by Bob Richards

The beauty and grace of a willow alongside water has been admired throughout the ages in all lands. The grace and beauty of a bonsai weeper is just as appealing; but has no illusions about it, the bonsai weeper doesn't just happen. Labour intensive as ordinary bonsai is, the weeper is doubly so - especially the outspreading bow style (John Naka refers to them as half circles).

They form thus:


as you can see, in a succession of descending semi circles spreading outwards.

Bonsai weepers may be: -

  • Formal and informal upright
  • Slanted trunk
  • Semi-cascade and
  • Literati or free style

Starting from the apex, branches are bowed out by the use of wire and in the case of the tamerisk each branch is bowed out one bow at a time and some while later (about 4 - 6 weeks) when the next section to be bowed is ready, then that one is wired and wire removed from the previous one. Watch out for wire bite as normal. When bowing tamerisks remove inward and sideways growing foliage and also the foliage growing below the point of the next proposed bow. Merely retain 2 or 3 strands of new foliage that is positioned on or near the beginning of the next bow. One of these strands will be your next bow.

tameriskYou will achieve 2 or perhaps 3 bows per branch each growing season. Thus in 2 years your weeping tamerisk should be ready with 4-6 bows per branch.

Do not place the tree in its final pot unless you have completed all your bows. Use a deep pot (cascade pots are ideal provided the mouth of the pot is wide enough to take the tree) and allow some branches to hang below the base of the pot.

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Random Bonsai Tip

Mixing growing medium - To mix your growing medium, put the mixture into an empty compost bag (as much as you can handle) and tip the bag backwards and forwards - this is much easier and more effective than mixing in a wheelbarrow!