Judge #1: Interesting design, apex should be shortened.
Judge #3: I like the first two view in the “Final” section even more. Interesting style.
Wisteria (Wisteria Venusta 'Alba')
The plant that I use for my cascading bonsai is Wisteria. It is a woody vine that can grow as 20′ x 20′ in size, well known for its beautiful , fragrant, cascading flowers and great looking leaves. Wisteria is native to China, Korea, Japan and USA Zones 5-10. It takes haft day to full sun, moist rich organic soil.
I got my plant from a nursery. With its pot, it is 72″ tall and about 26″ wide in a 5 gal pot. Look at my plant it is a little scary to work with, because it so full and bushy that hard to know where to start. The mature vines can break easily when bend, if not careful taking time do it right. The reason that I pick this plant out in many other at the nursery is that it has all the stuffs that I need for my design. It has 3 large vines with many mature side branches. I will cut it back to 36″ height , put it in a training clay pot and style it to a cascading . My cascading design will have 3 levels of Heaven, Earth and The Underworld or it can be named Awakening Dragon.
One Quarter Progression
Defoliation have to be done first, when working with a bushy plant like this. From beginning, I’m defoliating its leaves and removing some young vines. I also put it in to a new heavier training clay pot. At this time , I am identifying all the large vines and its side branches. I pick out which vines is for the body of the dragon ( Earth ), the head ( Heaven ) and its tail ( Underworld ).
The larger vine was very long, so I cut it back about 1/2. I will work with this vine later for the upper body and head of the dragon. I pick out the medium size vine for the tail and half lower part of the dragon body . I begin apply thick garden fabric and use strong wire to guide the vine in place. A 270 degree turn was made for the cascade look. Furthermore , I wired smaller vines and side branches in place to support the flow from the tail to the upper body and head .
Three Quarter Progression
Last , is the biggest vine that I bend it in few places by using guide wire and cables to tie it down. The side branch at the top of the vine was used to create a dragon head. Side branches throughout the vine was used to create dragon feet.
After few months of care, my wisteria bonsai is recovering great. The vines are holding its shape very well without heavy cables or wire. Overall, I am very happy with my work. At this point, I am going to keep it in the same pot . I would let it grow more branches and bigger trunk in 2 years, then I will repot it to a bonsai pot. Pictures show my tree without leaf in the Winter and with leaves in the Spring.