Finished trees are worked in 5-7 year cycles, spending 3-5 years preparing trees to get them to the pinnacle of show condition, showing them for a year or two, and them starting the cycle over again. The cycle started in 2013 for this Shimpaku when I acquired it as shown:
Since it had once been prepared for show by the previous owner, and it was an older but healthy Bonsai, the preparation cycle was a bit shorter. It was repotted into good soil, the deadwood was cleaned, and it was allowed to grow in 2014:
Then, in May, 2015, Bjorn and I detail-wired the tree in preparation for the USNBE in 2016:
It was allowed to grow out in 2016, so it could be cleaned up again before the show, but shown in a fuller state.
Fall 2016 before:
And after; ready for the 5th USNBE:
At the USNBE in 2016:
And at the Carolina Bonsai expo the following month:
And one last appearance at our local spring show in May 2017:
Then it was allowed to grow out for the rest of the year, really one of my favorite shots in this progression; even, balanced, full, but still retaining some definition. However, the wires were pretty deeply embedded by this point; most having been on the tree for 3 growing seasons, and leaving it much longer could have resulted in damage to branches.
And finally unwired over Christmas 2017, it was a bittersweet project that took about 6 hours.
And so I could stand to look at it, I guy-wired a few branches down, and the tree will get to rest this year.