I have head on multiple occasions that winter is the favorite time of year for the more discerning bonsai enthusiasts. John Naka described a bonsai in leaf as “a beautiful woman with her cloths on”, meaning that the leaves of the tree conceal the form of the trunk and branches. Leaves can hide large scars, the lack of taper in the trunk or long internodes (the distance between two leaf axils). Only when a tree is leafless can you fully appreciate the level of training that a deciduous bonsai has had. That could be why the most prestigious bonsai exhibition in the world, the Kokofu ten, is held during the winter.
Over the years the Museum has held its own exhibit entitled Winter Silhouettes. As the title implies, the exhibits goal is to showcase the beauty of a leafless bonsai. So while your trees are packed away for winter please enjoy some of the Museum’s bonsai in all their leafless splendor.
Smooth Leaf Elm, Ulmus carpinifolia, Donated by Kieth Scott, In training since 1982.