Hello everyone! I’ve just discovered this forum and I think I’ll be posting here a lot
A few months ago, before the lockdown, I had the good luck to travel to Japan and visited Omiya bonsai village. I went around each of the main nurseries there, and one thing that blew my mind was Kyuka-en nursery. If I understood correctly, this nursery specialises in “natural” bonsai - bonsai shaped only by pruning, without using wire. The bonsai there were just as beautiful, old and characterful as those I saw at some of the more traditional Japanese nurseries but they were also way more creative, unusual and natural-looking. I also think Kyuka-en tries to use species that are traditionally not used in bonsai: I saw a beautiful prickly pear bonsai (growing outside in Japan in February!) as well as what looked like an old tray planting filled with gnarled old ginger roots. Inspiring stuff!! But unfortunately when I visited there was nobody around who I could ask questions to…
I don’t really like putting wire on my trees (maybe because I’m not always around to remove it in a timely way, or because I feel some guilt bending the tree against its will) and I would be really interested to know if there are other bonsai people around the world who have had success with this sort of styling “philosophy”. Certainly different species call for different methods (this is probably standard for growing e.g. chojubai), but has anyone had experience doing something like this for conifers, or other types of trees? Are there any advantages to this sort of method?