"TAD'S RIPPLE"

                Some guys are born lucky and things come easy.  But maybe son Tad has natural talent!  Of course it could be that he absorbed something while he was growing up in a working bonsai nursery. Tad was a good student and went off to college.  He came home one summer when we had a crazy idea of planting a number of long air-layers of Manila Ripple, a wavy-leafed variety of Dwarf Schefflera (Schefflera arboricola 'Manila Ripple').  We had the plants ready and he took an hour or so to plant, do a bunch of cross-fusion grafts and went back to college.  Surprise, surprise!   Several years later we find that his came out the best!  The plant is now about 15 years old with training begun about 10 years before the photos were taken in July 2001. 

Tad'sRipple1.jpg (22438 bytes)         Here's "Tad's Ripple."  It's 42" tall and made up of at least 8 air-layers woven, welded, and fused together.   One became the lowest branch,  the second became the next branch, and so on.   Initially, we had aluminum foil holding in media and a lot of spaghnum moss.   As the trees established and sent out roots, the media and moss were allowed to be slowly removed to expose the roots and "trunk."  The fiberglass pot is 30" diameter x 3" deep.
Tad'sRippleDetail+Tad!.jpg (24135 bytes)       And here's Tad with a close-up view of the "trunk."  I can't figure out the smile.   Maybe he's thinking how lucky guys like him expect to have his name on the tree even if he worked on it for only an hour or so.  Or maybe that hour or so was pure raw talent and that's why his came out the best.  He's not saying.  What do you think?
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