Well, the time has come. Spring budburst has more or less passed, and while quite a few of my trees remain at the budding stage and others are just pushing – this is generally species-dependent – others need to be wired.
I had posted this hawthorn when I first collected and potted it as a bare trunk. Look at the amazing growth in just a month’s time. The shoots have reached the stage where they need to be “cooled off” and brought into the right position before they get too stiff. There are also too many of them, so along with wiring it was time for some editing.
This is one characteristic of bonsai I believe is often overlooked, namely, that we create a complete tree form with relatively few branches – certainly far fewer than trees in the wild typically have. Yet you’ll notice that quite a few bonsai have so many branches that it’s hard to see the miniature tree amongst them all. There’s an old principle that says less is more. Nowhere is this truer, I think, than in the wonderful world of bonsai.
This is where I ended up about 20 minutes later. I have the beginnings of a branch set, which is all I need at present. The trunk is too long, but it can’t be chopped again until next winter. In the meantime, I need to encourage a new leader on the right-hand side of the trunk. I have a couple of candidates, so I’ll let them run for a while and then select one this summer. I cut back the strong shoot on the left-hand side of the trunk, and will keep it under control so it doesn’t dominate the upper part of the tree. Once I’m ready to select the new leader, I’ll remove it completely.
I had thought this was a green hawthorn when I collected it, based on the appearance of the bark, but now that the leaves are out I know it’s a Mayhaw.
You can’t see it in these photos, but the nebari on this tree is extraordinary. I may even keep the tree for myself because of it. Time will tell.