Quick history; bought this one back in 2009 from Brussel’s. My son was less than 2 when I brought it home:
Here is the front:
Spring 2011, it has been allowed to grow freely.
Peter Warren did a demo with the tree in 4/11:
With a little help from my daughter…
Peter returned that fall for another round of work. Here is a shot a couple years later in 2013:
It was repotted into its first bonsai pot in 2014, and I started working on pushing the growth back toward the trunk, and replacing heavy branches with finer ones. Early 2015:
Late summer 2016:
After thinning, pruning, and wiring in spring 2017:
And repotting to a deeper and forward-leaning planting angle, although it still needs to lean more to the right, but that part of the root ball needs to be reduced in stages, so it leans a bit left now:
Growing well in early May:
The 2017 growing season was good. The last update is here, and the goal of this season is to continue refining the branches, making good transitions from secondary to tertiary branches, and rebuilding the upper right section with a graft and good growing. The apex still seems to hover a bit high, but in time, that will be addressed too.
End of growing season:
And now leafless:
One branch has been bothering me throughout this cycle. Look at the shot above and see if you can spot the one…
Need a hint? It’s this one:
Yes, it makes the right side a bit bare for the moment, but the thread graft is still there, and plenty of branches above and below can fill in the space. In a couple years, it will clearly have been the right call.
In late February, bud-break came early, so it was time again to repot…
In just a few weeks, it will be very full…and I’ll have to ride hard in the top, because this starting to get too thick.
Rest In Peace, Ben Oki. I was fortunate enough to spend a day with him almost 13 years ago.
This was a demo on a yew. Notice the clock behind him as he made very quick work of this tree; he started at 9:00 AM!
During the workshop, he helped set the initial design on this azalea, and it has been known as my Ben Oki Azalea ever since.
10 years later:
And last spring, just on the verge of full bloom:
repotting shots with my buddy Ron and his yew: