorbed.

fuchsia bonsai

More layers are added until the wood becomes shiny and the hardener stops being absorbed. The wood hardener is then allowed to dry for 12 to 24 hours.

While it is obviously better to try to avoid the wood-hardener coming into contact with the surrounding areas of the tree and the soil, if at all possible, after many years of using these products I am yet to find that they cause any harm to live plants of any kind.

fuchsia bonsai

24 hours later and the wood-hardener has fully cured; where it has been absorbed into the upper layers of the wood, it has literally plasticised the trunk making it impermeable to moisture, air and water and halting all possibility of it rotting any further.

However; the dry wood-hardener does leave something of a shiny appearance to the wood. This will naturally weather-away after a few months but I prefer to use a wire-brush to gently remove the outer layers of hardener to remove the shine.

fuchsia bonsai

The base of the Fuchsia bonsai trunk after cleaning, curing with wood-hardener and sanding.

fuchsia bonsai

The trunkbase seen from the back

fuchsia bonsai

fuchsia bonsai

While the wood-hardener was drying out and curing I styled the branches of the Fuchsia bonsai. The tree had grown wild for many years and had no structure or order.

fuchsia bonsai

I wired the branches and laid them out so that when the tree began flowering in June, the flowers would cascade from the branches.

The wood of Fuchsia is very brittle and snaps easily when being bent; I find that using slightly over-sized wire and producing long curving bends (rather than short and angular) is the best way to bend without snapping them.

fuchsia bonsai

Finally, after 6 hours work over 2 days, the preserved and newly-styled Fuchsia bonsai.

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