Ooishi’s deciduous work is remarkable – and not just because his trees look good. In most cases he created his collection from scratch, by air-layering, grafting and careful wiring and cutback over the years. Although I don’t know the ages of the trees below, Ooishi suggested that trees like this can be developed from cuttings in roughly 30 years.
Japanese maple ‘Shishigashira’
Shishigashira Japanese maples are notoriously hard to ramify. The branches produce lots of buds but typically remain course. The tree above is uncharacteristically well-developed for its age.
While not the most common of varieties, Corylopsis spicata, also known as winterhazel or spike winterhazel, is a great variety for bonsai. The trunk shows age well and the spring flowers are as beautiful as they are unusual.
The Japanese winterberry produces very fine ramification and striking red berries. These characteristics make the variety a welcome addition to winter exhibits. Look for Ilex without scars on the trunk – healing large wounds can be difficult in old trees.
This triple-trunk specimen has good taper, good roots and subtle movement. As the branches mature the tree’s character will continue to improve.
This maple is also relatively young in training. While the trunk, roots and main branches are in place, time will bring further ramification and improve the nebari.
This maple has a really fun trunk with taper you’re more likely to see in a trident maple or Japanese beech. Cascading bamboo shoots provide a nice contrast to the otherwise deciduous trees in Ooishi’s workshop.
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