It’s still a couple of weeks before the official start of winter, but I’m very close to having benches full of winter silhouettes. This is one of the reasons I love deciduous trees. You definitely get four full seasons out of them, from spring budding through summer vigor, fall color (we do get some down here), and finally the bare branches that define the winter-hardy tree. I for one am always impressed by the quiet dignity of an old deciduous tree in winter. If you study them long enough, you can get a true sense of all the decades of silent watching they’ve done. Nothing else is needed of them but just being. They serve their purpose through the generations.

Sweetgum12-5-15A deciduous forest is quite a sight. This sweetgum group, Liquidambar styraciflua, has just begun its journey as a bonsai in 2015. Next year all I need to do is pinch the new growth and let it continue to get established as a coherent group. Pretty simple work.








This water-elm clump, Planera aquatica, looks really good for its first full year of training. It’s already starting to develop the twigginess that will make this group look like a real forest.







And finally, my big riverflat hawthorn, Crataegus opaca. I absolutely love the way this tree looks. It’s very close to completely built; I only have the crown to grow out, which should be mostly done next year. I’ll then be able to focus on improving the tapering transition. By the end of the 2017 growing season, this tree will be spectacular.