I love bonsai progressions! I think they’re one of the very best learning tools we have, and with the advent of cheap, immediate, high-quality photography it’s hard to justify not keeping good records of your trees.
A couple of weeks ago I posted a video of the initial styling of my huge Water-elm, “Dragon.” Here’s the first appearance of this monster, late last October following collection in August. With a tree this size and enough room to grow, you’d expect it to literally take off and that’s just what it’s done.
Here we are in April, with tentative shoots just starting to push (at this time I’m still waiting for a bud to reappear near the chop).
And here we are, two weeks after the initial styling was completed. All of the shoots are being allowed to run, in order to thicken them up as well as to feed the tree. Remember, foliage is ultimately what feeds your tree. To be sure, you’ve got to have roots taking up water and nutrients, but without the “foliar factory” you’ve got nothing but a dying plant. So the next training activity for this specimen is removal of the wire when it starts biting in, which will likely be in another two or three weeks. Water-elms don’t have significant “shape memory” but they do have some. But another round of wiring should settle the issue of where these branches are going.
I’ll post updates on Dragon as it develops. For those of you who watched the video, you know my design plan. I should have a good start on it by season’s end.