Time is a crucial factor in any bonsai story. Time is essential..for branches to grow, leaves to sprout, roots to take hold, recovery to occur, for bark to age, for the seasons to cycle.
It is very tempting to do too much with your bonsai, especially when you just start out. I remember wanting a nice looking tree immediately and didn't really know how the tree was going to grow. I would wire too tightly, cut and pinch new growth until I killed the tree. I learned that I needed to befriend time. Curb that enthusiasm.
Season after season you can watch what happens to your trees and you can learn. Some trees will die, some will grow sparsely, some will grow out of control. Know what each season brings is also worthy knowledge.
This purpose of this post is to encourage you to take photos of your trees from season to season...just to amuse yourself. When you compare your photos you will gain confidence but most importantly a greater understanding of each tree's growth. This knowledge will guide you when you are faced with other trees that you buy. You can then begin buying trees that you can visualize having potential to become a good looking bonsai tree in the future.
|This tree was collected from a mountain in Taiwan that was growing on some land where we grow trees on. The tree was collected in a February Winter of 2015.|
|After some trimming and careful wiring this is the tree in June 2016. 16 months later.|
|This ficus was involved in an air layer in 2013. The layered section became another tree and this is the mother tree. A new leader was given time to grow.|
|I added some wire into the new leader in the beginning of 2015. I wanted to create some movement into the new top part of the trunk.|
|This is the tree in June 2016. I also wired up the right branch in 2015. A nice side branch grew out from the left side and right. I now need to concentrate on the apex. I let the apex grow out of control because the tree needed taper.|
|I then did some trunk wiring and waited for some side branches to grow. You can see cut paste where the larger truck was removed. The cut paste helps keep moisture trapped in this area.|
|A few months later we have some branches and more leaves. This tree is a bougainvillea and I'm not so sure if these trees are suited for a small bonsai. The leaves are quite large but once more branches begin to divide, the leaves should become smaller. The tree only has a certain about of energy. If it has to supply this limited energy to more branches it makes sense that the leaves will be smaller as a result.|
I also reduced the size of the bulge where the truck was originally removed. I then added more cut paste.
|This is the tree in June 2016. A work in progress.|
|This Chines Elm was also given to me by the same friend in June 2014. I wanted to play around with it to see what would happen.|
|After only wiring two branches and some clip and grow work this is the tree two years later. Elms are tough and grow so quickly.|
|I bought this tree, which was originally a much taller tree, 3 years ago. I immediately made it shorter and left the top part a jin (dead wood). This picture was taken a year after I bought it.|
|A year later it has grown well. I still need to refine this tree and begin creating distinctive pads of foliage. If I don't do this the inner branches will not receive any sunlight and begin weakening and then that will be the end of them.|
|This tree featured in another post. It took me a while to work out what to do with it.|
|I see the trunk!|
|I did this initial work in November 2015.|
|This guy was bought 3 years ago and I left it for about a year before I got around to doing anything with it. It had a twisty trunk and I wasn't really sure what to do.|
|On February 20th, 2015 I decided to give it a go. I wrapped my old shorts, that I cut up, around the tree. This protected it during the bending process. I then fanned out the branches so as to catch as much sunlight as possible. This aided in the branches filling out with new growth.|
|June 19th, 2016. 16 months later.|
|I bought a small cutting that had a few branches growing. I don't remember what it originally looked like. However, this is the result of some messing around in September 23rd, 2014.|
|Filled out a little a few months later.|
|Here we go - September 31st, 2015. You see the scissors resting in contemplation. I think I did minor pruning on this day.|
Take care out there!