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Hurricane Broken Shady Lady


                                                Shady Lady
                                                            Bucida Buceras
Bucida Buceras: (Black Olive), common name is Shady Lady, a cultivated variety
that is native to the Bahamas, south through the Caribbean, West Indies, Central
America and Mexico. It grows 40 to 50-foot-tall is a evergreen tree with a semismooth
trunk, forming a pyramidal shape when young but developing a very
dense, full, oval to rounded crown. Sometimes the top of the crown will flatten
with age forming a flat top. (Mary C. Miller has written an excellent article called
“Bucida species as bonsai” in Bonsai today magazine # 71 page 50 that is
thorough and informative).
Talking about Mary Miller, whenever I work on this shady lady, black olive tree, I
think of my friend Mary. In the 80’s I did some art work for her business and future
projects, did an illustration for a billboard and other stuff. Whooo... wait a
minute, I remember a little story she told me; John Naka was visiting her bonsai
nursery at the same time her sister was visiting whom did belly dancing. Soooo
guess how John was entertained. You got it, and I’ll leave it at that.

Shady Lady
Early photo

It was around 1994 while at a tree nursery in Davie, I spotted this tree in a 30gal.
nursery pot. It was about six or eight feet in height and the top was broke, just
hanging there and growing side ways. Yeah, yeah I got the usual remark and headshaking
“Whadaya want with that old hurricane broken tree”? He was glad to see
it go. I cut the tree at the appropriate place on the trunk and a new top started
growing real pronto.

Shady Lady

2004 hit by a hurricane “again”. This time as a bonsai. The top got ripped off by a
flying plywood projectile and the position was changed from a slant style to a
semi cascade. Oh yeah, that branch that I knew I should not whack off is now the
main trunk for a two line semi cascade. Good thing I listen to myself , “yeah that’s
right, it was my foresight yeah… I think”.

Shady Lady
Front view

I thought that’s it, the tree is wasted. I just stuffed it in whatever pot was available at the time. A couple of days later I took a fresh look at it. Not too bad. Not wasted.

Shady Lady
Back biew

Shady Lady

2 / 14 / 06 A major branch was removed and re-potted in a Chinese gray unglazed pot
18” X 15” X 7” This tree grows very fast, it loves lots of water and fertilizer. I repot
and root prune in May, June or even July when the nights are in the 70’s. Late summer
is not a good time for root pruning. The roots may not have enough time to recover before
cool nights set in. I prune to keep its shape through out the year, and keep it in full
sun always. Water every day aggressively, in the summer twice a day. I water the whole
tree. The foliage, trunk, soil, pot and surrounding area. I water so that it is pouring out
of the drain holes. I feed aggressively, every week all year, one quarter strength. Feed
lots of nitrogen in the growing season for the foliage (lots of foliage means lots of
roots) and lots of phosphate in the so called non-growing season to promote root
growth and root ramification.

Shady Lady
A major branch was removed 6 / 14 / 06

Shady Lady
For size comparison

Shadu Lady

The position was changed to emulate the uprooting that is common during a Florida
hurricane. I try to design a tree as natural as possible. Paying attention to the
growth habits of our native trees is where I get my inspiration. In South Fl.
Bucida buceras that are 30 years or older almost always have flat rounded tops with a natural weeping tendency. Very old Cypress all have branches growing straight out and then up forming a flat top, just look. Our old Oaks have beautiful round crowns and long lower limbs touching the ground and spread well beyond the height of the tree. Our Pines are natural bun jin and classic Pine tree shapes and look at our Buttonwood with it’s natural driftwood and abstract shapes. It’s all there. All you have to do is look.

Shady Lady

Nov. 14 2006 Photo by Ray Malin for EPCOT display
The tree was selected by the BSF Epcot committee and Disney to be exhibited at the 2007 Epcot Flower and Garden Festival.
Height: from the top of pot 23” high, total height is 30”
Width: 43”
Depth: 22”
Container: Chinese gray unglazed 18” X 15” X 7”
Style: Semi Cascade, Bucida Buceras - (Black Olive, Shady Lady Variety)

Shady Lady
1/1/07 Back from Epcot, Time for some major surgery

Shady Lady
2008 Changed the pot for a different look

Shady Lady
Late spring 2009