The reworking of the minor trunk was understandable when I thought about it as it had been styled nearly a year ago when I was approaching the job with a totally different outlook. When I bought the tree home I thought I would be fine wiring every tiny shoot and twig to make it look 'finished and ready for show' straight away ! The learning curve of the past year has been nearly vertical and was perfectly reflected in this tree - hence needing to revisit the early branches and do them properly
Over the last 12 months my bonsai outlook has changed a lot - just by going to several large bonsai shows you can spot the newly styled trees straight away and to be honest they usually look very disappointing, and upon reflection I now look at these 'just wired' trees and think what a shame they are debut way too soon. I feel they reflect the wrong type of impatience in bonsai, almost a desperation - any tree truly mature and beautifully refined has a valid place on a show bench as these are the trees to inspire us all to keep trying hard and to never stop learning.
The crown was guy wired to bring it forward a lot and the branches shortened and layered properly rather than snaked up to look like full pads. There are a few conifers doing the show circuit rounds here that have a perfect outer image with a birds nest of snaked and crossed branches hidden underneath...they are half the tree they could be and viewers with a good eye see it once up close.... One of the branches was re-positioned nice and low to give me the important first pad and now it is time to let the tree rest and develop the 3 dimensional pads from the back buds
Here is the lower trunk section burnt & brushed 6 or 7 times - burning wet wood makes it shrink and crack more while actually removing very little wood. Burning dry wood gets is smoldering and removes the summer growth rings from within the winter ones. Eventually you must stop and let the weather take over to get a true finish - we have helped nature but you can see the actual surface is not faked with scratches as they are a very poor imitation of what we really want to see - it looks quite smooth now but yew will crack into a fantastic finish over the coming years without any more man made help.
I use the gouge to raise small wood fibres now and again and the pliers to peel them off - this gives far better hollows that really do follow the true grain of the tree and add some depth and interest to some of the newly cut branches. The lime sulphar is only one week old so still looking bright and new but winter is very close now so the silver gray we desire will form on those cold frosty nights ahead.
The pads now will spend the coming years filling out while the wood weathers - next spring the growth will be explosive as the tree was repotted this year so has needed to recover from root pruning, wiring and hard pruning in 2013. Cuspidata seems to like it here - the feeding, climate and water quality have ensured the tree has maintained good colour and has made many new buds. I see a few trees that are very yellow/green and weak occasionally and if you get a tree like this don't be tempted to style it until the colour has returned to pure deep dark green - this is when the tree is showing maximum strength and will cope with a hard year or two of styling.
As the rain was well and truly set in today I unpacked two boxes of custom pots that Gordon Hunt dropped up to the shop. I had asked him for some juniper pots to suit the stock trees I'd styled that were still sat in training pots and he did me proud - nice natural colours and pots of a size that allowed a nice gentle Autumn repot without major root disturbance.
And one final pot deserved the pick of the bunch of small stock chinese elm brooms we have - this was the one little tree in about 500 that caught my eye for taper and nebari
great pot, great little elm and for £30.00 a broom with a potentially good future.
SOLD ALREADY - no surprise on that one!