Bonsai can be a slow, sometimes frustrating hobby. But sometimes both delight and frustration can come from the same source.
One of the first trees I ever bought was this small exposed-root Japanese Black Pine, I obtained it in the fall of 2003. It’s a slant, or semi-cascade, depending on how you look at it.
I have a longer progression of photos of this tree than perhaps any other tree. It was the first tree that I ever worked with Boon, and the progress has been almost all forward, although occasionally I have to give the tree a year off from decandling.
When I went to clean up the tree recently I was struck by the density, but thought that perhaps the last five years had not yielded much in the way of progress. Three years ago I formulated the plan that I would add a lower pad on the left side, so that it is more of a semi-cascade and less a slant style tree. In that time I didn’t candle cut the particular branch at all, but last year I wasn’t able to decandle any of the tree due to lack of vigor. So the progress on this particular front has been slow.
Let’s rewind to 2004 and enjoy a progression of photos.
Now, about this time, I’m asking myself what I have to do to get that other foliage pad that I’ve been wanting. Maybe I should just forget the whole idea. After all, if I had candle cut the one branch over the summer I’d have a pretty good looking tree with nice even short needles. By comparison, in the three years that I’ve been getting the branch going strong I’ve had over 4 feet of growth on some of my younger pines.
I’m not one to need to hurry something, but I’m getting the feeling that this extra branch may be another ten years in the making. Despite the sense of frustration, most of the tree is quite nice at this point. It has short deep-green needles and the shape and texture are quite pleasing.