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The Display

At the recent AABC convention I displayed two trees. One was a Chinese Elm and the other a Trident Maple.

To get these two trees to this state actually took a whole lot of work and time. I didn’t think it would take so long but it took me roughly 2 weekends to prepare these two trees.

Chinese Elm Pre-work

The Chinese Elm had the following done to it:

  • First, I defoliated. This took a long time. there are A LOT of small leaves on this small tree and they are all difficult to get at with a pair of scissors.
  • Next I cleaned up the trunk and did a basic pruning to refine the outline of the silhouette.
  • Then I had to select a pot for the tree (in this case an old Yamaaki pot) and re-pot the tree.
  • Then I mossed the tree
  • Then oiled the pot.

Chinese Elm as displayed.

The tree came up nicely. It improves each year as it’s canopy becomes denser. I think the new pot is a big improvement over its old container. Looking at the above image, it makes me wish I had a more delicate stand for it, but that can wait.

Trident Maple pre-work

Next came the trident Maple. It under went pretty much the same process as the Elm although it was not re-potted. I had considered changing into an antique chinese container but in the end I thought the blue pot was a good match.

This tree took most of a day to moss. The mossing was the easy part and only took a few hours. It was the finding of the moss that took the time. I had to hunt all over the neighborhood to find enough moss. No gutter was spared. Every time I thought I had enough I would go home to start applying it only to find the moss was either not good enough quality of that after trimming out the bad parts I didn’t have near enough to finish the job, so back out onto the streets I would go. I repeated this process several times, each time heading out to further gutters in search of the perfect moss patch. I didn’t find it, instead I had to collect many small pieces from many gutters.


Trident maple as displayed

I finally got the tree mossed and selected the only stand I had that came close to suiting it.

All in all I was pretty happy with how the display ended up but of course like many things in bonsai I saw many areas in which I could improve it.Both trees will look better in a few more years, but when is that not the case?

I guess that is part of the draw of growing bonsai, they are ever-growing, changing and shifting and you are forever adjusting to match the tree’s changing form. Some times you get it right and sometimes you don’t but always if you think about the decisions you are making along the way you will learn something new.


While I am going through my photos from the convention I thought I might share a few of the bonsai that were on display. The below pics are only a selection of the trees that were on display as I didn’t have the time I thought I might to take photos of the full exhibition. Enjoy.

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