I first dabbled into bonsai over 10 years ago. Got one Carmona, tried to learn the basics, killed the tree within a year and forgot bonsai until last summer. For some reason, I got really interested in bonsai again. So, off I went to a garden center and picked up three thujas for 4€ a piece. With all the little knowledge long forgotten I proceeded to really abuse these poor trees. I bare rooted them in July during a heat spell and heavily reduced the foliage at the same time. As I thought I hadn’t tortured the trees enough I went on with another heavy pruning in less than two months in late August that same year.
Enter Mirai! Around September 2018 I started by watching the BSOP series on youtube and began to realize how many mistakes I’ve made and how utterly uneducated I was on basic plant physiology in general and anything concerning bonsai in particular. So, I signed up for Mirai Live and I have pretty much went through the whole library of videos, making notes, rewatching many streams and really boosted my knowledge and understanding of bonsai. I can’t think of a better investment to learn bonsai (and I’m sure my trees are thanking me as well)!
Thankfully thujas seem to be quite resilient and forgiving because by some miracle they all survived my initial butchering and made it through the winter. So, with all the new knowledge I’d acquired from Mirai I decided to let my thujas grow wild all summer before doing an initial styling in late summer this year.
Here’s the progression of one of these trees. It’s by no means a great tree and it probably never will, but at least it’s alive, doing well and being great practice material to turn all the theoretical knowledge into practice.
July 2018 - Nursery stock ready for major mistreatment
August 2018 - The thuja after it’s second major pruning in under two months, what a thing of beauty!
August 2019 - The tree after a year of unrestricted growth, just prior to styling
August 2019 (exactly a year after picture 2) - Initial styling done with new front and planting angle
A few more years and maybe it’ll start to resemble a bonsai. The straight untapered middle section of the trunk really bothers me, but I doubt there’s much I can do about it. Maybe I can get a small branch there someday to disguise and distract from it.
I’d love to hear comments, critique and suggestions on how I could improve the design.