The unusual warm weather has provided a longer than normal colorful autumn display in my bonsai garden. While large deciduous trees growing along the roadsides are bare, many of my bonsai still had foliage. Some of the Rough bark Japanese maples still are bright red.
I’ve been moving the bonsai around so they get maximum sun to promote bright autumn colors. The bonsai in semi shady locations remained green, while those in the bright sunlight were spectacular. Many of the trees were moved from the shady part into the sun to prolong the colorful bonsai. This year has been the brightest and most colorful I’ve seen in my fifty plus years of studying bonsai.
We photographed many more bonsai when they were at their peak color. Dry bark photographs best, so often the trees had to be protected in the garage so bark texture could be seen in the photos. The American larch were the last trees to change color this year.
A multiple group of Trident maples was one of the first to change color which has an interesting history. Originally the bonsai was created as a clinging-to-a-rock style bonsai by Yuji Yoshimura for one of his students. It came to my garden over fifteen years ago and sat in the full sun. One or two of the original trees died and the peat muck soil became quite hard since it was root bound. In fact, the roots were so strong and vigorous that they pulled up the epoxy tied down wires. The entire planting was just sitting on the curved granite rock. In addition to regular watering, I occasionally lifted the root ball and soaked it in a basin of water, later setting it on the rock.
In May, 2008, when the Trident maples were in full leaf I decided to finally pot the bonsai into a container. Doug McDade and Doug Taylor operated the power saw while I indicated the exact cutting position, angle and supervised. After the solid root ball was leveled, it was again reduced. Finally, the roots were teased so they would come in contact with the fresh soil and grow.
The Trident maple group was then potted into a shallow bonsai container without defoliation, but the tree was kept in the shade for a few days before returning to a full sunny location.
This bonsai can be appreciated from two sides so photos of each viewing positions were taken. The bonsai developed small delicate foliage this year because my friend Joe Lentner took the time to carefully remove the center of each bud, several times during a two week period. This bonsai has never been pruned during the 2015 growing season because of the correct bud removal. A few weeks ago the Trident maple suddenly became bright orange. The granite rock was used a few years ago for the Japanese maple shown in the first photo of this blog.
I really enjoyed this autumn with the spectacular colors, but now it’s time to begin raking leaves.