In one of the recent posts I showed a medium sized Chuhin bonsai displayed in the garden Tokonoma. This is the 12 year story of the bonsai up til now.
Early spring 2005 I got the tree, that was dug up from a garden. It was a leftover from a bonsai friend who couldn’t use it. I used my usually cutting-hard-back-without-regrets technique – and waited. Three weeks later the first signs of new growth showed up with tiny new buds. These should be the future branches several years later. It is a fast growing specimen if fed well and left room for roots to grow. After five years of letting new growth develop and cut back to push new growth a decent basic structure was achieved.
There are no quick formulas or shortcuts to develop a deciduous tree. Only perseverance and patience, because you can´t make a “quick” transformation of foliage pads or dramatic reposition of branches. The natural expression of deciduous trees are only achieved by developing a natural branch formation from cutting back, developing new branches from new growth.
Therefore you newer see deciduous bonsai on stage at bonsai demonstrations because there is no show in working with these as bonsai. Only slow work over time.
Wiring is done from time to time, best in the dormant seasons where it is easier to overview the leafless branch formation. Also, wire doesn’t make marks in branches as in spring and summer time, where the growing branches easily swell up and overgrow the wire.
So far I have managed a decent canopy. Next step is to refine finer branch structure but I do not expect a ramification of a Zelkova or Acer palmatum. The nature of crabapples simply are different, but lets see how it develops in future. Now the branches slowly begins to show age, and only time will help this on the way. The true beauty of a bonsai is achieved from a long time relationship where the bark show age from the surface roots (nebari), trunk and out on the branches.