I was looking the Mugo Pine Mops, thinking what to make of it. Originally, I had the idea of making a cascade bonsai out of it. But the notion of using branches to cover the long stretch of leafless growth on the main branch didn’t feel too comforting, besides, the movement of the trunk wasn’t cascading with the major branch anyways. So… what to do? Cut off the main branch! Was a bit hesitant at first, since almost half of the plant’s foliage was growing off that one branch. But I went ahead and did it anyways. I then was faced with the bar branch that happened next level up. Bar branches are not only unsightly, but will contribute to bulking up the trunk, causing the much dreaded reverse taper. So, what to do? Cut it off too! But this time, I left a Shari to give the branch some character, and to partially divert the eyes away from the bulging trunk. The below is what I left with.
The composition is much cleaner, with defined movement in the trunk line. But the foliage still bothered me, as the trunk’s movements were not accentuated through the branches. Some wiring fixed that. Wiring these branches at this stage is very tricky, I had to be extra careful not to dislodge any of the buds, especially the adventurous buds. As Mops only back bud on existing old foliage, knocking off an emerging bud would mean I’ve lost a branching opportunity in that part forever. While I’m at it, I also went ahead to clean up the needles which were pointing downwards, and also thinned out the strong growths to redistribute the strength of the plant. The stronger branches can be easily picked out as the ones with the long candles. After a hour or so of work, below is what I have. The only thing left to do is to wire down the smaller branches at the apex (I lack the smaller gauge wires) and also decandle the buds. I’ll probably do these during the next Bonsai club workshop (if I didn’t get something else to work on during the nursery crawl). I’m really liking the satisfaction of bonsai in comparison to just growing orchids. I think this hobby might be a keeper.