Itoigawa Refinement

This one has been one of my favorite trees, but it’s rather unassuming in the bench. I initially styled it with Peter Warren in 2011…a flash through the last 8 years in a few snaps…

2010, as purchased from Evergreen Gardenworks:

2011, first major styling:

2012, a slight change in direction:

2014, 2nd major styling:

2015, full year of growth:

2016, lightly trimmed, but otherwise allowed to grow:

2017, repotted, lightly trimmed in the summer, 2014 wires removed:

Which brings us to now…Here is a shot from spring 2018.

and the work begins…Scrubbed trunk and deadwood:

Lightly pruned:

Wiring started:

Continuing to the “H Shot”

And complete…

Some moss, cleaning up the undersides of the branches, and a little minor tweaking and it is ready for show.

One last parting shot…

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Tosho trimming…

Once it’s had a few weeks of strong growth, it is time to cut it back. I plan to show it in our club’s show in late May, so in late April, it was cut back so it would have a chance to soften by show time.

Tosho start a little later, and grow pretty vigorously. To get this one back in shape, easily 60% if the foliage was removed, and it will be right back again in 6 weeks. They love summer heat and plenty of water.

The cycle continues: Shimpaku with Bjorn part 2

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.

Light pruning:

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.